November 9, 2010

LBU Staff Reactions: Penn State 35, Northwestern 21

Not everything from Saturday's game was positive. But mostly, it was a night to remember in Beaver Stadium. Our thoughts...

Matt McGloin drops back
Matt McGloin had another terrific day,
but how much of it was due to a fantastic ground game? (Photo: Mike/LBU) 

First off, congratulations to Joe Paterno for accomplishing a feat that will never be duplicated. The game was a tale of two halves specifically for the defense. The defense gave up 3 scores early on then shut Northwestern out in the second half. The coaches need to write down the halftime speech because it did the job. Then there’s the Bolden/McGloin issue. They gave Bolden two drives and he had success on both of them with the exception of the fumble which effectively ended his day. I don’t have the stats to back this up but it seems to me that when McGloin enters the game the play calling opens up. Now this week that might have been a product of the score but it just seems like McGloin gets to throw more while they hold Bolden back. Now that may just be my imagination but there is one thing for sure; we have a full-blown quarterback controversy on our hands.

Looking ahead, this game was important from a bowl game standpoint, Penn State may have just increased their chances at a decent bowl. Ohio State is most definitely a loss and Indiana is most definitely a win. That leaves a home game with “rival” Michigan State to determine where the Lions go bowling. A couples weeks ago I would have thought that game would be a loss but after Penn State’s play of late and Michigan State’s debacle against Iowa, I’m not so sure anymore.


Certain games never feel out of reach, regardless of how far behind your team falls. Against Northwestern, it never felt like Penn State was really out of the game. The Nittany Lions were moving the ball well enough, even before Matt McGloin and the running game went balistic on the Northwestern defense. Rob Bolden didn't do poorly in the first half; the defense did, though. The Wildcats have historically gained tons of yards against Penn State, including the game five years ago that so mirrored the one this past Saturday evening.

Weeks ago, following the Temple game in which Bolden led the long, win-clinching drive, I said it was the most impressive and most important single drive of the season. Now there's a new one to top it. Driving 91 yards in less than 50 seconds, punching the ball into the end zone to cut Northwestern's lead to 21-7, is now not only the most important single drive of the season so far, but it could be one of the most important drives in Penn State history. When Penn State scored, it felt like Penn State just won the game. Looking back, that's just what Penn State did.

One last thought on Joe Paterno's 400th win--shame on the fans. No, not just the students this time. But all those club seat ticket holders who couldn't even fill up those seats in the upper south end zone. For all the bitching and moaning about the price of tickets next year, it doesn't reflect well when the seats aren't valued enough to fill them for one of the biggest moments in college football history. 104,000? Are you f-cking kidding me?


It's difficult to boil down into a few short thoughts something very likely to ever be witnessed again. For all the arguments about Bolden and McGloin, this was really a self-perpetuating monster fueled by the crowd and unable to be extinguished by Northwestern after halftime. Bolden should have been given a longer leash and better playcalling. McGloin was pretty terrible initially, but once the sun was low enough to cover the field in shadow - the Ginger struck and once Penn St. got the lead, the celebration seemed inevitable. Best of all, it was quick end to the 400 storyline unlike 324, which went on for an excrutiating stretch.

As a side note, I am ashamed of the fans that couldn't even sell out what had the potential to and turned out to be a historical game. Don't even get me started on the students that continue to show up late or not at all, I'm sick of hearing their excuses.


Standing on the field just feet away from Joe Paterno as he spoke to the 104,000 fans in the stands was undoubtedly one off my best memories as a Penn State student. Paterno already is a living legend, but this just solidifies his place in college football immortality even more. I did find it quite interesting that the two people who were knocking on his door just a few years ago with hopes off him stepping down were now calling him the best college football coach ever.

But that aside, Penn State did impress me in the second half. I've been saying for a while that Rob Bolden shouldn't be spoon fed the starting quarterback role, and this just proves that maybe the true freshman should have to wait his turn. You know, the Paterno way.

Another major thing I drew from this game is just how good Silas Redd is and is going to be. Here is some food for thought. Evan Royster ran for 513 yards his freshman season on 82 carries. Silas Redd? 328 yards on 42 carries. There most certainly was a milestone reached this year in Happy Valley that we will never see again. Evan Royster was not the one to do it. 400 sure is safe. But the rushing record may not stand for much longer.

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  1. Is there any chance of getting this game in ten minutes or less? I would be good for atleast ten views during the offseason.

  2. Galen,

    I couldn't agree with you more. Everyone is bashing Bolden on the forums but I thought he played pretty well minus the fumble he got destroyed on. Blame is 50/50 there. No doubt McGloin is good but I think Bolden is pretty good too. His first 2 drives were better than McGloins first 2.

  3. Chris,
    I just think Bolden is our future but for whatever reason McGloin seems to spark the offense when he comes off the bench. It could be a personality difference McGloin is a fiery redhead and Bolden is a quite lead-by-example type.

  4. I believe in the intangibles and three times now this team has visibly played better under McGloin. There HAS to be something to that.