Roles sure have changed for Matt McGloin since 2011.
Last season, McGloin came out of games to let another quarterback have a shot at running the offense. This year, it seems he is only leaving if he is forced to.
The Virginia defense dealt two heavy hits to McGloin’s throwing elbow in a matter of two drives in Penn State’s loss Saturday. He missed a total of 15 plays in the game, but he fought through the injury, passed for 197 yards in the game and put his team in a position to win.
“The guy’s a warrior. He loves to play football and loves to battle,” offensive tackle Donovan Smith said about McGloin. “He got banged up, but he came back out there, he worked hard and he’s definitely a big leader of this team. He definitely showed his poise today.”
The first shot to McGloin’s elbow came with a little more than 10 and a half minutes remaining in the first half on a third-down play. With a fourth-and-one coming up and Penn State opting to go for it from Virginia’s 35-yard line, McGloin wanted to stay in the game. But with the play clock winding down, the Scranton product went down on one knee for an injury timeout and true freshman Steven Bench entered the game.
McGloin came out for the next series and again on third down, he took a shot to his right elbow. This time it looked like the fifth-year senior was in more pain, and he jogged off the field straight to the locker room while holding his arm. McGloin missed the remainder of the first half.
After the game, McGloin said both hard hits he took were coincidentally in the same spot, with the second one being worse. He added x-rays were negative and after some treatment, he told coach Bill O’Brien he was ready to get back in the huddle.
“As a competitor, you don’t want to be taken off the field in any situation,” McGloin said. “I just told coach O’Brien, if he needed me, I was ready to go in and I was just trying to keep my arm from getting stiff.”
Though McGloin told coaches he was ready to play after the break, it was Bench who took the first two snaps of the second half. Oddly enough, McGloin entered the game on third-and-five and right away made sure the Nittany Lions’ initial drive of the third quarter was extended with a 23-yard completion to wide receiver Alex Kenney.
“[McGloin] came back from a little adversity himself,” senior linebacker Michael Mauti said. “I know he was in pain a little bit, we were proud of him.”
McGloin played every offensive snap for Penn State after that play and threw his second touchdown of the day to Allen Robinson in the fourth quarter to give the team a 13-10 lead. However, Virginia countered with a late touchdown to take a one-point lead, and McGloin had to rally the offense one more time to get in scoring position.
With 1:28 left, the Lions took over at their own 27-yard line and McGloin went 6-of-9 for 51 yards on the final drive to set up a potential game-winning field goal from 42 yards away. Sophomore kicker Sam Ficken struggled all day and the final kick was no exception as he hooked it wide left and the Lions went home losers.
McGloin said he was pleased with the final drive and despite the miss, he did not put blame on Ficken for the defeat. The quarterback said there were plays he could’ve executed, which would’ve made a big difference in the game.
“That’s something we practice each and every day is a two-minute drill, and we did it successfully there,” McGloin said. “We got down in field goal range, unfortunately, we just couldn’t finish.”
McGloin had his right elbow wrapped in ice after the game and said it was a bit swollen. He thought the injury probably would not be an issue moving forward.
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