Whenever Bill O'Brien received praise for the job he did after being hired as Penn State's head coach in January, one of his favorite responses was "I haven't even won a game yet."
It took three games, but that statement is no longer true.
Penn State's defense shutdown Navy's triple option, Matt McGloin threw four touchdowns and O'Brien collected his first career victory as a head coach as Penn State upended Navy, 34-7, Saturday afternoon at Beaver Stadium.
"In many ways it was a long time coming," O'Brien said. "But I told [the team] it was one win and all the hard work they put in this week and the past weeks, it finally paid off."
There was a strong sense of patriotism among the 98,792 fans in attendance, as it was Military Appreciation Day. Many of those faithful had something to cheer about right away as McGloin threw his first touchdown of the day to freshman tight end Jesse James on the Nittany Lions' opening possession.
McGloin threw for 231 yards and fired two more touchdowns before halftime. Both were to wide receiver Allen Robinson, who had a career day, catching five passes for 136 yards and three touchdowns.
Bill Belton and Derek Day, the Lions' top two running backs were sidelined with injuries, so it was Michael Zordich and Curtis Dukes who shouldered the load on the ground. Zordich ran for 50 yards and Dukes tacked on 47, as the duo evenly split 22 carries.
For the second straight week, Penn State's defense forced four turnovers and the final takeaway resulted in points. On a play early in the fourth quarter, linebacker Mike Hull scooped up a fumble and returned it 74 yards to give Penn State a 34-0 lead.
"I looked up and he took off it and I'm like 'He's not getting caught,' " defensive tackle Jordan Hill said. "Usually you have to block a few people, but nobody was catching Mike today."
Due to vacated wins as part of the sanctions issued against Penn State in July, Saturday marked the team's first official victory since November 22, 1997 — a span of 5,411 days.
"There was no way we weren't going to win today," Mauti said. "Everyone knew what we had to do. Defensively we had a great gameplan, we were confident in that and offensively you just had to know those guys were going to put up points."