Matt Barkley, Tajh Boyd, E.J. Manuel, Logan Thomas and Denard Robinson all have two things in common.
All are highly-touted college quarterbacks, and all have fewer passing yards than Matt McGloin.
Through four games this season, McGloin sits at No. 22 in the nation and first in the Big Ten with 1,006 passing yards. In 2011, he came in 10th in nearly all conference quarterback categories after platooning most of the season with Rob Bolden.
McGloin put up one of the biggest games of his career Saturday against Temple, completing 66 percent of his passes for 318 yards and touchdown. He also rushed for Penn State’s first two rushing touchdowns of the season. McGloin’s one interception bounced off the hands of wide receiver Brandon Moseby-Felder.
Coach Bill O’Brien said the redshirt senior’s decision-making abilities have progressed since he first started working with him.
“He’s a fun guy to coach because he’s a smart guy,” O’Brien said. “He gets it after you tell him once. He’s competitive and he can keep his poise, sometimes better than I can, and that’s a good decision on his part. It was a good ball game by Matt.”
McGloin looked more comfortable than ever in the pocket, taking his time as he thread his throws across the field. He was knocked down on more than one occasion, but never sacked as he spread the ball out to four different receivers for three or more passes.
It’s not just the pressure in front of McGloin that’s improved. With less pressure coming at him from behind on depth chart, he said his patience has improved and he’s been able to take what the defense gives him.
From the defensive side of ball, linebacker Michael Mauti said McGloin has definitely benefited from being the only man under center.
“I don’t feel like I have to force myself to stay out there,” McGloin added. “When you’re splitting time with anybody, you try to impress. But that’s in the past.”
McGloin’s two rushing touchdowns Saturday also showed a lot about his confidence in his legs. He has gained 44 yards on the ground this season, not including his sacks. He gained 52 yards all of last season.
McGloin credited his short touchdown bursts Saturday to the squats strength and conditioning coach Craig Fitzgerald made him do in the weight room.
Still, the quarterback said he has room for improvement.
“Especially as an offense, we’re starting to feel really good about where we’re at now,” McGloin said. “There were a lot of plays left out on the field today. I made some mistakes with protection. I missed a couple of throws. I have to correct those so we continue to progress as an offense.”
His center and roommate, Matt Stankiewitch, doesn’t think McGloin is giving himself enough credit.
“I am scared to think of where we would be without Matty,” Stankiewitch said. “He really embraced this role and is constantly watching film. That’s an awesome feeling as an offensive lineman to see he cares that much.”
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