October 6, 2012 at 7:40 PM
Working against the clock, trailing by three with 85 yards separating Penn State from the lead didn't faze Matt McGloin.
That's just the way the senior quarterback likes it.
McGloin took Penn State's offense on a 15-play drive, which ended with him diving into the endzone on a five-yard touchdown scamper and Penn State taking the lead. But before the drive, he had a message to his teammates.
"He came in the huddle, and we probably had 80 yards to go, 90 yards to go and he just said 'I don't know about y'all, but I love moments like this,' " tight end Kyle Carter said. "And we just looked at each other and nodded and we went right down and scored."
Earlier in the fourth quarter, McGloin tossed a touchdown pass to Allen Robinson on fourth down which set up his game-deciding score. The Scranton product finished with 51 pass attempts, 35 of which he completed (a school record), and he ended the game with 282 yards and two passing touchdowns.
And after a shaky start, McGloin played his best football in the fourth quarter. In the final 15 minutes — in which Penn State outscored Northwestern, 22-0 — McGloin was 13-for-15 for 103 yards and a touchdown along with his rushing score.
It wasn't a packed house at Beaver Stadium (95,769), but the fans that were in attendance were loud in the fourth quarter and they erupted when McGloin scored with less than three minutes in the contest.
"I think what got everybody going was what the crowd was doing," McGloin said. "They were still into it, which we fed off. If we can continue to have that, which I know we will throughout the rest of the season at Beaver Stadium, we'll be fine."
McGloin's game-deciding run goes down as a five-yard rush in the box score, but that doesn't capture the awkward dive and celebration that complemented it. After some pump fakes to freeze defenders, McGloin took off toward the corner of the endzone and tripped up a bit before he dove.
Regardless of how it ended, McGloin's run was good for six points and the quarterback celebrated with an Aaron Rodgers-like championship belt move.
"I was unsure on what I had to do there, run it in or have to dive or not," McGloin said. "So I just decided to dive, my knee brace unfortunately got caught in the ground, so I looked like a complete fool."
McGloin now has thrown for 699 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions in three career games against Northwestern and Penn State is 3-0 in those games. For the season, McGloin now has 1,499 passing yards and 17 total touchdowns.
"He understands the things we talk about at halftime, we have to do this better or that better," O'Brien said. "He understands it's a 60-minute game. He's grown up a lot. When you're a senior and playing your last few games here at Penn State, that means a lot to him."