Penn State airs it out to beat EMU
STATE COLLEGE - After a quarter of play against Eastern Michigan, Penn State only accounted for a mere 63 yards of total offense 27 on the ground, 36 through the air.
With his Nittany Lions holding only a three-point lead, Joe Paterno knew it was time for a change in the game plan.
"They [Eastern Michigan] took the run away from us," Paterno said. "We got back into the ball game with the idea that we were going to have to beat an eight-man front the rest of the day and we're going to have to get the ball down field."
After that, the Nittany Lions' two signal-callers Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden took over. McGloin threw three touchdowns for the second time in his career, while Bolden tossed for another as the Nittany Lions completed their non-conference play by airing it out for a 34-6 win over the Eagles.
After watching Silas Redd being stopped in his tracks in the first two drives, Bolden knew the switch was coming.
"I don't think it was a surpise," Bolden said. "Once the second or third drive went by, I knew we were just going to throw the ball since we were doing a good job [moving] the ball through the air.
"We had guys that could get by their guys."
It was on the second drive of the second quarter that McGloin sparked the Nittany Lions' offense. He completed his first pass to Derek Moye for a 18-yard play. Three players later, McGloin hit Joe Suhey along the near sideline for a 27-yard touchdown reception.
That touchdown reception ended a stretch 16 quarters that the Lions' quarterback didn't throw for a touchdown pass. The last time they scored a touchdown through the air was against Florida in last year's Outback Bowl.
Two possessions later, McGloin hit Moye in the backend of the endzone to make it 17-0.
Mixing in an occassional run, the Lions gave their receivers a chance to make some more noise in the third quarter.
After an incomplete pass and a five-yard run by Redd, Bolden hit a cutting Devon Smith for a 71-yard touchdown as Smith broke free and went untouched down the sideline. It was the longest completion of Smith's career and second-longest of Bolden's.
It was Moye's turn again in the later part of third quarter as he caught a 20-yard touchdown reception from McGloin.
His second touchdown catch of the day moved Moye into third place in career receiving yards at Penn State with 2,026 yards. Moye is among only six Nittany Lions all-time with at least 2,000 career yards. His 124 career receptions are good for sixth place in Penn State annals.
"I definitely feel honored to be on the lists," Moye said. "It is a great honor since there has been a lot of great receivers here at Penn State. It's just a great honor to be on the same list with them. But at the same time, I want to try to go out there and get wins and try to improve our offensive scheme.
"We knew what kind of defensive scheme they were running, so we thought we had to go out there and make some plays."
The 364 passing yards by the Nittany Lions is the eighth highest total under Joe Paterno and the most since Penn State had 379 yards through the air against Akron in the 2009 season opener.
Penn State had four different players Bolden, McGloin, Shane McGregor and Garrett Venuto complete a pass. The last time that the Nittany Lions had four different players complete a pass in a single game was against Akron in 2004, when Zack Mills, Michael Robinson, Chris Ganter and Anthony Morelli pulled off the trick.
Although it was a good day for the offense, it turned out to be a bittersweet victory for the defense as two key defensive contributors sustained injuries. Linebacker Mike Mauti suffered a season-ending ACL tear, while cornerback D'Anton Lynn taken off the field by medics following a third-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit and was taken to the hospital for observation. Lynn had movement in his extremities after being treated at nearby Mount Nittany Medical Center.