Outback Bowl: Florida swipes win from PSU

McGloin throws 5 interceptions in 37-24 defeat

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TAMPA, Fla. -- Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin set a single-game record with five interceptions Saturday, but he did not run and hide.

He sat in a chair and answered question after question following the Nittany Lions' 37-24 loss against Florida in the Outback Bowl before 60,574 fans at Raymond James Stadium.

Three of McGloin's interceptions led to 21 points for Florida (8-5), enabling Urban Meyer to escape with a win in his final game as the Gators' coach.

Penn State (7-6) dropped three of its final four games.

"It was a tough day, obviously," McGloin said. "It's a tough way to finish the season. ... I broke down [out there] at times today. I couldn't finish. I couldn't fix it for the guys. But it happens.

"Our defense played a phenomenal football game out there for us. They really kept us in it.

"Like I said, today we'll be upset about it. But come tomorrow, we'll be getting ready for next season."

McGloin's fourth interception was returned 80 yards for the game-clinching touchdown by Florida strong safety Ahmad Black with 55 seconds remaining.

McGloin's second pick set up Omarius Hines' 16-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that tied the score, 7-7.

And McGloin's third interception set up Florida's go-ahead touchdown on Mike Gillislee's 1-yard run with 13:02 left in the fourth quarter.

"[McGloin] wasn't himself," said All-American offensive right guard Stefen Wisniewski, from Central Catholic High School. "I don't know what it was.

"The whole offensive line was missing blocks, and we were dropping passes.

"We just didn't execute."

McGloin was 17 of 41 for 211 yards and a touchdown. He also ran 2 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter that put Penn State up 24-17, but the Gators scored the final 20 points.

He compared Saturday's dismal performance to a six-interception game he had as a sophomore at West Scranton High School.

"I think a lot of people made some mistakes today -- it was just not Matt," tailback Evan Royster said. "I don't think it was him that cost us the game. He came out and played hard and he made some good throws early on.

"We kind of crumbled as an offense a little bit. With all the pressure Matt was getting, he had to take some risky throws. That's on me. That's on the line. That's on everybody."

After starting the game with two incompletions on the first series, McGloin was 6 for 6 for 56 yards on Penn State's second possession, which he capped with a 5-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Derek Moye (Rochester).

After that, McGloin was 11 of 33 for 155 yards the rest of the way with five interceptions.

"He didn't play one of his better games, obviously," said Moye, who had a team-high five catches for 79 yards. "But I think he'll bounce back in the offense and coming into next season his confidence will boost back up."

Quarterback coach Jay Paterno thought about putting freshman backup Rob Bolden in the game, before opting to stick with McGloin.

"He made some good plays, he made some bad decisions," Paterno said.

McGloin also certainly will find himself in competition for the starting job next season with Bolden and freshman quarterback Paul Jones from Sto-Rox.

"I don't think the job was ever closed," Moye said. "Rob never did anything to technically lose the job.

"I won't say it will be an open competition, but I think there will be competition in the offseason and into spring football."

Penn State, which also had a blocked punt returned 27 yards for a touchdown by Florida's Lerentee McCray in the second quarter, finished with just 350 yards of offense.

"At times, we looked good," McGloin said. "At times, we obviously didn't perform too well."

Royster, the school's all-time leading rusher, rushed for 98 yards on 20 carries and became the first player in school history to record three 1,000-yard seasons.

And cornerback D'Anton Lynn had four tackles, an interception and forced a fumble at the 2 that resulted in a touchback following McGloin's first interception in the first quarter.

Penn State's defense held Florida to 279 yards of offense, including just 101 passing yards, but McGloin's five interceptions were too much to overcome.

"You can't put it on McGloin," outside linebacker Bani Gbadyu said.

"It was just a whole team effort."

Ron Musselman can be reached at rmusselman@post-gazette.com .


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