Penn State Kicks Off 2011 with Poor Performance at Outback Bowl

Just when it looked like the Nittany Lions would rally in the fourth quarter to upend the Florida Gators in the Outback Bowl, a Matt McGloin-thrown interception return for a touchdown in the final minute sealed Penn State’s fate, 37-24.

McGloin began the day red-hot, finding Derek Moye for a touchdown early in the first quarter to give the Lions a 7-0 lead with Collin Wagner’s extra point. But the Scranton native’s day seemed to go in a downward spiral following that touchdown pass as he finished the day with five interceptions, and he could have thrown even more if some of Florida’s defenders could catch.

It wasn’t only McGloin who had a rough outing. The entire punt team appeared to be out of sorts the entire game, beginning with Solomon Patton’s blocked punt that Lerentee MccCray returned for a touchdown in the second quarter. The special teams touchdown gave the Gators a 14-7 lead, and longstanding momentum for the remainder of the game.

Running back Evan Royster finished the day two yards shy of the century mark, and really put the team on his shoulders in the second half to regain a Penn State lead in the third quarter. But without assistance from his passing game, and his defense for that matter, Florida scored 20 unanswered points to down the Nittany Lions for No. 22’s last game in Penn State blue and white.

Penn State joined the four other Big Ten teams who fell during their New Year’s day bowl games. Texas Tech held off a late Northwestern rally to win 45-38. Alabama throttled Michigan State worse than they beat the Nittany Lions back in early September with a 49-7 victory. Michigan was no match for Mississippi State in a 52-14 loss, and Wisconsin finished the dismal day for the Big Ten with a 21-19 heartbreaking loss to TCU in the Rose Bowl.

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About the Author

Tim Owen

I am originally from a very small town in northeastern Pennsyltucky, called Athens. Currently, I am enrolled in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism and major in print journalism. I have a passion for sports, and more specifically football. I enjoy hunting, cooking, food, and everything Penn State!

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