Penn State Rolls Over Eastern Michigan, 34-6
Penn State used an efficient passing game and strong defense to gain an easy 34-6 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday. The strong showing for the Nittany Lions was marred by two injuries to key defensive players.
Heading into the game, Penn State expected to face plenty of runs from Eastern Michigan. Instead, the Eagles came out passing, throwing four straight times for 28 yards to open the game. The Penn State defense was able to hold the Eagles once they reached midfield, however. This would be the theme of the first half, as Eastern Michigan got the ball past midfield on half of its drives in the half but could not manufacture any points.
Penn State likewise had little success in the first quarter. Rob Bolden started at quarterback for the Nittany Lions but could only lead the team to three points on an Anthony Fera 29-yd field goal. The lack of offensive production caused the coaching staff to bring in Matt McGloin in the second quarter.
McGloin had an immediate effect, leading the Nittany Lions to a touchdown on his first drive. McGloin connected with Joe Suhey for a 27-yard touchdown to extend the Penn State lead to 10-0. On his second drive, Penn State threatened to score again, but Michael Zordich fumbled the ball into the end zone, resulting in a touchback for Eastern Michigan.
McGloin was able to lead Penn State to another touchdown before halftime with a 5-yd touchdown pass to Derek Moye for a 17-0 lead. McGloin ended the half on 9-10 passing for 145 yards and two touchdowns. The Nittany Lions did have one worry after the first half, however, as linebacker Michael Mauti went out of the game with an ACL tear. According to Joe Paterno, Mauti will be out for the remainder of the season.
The quarterback carousel continued in the second half. On the opening drive of the half, Bolden threw to Devon Smith for a 71-yd touchdown to put Penn State up 24-0. However, after the second drive stalled, McGloin was back in the game. He immediately led the Nittany Lions to another scoring drive, capped off with a 20-yd pass to Moye.
Late in the third quarter, Penn State had another injury scare. Cornerback D’Anton Lynn went in for a tackle and suffered an apparent neck injury. After several minutes down on the field, Lynn had to be carted off in a stretcher–a worrisome injury for a Penn State team that experienced a neck injury in 2000 to former player Adam Taliaferro.
Up 31-3 in the fourth quarter, Penn State called off the dogs and brought in third-string quarterback Shane McGregor. The teams then traded field goals for a 34-6 Penn State victory. Bolden ended up going 7-12 for 115 yards, and had a touchdown and an interception, while McGloin went 14-17 for 220 yards and three touchdowns. Smith led the Nittany Lions with 104 yards receiving, and Moye became the sixth Penn State player to catch for over 2,000 during the game. Penn State also ran for 110 yards, 51 of which came from Redd.
The Penn State coaching staff will be happy with the offensive output shown against Eastern Michigan, but cannot be happy losing two key defensive players to injuries. The Nittany Lions will aim to recover from those injuries as they head to Bloomington, Ind., to take on Indiana next week.