Posted by Jerry Hinnen
A week of intrigue over the identity of Penn State 's starting quarterback for their critical match-up with Michigan has apparently come to a close. Multiple outlets, including PSU Scout site FightOnState.com , are reporting that redshirt sophomore walk-on Matt McGloin has received the majority of first-team reps in practice this week and will start against the Wolverines.
A crucial late-season home game against a Big Ten opponent is hardly the preferred venure for handing a walk-on quarterback the first start of his career, but an injury to regular starter Robert Bolden and the continued struggles of dual-threat option Kevin Newsome (also reportedly dealing with a nagging injury) have apparently forced Joe Paterno 's hand.
If there's a silver lining for the Nittany Lions, it's that they'd be hard-pressed to find a more accommodating defense for McGloin to wet his feet against; Rich Rodriguez 's young and injury-wracked crew ranks a miserable 117th in the country in pass defense and 93rd in sacks. If McGloin can't find his footing at home, against Michigan, it'll be clear that the Nittany Lions will need Bolden back at the first opportunity if they want to salvage so much as a low-level bowl game from this disappinting season.
The reverse is also true, however, for Michigan, who have seen the expectations and stakes for this game increase dramatically. If the Wolverine defense can't give Denard Robinson and Co. a little bit of slack against the Big Ten's next-to-worst scoring offense playing without its starting quarterback, then who can they give that slack against? The parallels between Michigan's 2009 second-half collapse and this hypothetical three-game losing streak would be awfully tough to ignore any longer.
But first, McGloin has to prove he belongs on the Beaver Stadium field, and given the pressure and difficulty of the situation he faces, that's easier said than done.