When I wrote my ode to Matt McGloin before last year's season-finale against Wisconsin, I meant every word of what I said. I absolutely believed that McGloin had become more cerebral in his year working with Bill O'Brien. I believed that his new-found awareness, coupled with his scrappiness and his undeniable work ethic would lead to success in whatever he decided to do after leaving State College. Knowing that he was a journalism graduate, it made all the sense in the world to me that I would be reading his analysis from football games in some newspaper conglomerate much sooner rather than later.
Never in a million years did I expect to see him leading an NFL team to a victory in his first career start less than a year after my send-off to the man himself was published.
The Scranton Scrapper/Ginger Avenger/Moxie Maniac went 18-for-32 for 197 yards and three touchdowns to go with zero interceptions in his starting debut with the Oakland Raiders, leading his team to a 28-23 victory over the Houston Texans. And if his receivers were a bit more sure-handed, those numbers may have looked even better.
As stated in the CBS broadcast of the game, McGloin was brought in only as a training camp arm, only getting the opportunity after O'Brien made calls for him after he went undrafted. He went to rookie camp with the Redskins before ending up in Oakland behind journeyman Matt Flynn, fourth-round pick Tyler Wilson and former Ohio State signal-caller Terrelle Pryor. One by one, however, McGloin picked off spots on the depth chart and after a knee injury kept Pryor off the practice field this week, he was able to star in picking up his first NFL victory this afternoon.
McGloin was helped out with great field position in two of his first three possessions after a fumble recovery and interception on Houston's first and third possessions allowed the Raiders to start in the red zone. After seven running plays began McGloin's first drive, he was finally given the green light to sling the ball around a little and hit Denarius Moore on a five-yard slant to give him a touchdown on his first completion of the day. Later in the first quarter, he would find Temple grad Rod Streater in the endzone with a 16-yard pass.
Not enough can be said about the work that Bill O'Brien did with McGloin last year. While facing pressure all day long from top NFL pass rusher J.J. Watt, McGloin was about to go through progressions and find open receivers while throwing a great ball with consistency. He fell to Watt twice during the day, but go back to Moxie's junior season at Penn State and he may have thrown a pick-six instead of willingly succumbing to the collapsing pocket. He showed that while he may not be able to throw the deep ball that some may be able to in the league, he certainly has the arm strength to fit a ball into a tight space, a skill much more useful in today's game.
Wanna do something fun? Grab a time machine and go back nearly three years to January 1, 2011, the day that McGloin threw five interceptions in an Outback Bowl loss to Florida. Then, find yourself from that day and tell them that within three years, McGloin would be starting and winning an NFL game. Hopefully the heart attack that your former self has doesn't end up wiping out your present self.
From college walk-on to ridiculed goat to team leader to undrafted free agent to NFL-winning quarterback, Matt McGloin has had quite a ride over the past few years. What does the future hold? I'll let a couple tweets sent out by Nick Polak sum up most of our thoughts:
My opinion on McGloin in the NFL is the same as it has been from the beginning— Nick Polak (@TheREALNPolak) November 17, 2013
The second he steps on the field as a starter, he won't leave until he decides he's done. #Moxie— Nick Polak (@TheREALNPolak) November 17, 2013
From Penn State fans all over, congratulations and way to make us proud, Matt.
Ed: and don't forget about this classic, penned by Matt for release before the draft...it still rings true today. Congratulations, from all of us at BSD and in Nittany Nation.--CG
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