Penn State Nittany Lions vs. Florida Gators: Outback Bowl Post-Game Analysis

Penn State Nittany Lions has been led by head coach Joe Paterno and its formidable defense.  Meanwhile, Urban Meyer has led his Florida Gators with the West Coast spread offense with John Brantley and their rotating quarterbacks.  And former Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow has become the starter for the Denver Broncos.  This game is one where one of the better offenses against one of the better defenses in the NCAA.

My observations for the game:

  • This has been a turnover-prone game for the Lions and the Gators, as they had a total of 6 turnovers.
  • Neither quarterback, Florida Gators John Brantley or Penn State‘s Matthew McGloin, played spectacularly.  McGloin had two interceptions heading into the second half. Neither of them is up to NFL standards in this game.
  • The Florida Gators defense stepped up the second quarter with a blocked punt by Solomon Patton and retrieval by Lerentee McCray for a touchdown changed the  face of the game.
  • McGloin’s pass to 44-yard pass to Derek Hoye to the 1 yard line was a great counterpunch for the Nittany Lions offense after the Gators special teams touchdown.
  • Gators wide receiver Chris Rainey’s run for 51 yards was great after the breakdowns in the Lions defense.  The Miami Dolphins quite possibly wished they had Rainey in their lineup about now.
  • Matt McGloin’s 2-yard rushing touchdown for the Nittany Lions in the third quarter was fantastic and it built the lead to 24-17 over the Gators.  However, his third interception wasn’t great into close of the third quarter.
  • Gators Mike Gillislee 1-yard rushing touchdown gave them the 27-24 lead.  This gave a chance in momentum in Gator’s favor, but McGloin’s questionable quarterback play near the end zone also helped.
  • The Nittany Lions defense held its own in the red zone with only permitting the explosive offense a field goal.
  • The interception by the Gators Ahmad Black sealed the game with a score of 37-24.

The Penn State Nittany Lions defense kept the potent Gators offense in check for most of the game, but the offensive weapons of Chris Rainey and the combination of rushers ultimately won.  McGloin’s horrible gameplay also helped.  Four interceptions won’t win a game, no matter how good the defense is.

With Meyer leaving the Florida Gators in relatively good shape, the Gators are poised for another run next season. The Nittany Lions ultimately lost 37-24, but they fought well…until the fourth quarter collapse.