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Big Ten notebook: Penn State QB battle continues

BY SAM LOUWAGIE | OCTOBER 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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To most people watching the Iowa-Penn State game on Oct. 8, the Nittany Lions' ongoing quarterback competition appeared over.

Matt McGloin completed 12-of-19 throws for 133 yards and a touchdown. Those aren't stellar numbers, but Rob Bolden — McGloin's competition for the starting job — fared much worse. Bolden completed just 3-of-7 passes. He averaged just 4.4 yards per attempt, to McGloin's 7.

But Penn State coach Joe Paterno's comments Tuesday on his quarterback situation sounded a lot like they have all season.

"It's worked for us in the sense that both kids have done well," he said in a teleconference. "Both of them deserve to play. It's hard for me to tell you which one would be better for the team."

Bolden has started every game for Penn State this year. He started against Iowa but played only one series after the opening drive. On the season, McGloin has completed more than 63 percent of his passes for 681 yards, with five touchdowns and an interception. Bolden is at 49 percent for 305 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Those numbers clearly point to a better player — but they don't to Paterno, it seems.

"We're going to watch it each week in practice and see what happens," he said. "The way we're handling the thing now is best for the team, and that's the important thing."

Miller provides hope for Buckeyes

While Penn State struggles to choose a quarterback, Ohio State may have watched one emerge on Oct. 8.

The Buckeyes blew a 27-6 lead in a crushing loss to Nebraska. But the collapse happened after true freshman quarterback Braxton Miller left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle.

Ohio State looked dominant until that injury, because Miller was having a breakout game. He passed for 95 yards and a touchdown and gained 91 yards on the ground as the Buckeyes opened up a big lead.

"You saw him play with a lot more confidence," head coach Luke Fickell said. "He can throw the football, understands the game. He gets better every week."

Wolverines face tough Spartan D-line

Brady Hoke knows firsthand that the Michigan State defensive line is well-coached.

When Hoke was a defensive lineman at Ball State in 1978, Ted Gill was his position coach. Gill now holds the same position for the Spartans.

Every Michigan State defensive unit has been impressive this season — the Spartans had allowed the nation's fewest yards entering their bye last week.

But Hoke said Gill's defensive line was the most impressive, and it could give the most trouble to Denard Robinson and the Michigan offense on Saturday.

"The way those guys play and attack the line of scrimmage, the way they get off blocks with their fundamentals and techniques," Hoke said. "They've got a lot of depth there, and a lot of playmakers."


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