Penn State has reason to cheer

Associated Press

State college, pa.

Penn State football finally has a victory to celebrate.

Matt McGloin threw for 231 yards and four touchdowns and Penn State overwhelmed Navy in a 34-7 win Saturday for rookie coach Bill O’Brien’s first career victory.

The Nittany Lions (1-2) rolled to the morale-boosting win following two draining losses to open a season of change in Happy Valley.

Penn State hadn’t won a football game since last Nov. 19 at Ohio State. That was soon after former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with child sex abuse and the late Joe Paterno was fired. O’Brien was hired in January as Paterno’s replacement, and the Penn State program was slammed with NCAA sanctions in July over the school’s handling of the Sandusky case.

“I felt very good for this football team,” O’Brien said. “It was a long time coming.”

Allen Robinson torched the Midshipmen’s porous secondary for three touchdowns and 136 yards on five catches, while Linebacker U forced four turnovers including Mike Hull’s 74-yard fumble return to make it 34-0 in the fourth quarter.

Gee Gee Greene ran for 70 yards and a score for the Midshipmen (0-2).

Faint chants of “Bill O’Brien” echoed out of the stands after the two teams exchanged handshakes at midfield following the final whistle. The Nittany Lions avoided going 0-3 for the first time since 2001.

“This is a great group of kids,” he said. “I just feel great for these football players here at Penn State today.”

On a play fake, McGloin scrambled right and found tight end Jesse James in the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown catch and a 7-0 lead on the game-opening drive. More than five minutes later, McGloin hit Robinson with a pass at about the 10, but the sophomore two-stepped around defensive back Tra’ves Bush to jog untouched into the end zone for a two-touchdown lead.

Linebacker Gerald Hodges thwarted Navy’s next drive into Penn State territory, intercepting an underthrown pass into the flat at the 10 by Navy quarterback Trey Miller, who was flushed out of the pocket under pressure. That turnover set up a 14-play, 90-yard drive that culminated with another Robinson touchdown catch, this one from two yards out.

Just like in its season opener to Notre Dame two weeks ago, Navy allowed touchdowns on its opponents’ first three offensive series.

And just like two weeks ago, Navy limped home to Annapolis with another double-digit loss.

Miller, who had both feet heavily taped, injured an ankle in the 50-10 loss to the Irish. Appearing to walk with a slight limp, Miller was ineffective in the pocket, rushing 18 times for 21 yards and going 6 of 13 passing for 17 yards and an interception.

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