UNIVERSITY PARK - Saturday's glorified practice game against one of the weakest Division I-AA programs in the country did little or nothing to clarify Penn State's quarterback situation.
So despite having more than a year to gauge who's better - Rob Bolden or Matt McGloin - the coaches are sticking with the status quo.
They still don't know.
Sentinel photo by BRADLEY KREITZER
Penn State running back Silas Redd breaks through Indiana State tacklers on his way to a 6-yard gain in the first half of Penn State’s 41-7 win over the Sycamores. Redd rushed for 104 yards on 12 carries.
That's a scary proposition with No. 2 Alabama and its scary-good defense visiting Beaver Stadium in six days.
"Both of them can do things to help us win," quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno said.
Sure, to help win against Indiana State, which has gone 8-68 over the past seven years. But a two-quarterback system working against the Crimson Tide will be a different story, although Joe Paterno said Saturday he expects both to play next week.
The Sycamores were no match for the Nittany Lions on Saturday, losing 41-7 and having no shot from the get-go as Chaz Powell took the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown.
The rest of the afternoon turned into an opportunity for the Lions to get a lot of players some game experience and for running back Silas Redd to show off his enormous potential.
Also, for the quarterbacks to stage one final open competition for the opportunity to lead the offense when the real season begins next week against Alabama.
"I want to be in there, I want to get the job, especially next weekend," McGloin said.
"I want to get them back so bad," said Bolden, who started in last year's 24-3 loss to the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa.
Bolden started Saturday and played the first quarter, McGloin played the second and they split time in the third.
Who performed better? That might depend on your preference for either guy going into the game and letting preconceived notions affect your judgment.
Bolden was 6-of-12 for 37 yards. He was on the field for six series and led one touchdown drive (77 yards).
McGloin was 6-of-8 for 77 yards. He was on the field for four series and led three touchdown drives (75, 77 and 21 yards).
"I thought the offense moved well when I was in there today, and I thought the performance spoke for itself," McGloin said.
Not so fast.
Bolden's final numbers were drastically impacted by one key play in his first series. He fired a deep pass down the left sideline to receiver Derek Moye, who might have scored but couldn't hang onto the ball as defender Calvin Burnett got a hand in late to break it up.
"That's my fault right there," Moye said.
If Moye catches the pass, it could have been a 42-yard TD for Bolden.
"He threw a perfect pass actually, and the defender, he just got it at the last second, hit my arm," Moye said. "I think I should have actually went up for the ball. I kind of waited for it to come to me. I thought I had him beat more than I actually did. If I would have went up and got it, it would have been a pretty easy catch."
The Bolden faithful can point to that play as an example that their guy has the better arm and better potential. They also can point to one play late in the first half when McGloin made a poor decision under pressure and nearly threw a bad interception - reminiscent of his questionable decision-making when he threw five interceptions against Florida in the Outback Bowl.
"It was kind of a little mixup up front," McGloin said of the play. "[Center] Matt Stankiewitch kind of stepped on [left guard] DeOn'tae's ankle, and he fell into me and I kind of tried to push him away. Initially I wanted to just roll out."
Instead, McGloin tried to get rid of the ball as he was being pressured and threw it right to linebacker Phil Walker, who dropped it.
Aside from that throw, McGloin was solid and showed poise and accuracy commanding the offense. He also got the statistical advantage of being on the field when the Lions took over at the Sycamore 21 after a fumble in the third quarter, which led to one of the touchdowns.
Still, it's hard to argue that the offense got the job done more often with McGloin under center than with Bolden on Saturday. Or ever.
It's now McGloin 27 TD drives to 12 for Bolden going back to last year.
"I just tried to show them the way I can operate the offense and the way the offense moves when I'm in the game," McGloin said.
A quarterback can't be judged solely on statistics because things can go wrong that are out of his control. That's what happened to Bolden several times Saturday.
"When you evaluate the things that those guys can control - which is all we can do when we evaluate the quarterbacks - I think it actually came out pretty even, a lot more even than you think," Jay Paterno said.
Bolden appeared more confident from the moment he stepped off the bus first before the game and had a big smile, compared to a deer-in-the-headlights look before last year's opener when he was a true freshman.
"He's been different since the whole preseason," Moye said. "It showed on the field today. He's a little more confident and a little more comfortable out there."
Bolden is not, however, comfortable talking about anything other than being the starting quarterback. While McGloin says the right things when asked about the competition - "Whatever the coaches say, I'll agree with," he said - Bolden has yet to acknowledge anything of the sort.
"I can't even comment on that," he said when asked if he'd be OK with a rotation. "I'm just here. It's Joe's call. I'm just going to keep practicing and playing and do what I'm supposed to do."
Bolden also had this to say when asked if the team has a better chance to beat Alabama with one or two quarterbacks.
"One," he said. "It gives you a chance to get a rhythm. But I'm not the one calling it."