NittanyNation will be counting down the top five moments of Penn State's season this week. The No. 2 moment of the season: Matt McGloin rallies past Northwestern on Oct. 6.
This game was Penn State's first real test of the season, its first opportunity to show the nation it still belonged near the top of the Big Ten.
So, when the Nittany Lions entered the fourth quarter trailing 28-17 against Northwestern, it seemed as if that opportunity had died along with any hope to win the Leaders Division. Penn State seemed finished, bound to drop to 3-3.
But then McGloin jogged to the huddle, looked into his teammates' eyes, and tight end Kyle Carter said he could tell from that look that McGloin wasn't giving up. He was about to break out. "I don't know about you all," Carter remembered him saying, "but I love this."
Added McGloin: "There was no panic. We had a full quarter to play."
The fifth-year signal-caller certainly made the most of it. He directed three touchdowns in the final 10 minutes of the game and played his best football when the contest was most in doubt.
On the game-winning drive, he completed 6-of-7 passes for 49 yards. Five yards from the end zone, on third-and-4, McGloin took the snap and rolled right while the Wildcats flooded the middle of the line.
He took off running, awkwardly dove to the end zone and celebrated the touchdown using Aaron Rodgers' signature move. The celebration was quickly made into a .GIF that would be replayed countless times by Penn State fans.
This game symbolized Penn State's season in a way. The Lions were counted out, but they shocked nearly everyone by coming on strong when it was needed most. McGloin showed he was a capable quarterback, Penn State showed it would be a force in the Big Ten, and fans realized PSU could never be counted out.
And that's why it's the No. 2 moment of the season.