Halftime Analysis: Penn State 7, Virginia 3

September, 8, 2012
9/08/12
1:48
PM ET
Matt McGloin jogged to the locker room late in the second quarter with an apparent elbow injury, and true freshman Steven Bench is now in at quarterback.

It's not yet known if McGloin will return, so Penn State might now be without all of its top skill players from the spring. Starting tailback Silas Redd (transfer) and backup Bill Belton (injury) are gone, No. 1 wideout Justin Brown defected for Oklahoma, McGloin is injured and kicker Anthony Fera transferred.

Stat of the half: Three. The number of fourth-down conversions PSU made in the first half, two on the opening drive and one on a fake punt that resulted in a 19-yard run by middle linebacker Glenn Carson. Bill O'Brien's gambles have certainly paid off so far. They're 3-for-4 -- and the Lions' scored their only TD thanks to two of those conversions.

Player of the half: Jordan Hill. He's wreaked havoc in the middle of Virginia's offense and also grabbed an interception that's bound to appear on some highlight tapes. He's been one of the few bright spots in this game.

What's working for Penn State: Turnovers. Linebacker Michael Mauti stressed that his team had to force fumbles or make interceptions this week, and Penn State's done both so far. Mauti forced a fumble, and Hill hauled in an interception. Unfortunately for PSU, the offense couldn't capitalize.

What's not working for Penn State: Special teams. Sam Ficken missed two field goals -- from 40 yards and 38 yards -- and punter Alex Butterworth can't seem to hit a punt longer than 40 yards.

What's working for Virginia: Blitzing. The Cavaliers' front-seven has confused Penn State's offensive line by showing different blitzes. Penn State's having difficulty adjusting. And while that's just led to two sacks, it's forced several incompletions by McGloin.

What's not working for Virginia: Passing game. Michael Rocco is missing some easy throws, and his intended targets aren't making this any easier. Tight end Paul Freedman fumbled in the first quarter and several players made critical drops. A strength of UVA has been looking like a weakness.

Josh Moyer | email

Penn State/Big Ten reporter

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