Former Penn State QB Matt McGloin enjoys winning debut for New York Guardians in XFL
- Matt McGloin led the New York Guardians to a 23-3 XFL win vs. Tampa Bay on Sunday.
- The former Penn State quarterback finished 15 of 29 for 182 yards and a touchdown.
- The 30-year-old McGloin had been out of football since 2018.
Matt McGloin’s still got it.
Despite being out of football since 2018 — when he was released by the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs in September — the former Penn State quarterback impressed Sunday in his XFL debut by going 15 of 29 passing for 182 yards and a touchdown while running for another score. His New York Guardians, a three-point Vegas underdog, stunned the Tampa Bay Vipers, 23-3.
“A lot of emotions,” McGloin told FOX’s sideline reporter during the pregame. “And seeing my family in the stands — it doesn’t get better than that.”
The 30-year-old signal caller didn’t wow the MetLife Stadium crowd of 17,634 with his arm strength but, in true McGloin-like fashion, it was his poise under pressure and clutch play that made him so successful.
Making immediate impact: The former Nittany Lion, known for his moxie, made his presence felt immediately. On the opening drive, on fourth-and-4, McGloin found his tight end over the middle for a 15-yard gain. Three plays later, on third-and-7, his spiraling over-the-shoulder toss found Joe Horn for 18 yards to put the Guardians just 6 yards shy of the end zone.
McGloin rumbled in for the touchdown on a QB sneak after a pass-interference call. So, early in the game, his head coach didn’t have many complaints.
“I think he’s done a great job,” Kevin Gilbride, the New York Giants’ former offensive coordinator, said on the FOX broadcast in the second quarter. “He’s seeing where the pressures are coming from. I think he’s identified where those things are, directed our protection the way it needs to be. He’s made some terrific throws.”
Passing exploits: McGloin’s first passing touchdown came on the Guardians’ third drive, when a 45-yard completion set up a short field. On the next play, on first-and-10 from the 12, McGloin read the free-safety blitz and floated it in the end zone to a wide-open Colby Pearson.
The Penn State grad, who worked in a broadcasting role this past season for the Penn State Radio Network and GoPSUSports, even finished the end of the first half with a 32-yard pass that set up a 49-yard field goal. McGloin’s Guardians led 17-0 at halftime.
Not all highlights: But it wasn’t all highlights for McGloin and the Guardians. McGloin underthrew a number of passes, and his teammates dropped some catchable balls. In other words, despite the big win, New York’s offense was inconsistent.
In the fourth quarter, McGloin underthrew a catchable touchdown to Pearson, who just couldn’t come up with the potential 39-yard completion. One play later, on third-and-long, McGloin threw another catchable ball — slightly behind Horn — that wasn’t pulled in. New York punted.
It wasn’t a perfect day for the Nittany Lions’ former quarterback, who last played for PSU in 2012 and went from college walk-on to undrafted NFL free agent. But he outplayed Tampa Bay QB Aaron Murray, a former fifth-round draft pick from Georgia, and committed no turnovers. (Murray tossed two interceptions, one TD and 231 yards.)
Moving on: McGloin will look to keep his team’s perfect 1-0 record intact when it takes on the D.C. Defenders (1-0) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Audi Field. The eight-team league will play 10 games in the regular season with the postseason kicking off April 18.
“A lot of good and a lot of things we need to improve on,” McGloin said when asked to evaluate the Guardians’ performance. “But there were flashes out there.”