Last updated: February 17. 2013 12:51AM - 312 Views

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If pummeling Navy did anything for Penn State's downtrodden football program, it proved one thing.

Penn State can still beat the patsies.

The Nittany Lions at least confirmed that much, by scorching a Navy team that never really threatened to make a game of it Saturday as the Lions rolled to a 34-7 victory.

At least it wasn't 50-10.

That was the score of Navy's first defeat, to that "powerhouse" of a Notre Dame team last week in a game played in Dublin, Ireland.

And if Navy thought its fortunes would change when it got back to the United States, Penn State quarterback Matt McGloin -- a Scranton native of Irish heritage -- had a little reminder of last week waiting. He bounced a 25-yard touchdown pass off the facemask of Penn State receiver Trevor Williams and into the waiting arms of teammate Allen Robinson for a 27-0 lead in the third quarter.

"Sometimes, the luck of the Irish helps you," McGloin laughed afterwards.

It was Penn State's lucky day from the time Navy showed up.

McGloin connected on his first six passes and nine of his first 10, throwing three touchdown passes during that span.

His top target, Allen Robinson, had a career high of 109 receiving yards by the third play of the second quarter and finished the game with three touchdown catches, five receptions and 136 yards.

Hopefully, these football kids from the U.S. Naval Academy will someday defend our country a little better than they defend the pass.

"We saw some things they did defensively and were able to complete some on them," Robinson said. "I think it's all about game-planning."

Navy's offense didn't appear to have much of a plan, either.

The few times Navy had opportunities to make Saturday afternoon interesting, two drives deep into Penn State territory ended in turnovers and a third scoring threat actually turned into the final score for the Nittany Lions when Mike Hull recovered a fumble and returned it 74 yards to the end zone.

By the time Navy did cross the goal line, the game was long-decided, with Penn State in complete command, 34-0.

The Midshipmen couldn't keep themselves afloat at Beaver Stadium because they're manning a sinking ship.

The point is, the first victory of a sorry early-season start for Penn State was nothing to get excited about, because it came against an inferior football team.

No, the Nittany Lions don't have to apologize for it.

They've been through emotional torture for almost a year, dealing with a Sandusky scandal they had nothing to do with, the NCAA bowl bans and severe sanctions that followed while adjusting to new head coach Bill O'Brien and the loss of the late Joe Paterno.

They deserved to win again.

"All the hard work they put in paid off," O'Brien said, later adding, "winning cures a lot of things, winning breeds a lot of confidence."

And the Lions desperately needed a shot of some self-esteem, after starting the season 0-2 with a defeat at home to Ohio and a one-point loss on a missed field goal against Virginia.

"As soon as we stepped off the field in Virginia, we knew we HAD to win this week," said fullback Michael Zordich, who stepped into the tailback position and ran for 50 yards on 11 carries against Navy after injuries depleted the position.

"This was getting stupid," Zordich continued. "It was just an attitude thing -- click it in your head 'We need to win.'"

The Lions found just what they needed against a Navy team that was basically inept.

"It's great, just winning on Saturday, getting back to the winning feeling," Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti said after making a team-high 12 tackles, including a sack. "That's a serious monkey on your back, not having a win yet."

Penn State has one now.

"But it's just one," O'Brien cautioned.

He's right.

Against a Navy team that backed away from this battle, the feeling of victory came back to Penn State. It'll take much tougher tests to prove the Lions are back on track.

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