Glennon answers boos, earns cheers

calexander@newsobserver.comNovember 27, 2011 

N.C. State's Mike Glennon did something Saturday that neither Philip Rivers nor Russell Wilson could pull off or claim.

He was a big part of the biggest football comeback in school history.

The Wolfpack trailed Maryland 41-14 in the third quarter and many State fans had given up on Glennon, on the Pack, on the game. But as NCSU coach Tom O'Brien said of Glennon, using an old Marine analogy, "He kept firing."

"Bullets are cheap," O'Brien said. "Keep firing. We're not going to run out of bullets. We've got to use them all up. He used all the bullets he had."

Booed at Carter-Finley Stadium after a second-period pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown, Glennon would throw for five touchdowns and run for a sixth as the Pack roared back for a wild 56-41 win on a sunny, unseasonably warm day.

Glennon tied Rivers' school record for touchdown responsibility with the six scores. The redshirt junior also became only the fourth quarterback in school history to throw for five scores in a game, joining Terry Harvey, Rivers and Wilson.

"Whatever the situation is, whether we're winning or losing, I try to keep playing level-headed and not worry about things," said Glennon, who was 36-of-55 passing for 306 yards. "Just stay relaxed, let the game play out and not think about the score too much."

Glennon grinned when asked if he heard the boos after Maryland safety A.J. Hendy's interception for a score.

"Oh, yeah, I heard that," Glennon said. "But we got a 'W.' "

For a long time Saturday, as the Pack made one mistake after another, that seventh "W" of the season, and a bowl game, seemed a pipe dream.

"It was kind of surreal," Glennon said. "It was like, 'Is this really happening?' "

At halftime, the Pack had four turnovers and the Terps led 34-14. O'Brien said he "got after them" at the break but noted the coaches also gave the players a plan for a comeback. For the offense: keep using the hurry-up offense, keep the Terps pass-rushing and tire out the Maryland defense.

"I think we're used that tempo to wear them down," Glennon said.

Glennon's touchdown passes came on throws of 4, 7, 6, 11 and 7 yards. The fifth, to senior tight end George Bryan, pushed the Pack's lead to 49-41 with 2 minutes, 18 seconds left.

"Mike did a great job keeping his composure," Bryan said.

Glennon did show some emotion in the fourth quarter. Trailing 41-35, Glennon missed an open James Washington on a pass that would have gone for a touchdown, then hopped up and down in anger.

"I try to stay even-keel, but I knew that was one that could have been a big play for us," he said. "I'm glad that didn't come back to bite us."

It didn't. Glennon hit halfback Tony Creecy on a third-down pass for 20 yards and Washington scored three plays later to give the Pack its first lead, 42-41.

The season began with much talk about Wilson transferring to Wisconsin, of Glennon taking over as the starter. Some State fans applauded O'Brien's decision to go with Glennon and others vehemently disagreed with parting ways with Wilson.

But Glennon now has his own place in Wolfpack lore.

"I hope so," he said, smiling. "I think the first half people were probably thinking different."

But not by game's end. Nothing but cheers.

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