NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mike Glennon would not entertain any thoughts that he was trying too hard to impress NFL scouts on Monday.
“Definitely not the case at all,” the N.C. State quarterback said. “I played my game. They made some good plays.”
Glennon’s last throw as a college quarterback is the one he’ll want scouts to remember: A laser down the middle to Rashard Smith as he crossed the goal line for a 19-yard touchdown. Too much of the rest was all too forgettable, most notably three interceptions in the 38-24 loss to Vanderbilt in the Franklin American Music City Bowl.
NFL scouts will judge Glennon on more than this game. They’ll assess every other game he has played, and there are assessments to come at the combine and beyond. But on a big stage where a good performance could have done a great deal to vault him into the first round of the draft, Glennon was outplayed by Vanderbilt quarterback Jordan Rodgers, better known as Aaron Rodgers’ little brother.
“I felt like I was on target for the most part,” Glennon said. “I threw some good balls. There weren’t many balls that I threw inaccurately. The first interception was completely on me, and the next two they made some good plays. They have some good players, too, and that’s just the way it goes sometimes.”
One early throw encapsulated everything NFL scouts love about Glennon. He zinged an absolute rocket on a 28-yard deep out to Tobais Palmer on the right sideline, the kind of difficult throw that makes scouts salivate. He held strong in the pocket, taking a few hard hits, showing patience and even waiting too long on a few plays for receivers to come open in the middle of the field.
Those are all things Glennon does well, and he did them well Monday. The raw numbers weren’t bad: 35-for-53 for 383 yards. But only the last throw went for a touchdown, long after the game was decided, and the longest pass went for 28 yards.
“They were playing tricks on defense with Mike, trying to mess with his head,” Palmer said. “It got us off schedule. That’s what comes with bowl games. You have to be prepared for everything. I guess it was just the coverages. They would start one thing, then twist the safeties. They just gave us a different look.”
The first interception was a deep pass to Curtis Underwood down the sideline that hung in the air long enough for the safety to get under it, the second a crossing route to Underwood that the defender jumped. The third was an underthrow in the end zone that led to a 65-yard return.
“I made a couple calls, two of those interceptions, I’m going to put on me,” said interim coach and offensive coordinator Dana Bible. “I put him in a position to fail. But he was doing what he was coached to do. I wanted him to try and drive it and try and make the throw.”
Glennon’s troubles were exacerbated by a receiving corps that continues to drop easy passes, and there was nothing he could do about the Camden Wentz shotgun snap that sailed over his head and rolled 21 yards downfield.
“This game might not have gone the way he liked it, or that we liked it, but he has a bright future ahead of him,” Wentz said. “I really look forward to see what he does at the next level.”
It wasn’t Glennon’s fault N.C. State lost, although the turnovers were collectively the primary cause. It was merely a missed opportunity for Glennon to boost his draft stock by helping the Wolfpack to a feel-good victory instead of a disappointing defeat.
DeCock: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @LukeDeCock, 919-829-8947