Yet again, it wasn’t a pretty performance, but Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens paired up for a Penn State football victory versus Iowa.
Has there ever been a more heart-stopping route to 6-2 in college football history? Everyone surrounding the Penn State football program would have an argument for the wildest season through eight games. Even with all the ups-and-downs, Penn State has stayed tough and has earned its right to be a top-tier program in college football. It always helps to have two studs at quarterbacks, and both did enough to get another win.
Starting off with Trace McSorley, this game might’ve been his worst passing performance in his career. He finished just 11-of-25 for 167 yards, one touchdown and one interception through the air, while adding 63 yards and one touchdown on the ground.
McSorley, who has stayed away from turnovers much of the season, had a costly decision in the fourth quarter. With Penn State up 27-17, McSorley tried to do too much. He looked for Brandon Polk over the middle and never saw safety Geno Stone. Stone jumped in front of the pass and returned it to the house to cut the Nittany Lions’ lead to just three. It could’ve cost Penn State the game, but it didn’t this time.
Now with the negative out of the way, he put together a gutsy effort otherwise. He led some nice drives and got the offense out its slump in the first quarter. He threw beautiful pass on the run over two linebackers to Pat Freiermuth in the back of the end zone. Down 12-0 before the score, it was a huge momentum swinger.
Fast forward to later in the game, he was forced to leave the contest due to a knee injury in the second quarter. He returned in the third and despite the bum knee, he ran for his ninth touchdown of the season, accelerating for a 51-yard scoring run off a QB draw. The score broke a 17-17 tie into a seven-point PSU lead.
McSorley then led a field goal drive later in the third quarter by completing 2-of-4 passes for 27 yards before a Jake Pinegar 49-yard field goal. In all, I’d give him a C+ grade for digging out the win, but it was far from pretty.
PSU wouldn’t have won the game though without the steady hand of backup QB Tommy Stevens. He rushed for a three-yard TD and led a field goal drive as well. Against a ranked team, he was as calm as a starting QB. He’s going to be a solid starter in the future. He finished with 27 yards passing and 18 yards rushing with a touchdown in the win.
It’s nice to know Penn State is set for the present and future with this game. Penn State fans need to cherish what they have in these two guys. It doesn’t come around often.
McSorley SEASON STATS: 6-2, 2018 record; 123-of-232, 1,629 yards, 12 touchdowns, four interceptions; 617 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 5.6 yards per carry; 2,246 total yards, 21 total touchdowns
McSorley CAREER STATS: 28-7 career record; 8,998 passing yards; 59.9 completion percentage; 71 touchdowns, 22 interceptions; 1,516 rushing yards, 27 rushing touchdowns; 10,514 total yards, 98 total touchdowns
Stevens CAREER STATS: 19-of-35 for 244 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions; 394 rushing yards, seven touchdowns, 7.4 yards per carry; 14 catches, 62 yards, two touchdowns; 700 total yards, 13 total touchdowns