It’s a little strange to see a Top-10 Penn State racking-up postseason awards on the offensive side of the ball, as opposed to defense. A day after Tyler Davis was the only recipient of a 1st-team All-B1G honor on Special Teams, the driving force behind the Nittany Lions’ high-powered offense received well-deserved recognition tonight.
In addition to being named Offensive Player of the Year, and Running Back of the Year, Saquon Barkley was named to the 1st-team All-B1G team. This comes as no surprise. Before the season it seemed like the only thing standing between Barkley and this honor was the success (or lack thereof) of the team on the field.
Sophomore QB Trace McSorley on the other hand was not widely projected to be in this spot at the end of the regular season. He exceeded expectations by a long shot after a bit of a slow start, proving that he has the intangibles to make up for a smaller-stature than your prototypical Quarterback. Throwing for just under 3000 yards, while rushing for 372 more, Trace got more comfortable as the season went on. After throwing 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions while being sacked 11 times in the month of September, McSorley went through October and November with 16 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, and was sacked just 10 times.
Barkley and McSorley were also honored by the media voting, as were TE Mike Gesicki and WR Chris Godwin. I have to think if there weren’t so many weapons to spread it around to on offense, these two would have had more impressive stat-lines and garnered higher honors.
After back-to-back seasons where the much-hyped Gesicki struggled to break out, he finally did. The junior who caught 24 passes for 239 yards and 1 td in his first two seasons, caught 44 for 610 yards and 3td’s this year.
Chris Godwin wasn’t able to match his 1000+ yard performance from last year, but as I said, the number of other options for McSorley to target had as much to do with this as anything. Still, the junior caught 47 passes for 762 yards and 9td’s while averaging 16.2 yards per catch!