As Penn State’s number one wideout and Trace McSorley’s go-to-guy, Chris Godwin had a breakout season in 2016, and was a huge part of the Nittany Lions’ success.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound recruit came to Penn State as a four-star from Middletown, Delaware and as the no. 25 wide receiver in the country.
Godwin began his PSU career his freshman season in 2014 with starts in three games, and appearances in all 13 games, culminating in what was considered his breakout performance in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. Godwin’s career-long 72 yard touchdown catch in the Penn State win over Boston College tied for the longest passing play in Penn State bowl history. (The other 72-yard touchdown catch in Penn State bowl history was from Tom Shuman to Chuck Herd in the 1974 Orange Bowl.)
Seems like Godwin was pretty comfortable with deep sideline catches in high-pressure bowl games.
Fast forward two years later, when somehow Chris Godwin pulled it off again.
In the January 2, 2017 Rose Bowl Game against the University of Southern California, history repeated itself.
This time it was with quarterback Trace McSorley who, with 11 minutes to go in the third quarter, looked far downfield, backed up and threw deep to Godwin, who was tightly covered by USC corner Iman Marshall. The ball was tipped by Marshall, but Godwin, jumped up to reach the bobbling ball, dangerously close to the sideline, juggled it for a few scary seconds before securing it, then twisted around, easily recovered his stride, and jogged unmatched into the end zone.
Godwin’s career-long 72 yard touchdown catch, his second score of the game, jumped Penn State ahead of USC 35-27, changed the momentum of the game, and put Godwin in the record books as catching two of the three longest passes in Penn State bowl game history.
Further showcasing Godwin’s talent was this Velcro-like, one-handed, behind-the-back catch for the first down, leading viewers to wonder if he had used the Force or slathered sticky glue on his hands:
Incredibly, as reporters later discovered during NFL Combine interviews, Godwin had the game of his career after being sick with a stomach bug the entire night before the Rose Bowl game. With nine receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns in the Rose Bowl, just imagine the damage he would have done to USC if he’d been 100% on game day.
Chris Godwin finished the season with 59 catches (sixth-most in PSU history) for 982 yards (sixth), with 11 touchdowns (tied for second). Godwin now ranks as one of the top receivers in Penn State history. As a third round draft pick for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Godwin is sure to have many more plays like these in the NFL.