It didn’t take long for Penn State fans to figure out what they had in Trace McSorley. While he doesn’t look the part of a record-setting, dual-threat Big Ten quarterback, McSorley continues to leave no doubt he’s perhaps college football’s best player, and the best quarterback to ever suit up for the Nittany Lions.
In what looks to be the most impactful college football game of the regular season, McSorley shined on the largest stage imaginable. In a game where Penn State tried to move into the upper-echelon of the college football elite, McSorley nearly willed the team to victory despite the occasional mishap around him that comes with an inexperienced team. If Penn State hangs on to win, it would go down as an all-time performance that lives on forever in program lore. With a win, there’s a good chance he’s also the Heisman frontrunner heading towards the midseason mark.
Yet despite the loss, it’s a performance that deserves to be remembered by Heisman voters in late November, as well as blue and white-clad faithful well after McSorley hangs up his cleats, and becomes a massively successful coach, or attorney, or CEO, or whatever he decides to do where he will undoubtedly climb to the top of his profession.
Against an Ohio State defense stacked with nothing but blue-chippers, McSorley gained 461 yards- the most productive performance in Penn State history. He tossed for 286 yards and two scores, and those numbers were hindered by several, and I mean several, bad drops. He ran for an unbelievably 175 yards, averaging seven yards with each attempt. Despite constant heavy pressure, he managed to make snap decisions and make plays with his arms and legs all night long. It seemed that he was always one step ahead of the Buckeyes defense, and knew what needed to be done to move the ball down the field.
In the end, it wasn’t enough to ensure the victory, as yet another late rally from the Buckeyes offense led to a heartbreaking, one-point defeat. But he gave it his all, and proved he’s the heartbeat of this program that is building towards something special. There’s a lot of football to be played yet, and anything can still happen. Whenever Penn State finally gets over that hump, there will be no single player more responsible than #9. McSorley will be on a mission to try to make that still happen during his final season in Happy Valley.