It’s a scene we’ve witnessed over and over in 2018- Trace McSorley going down in what appears to be an injury serious enough to sideline him for at least the remainder of the afternoon, only to see him strap on his helmet and return to action like nothing happened.
It was only appropriate that this scenario played out once again at the Citrus Bowl in McSorley’s final game as a Nittany Lion. He shook off an injury early in the game, but didn’t look right. He was clearly limping on the sideline, and it looked like it was going to be Sean Clifford behind center the rest of the game in his first legitimate game action- an ironic throwback to McSorley’s first meaningful action in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl, where he came off the bench following Christian Hackenberg’s early injury.
Things were not looking good. As Penn State headed into the fourth quarter, most fans were just hoping not to see the rout extended and suffer an embarrassing loss. The Nittany Lions were down 27-7 entering the final stanza as it appeared the season was going to come crashing down with a loss that would sting until the start of the 2019 season.
But as we’ve learned, there’s always hope when #9 is on the field. Suddenly, a hobbled McSorley looked to be at his best, hitting receivers with precision passes and slicing through the Kentucky defense with big gains on the ground.
Unfortunately, McSorley didn’t get a real chance to complete the comeback after bringing Penn State within a field goal after scoring 17 unanswered points. While the loss stings, it gave us one final memory of McSorley being the ultimate leader and leaving every last ounce of effort on the field.
LB Micah Parsons- It’s easy to see that the game has slowed down for Parsons as he learned on the fly during his true freshman season. Penn State’s prized recruit of 2018 finished with a team-high 13 tackles and also forced a fumble. It will be on like Donkey Kong in 2019 as Parsons readies to be a one-man wrecking crew.
S Garrett Taylor- You can make a solid argument that Taylor was the most improved non-freshman over the course of the 2018 season. He was all over the field on Tuesday, finishing with 10 tackles. Fortunately he’ll be back next fall to provide some senior leadership in the secondary.
DT Kevin Givens- Givens was his usual disruptive self in his last game as a Nittany Lion, contributing two sacks.