Trace McSorley was awesome during Saturday night’s victory over Michigan, overcoming an early interception to score Penn State’s final four touchdowns of the evening. As a special reward, he’s been named the Walter Camp National Player of the Week. Although eight Nittany Lions have won the award in the past, McSorley is the first to do so on offense. Most recently, Brandon Bell was named Player of the Week for his performance against Michigan State last year.
McSorley’s interception late in the first quarter allowed Michigan to get back into the game following two touchdown runs by Saquon Barkley to open the scoring. However, McSorley was a different player in the second half, hitting his targets precisely and finishing with 282 passing yards and 10.8 yards per attempt. One of his best throws of the night was a touchdown pass to Barkley that put the Lions up 35-13 with 13 minutes remaining in the game.
Barkley initially bobbled the perfectly-timed strike, but he reeled it in to send Beaver Stadium into a frenzy. When he wasn’t tearing up Michigan’s secondary, McSorley was taking advantage of all the attention that Barkley attracted in the ground game. With so many Wolverines focused on stopping the Heisman candidate, McSorley rushed for 76 yards on just 11 carries, which resulted in three rushing touchdowns.
That made the junior the first Penn State quarterback since at least 1982 with three rushing touchdowns in a single game. McSorley has also thrown for a touchdown in 22 straight games, a streak that dates back to the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl. Only Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma has a longer active streak in FBS.
When McSorley plays like he did on Saturday night, the Penn State offense is almost impossible to stop. From exploiting mismatches in the secondary to deciding when to keep the ball and when to hand to Barkley, McSorley knew exactly what to do in order to get the Lions in the end zone against one of the nation’s top defenses. He’ll face an even stiffer test this Saturday at Ohio State, but thanks to this performance, McSorley won’t be lacking for confidence.