Player Spotlight: Trace McSorley
For the past two seasons, Trace McSorley lived in the shadow of Saquon Barkley. Everybody knew who wore the number 26 for the Nittany Lions. Not as many people knew about the guy who was running the offense, but it can be argued that he was just as important to the reemergence of the Penn State football program as Barkley was. Aidan Bitterman has the story:
McSorley made his name known to Nittany Lion fans when he replaced Christian Hackenberg in the 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl. The then-sophomore quarterback took over trailing 24-3 and almost led his team to a comeback victory. The Nittany Lions would eventually lose that game 24-17 against Georgia.
He was not handed the starting job after that game though. He had to win a quarterback competition and was eventually named the starter on his birthday, August 24, of 2016.
McSorley has not looked back since. The TaxSlayer Bowl was the first of 34 consecutive games that he threw a touchdown pass, a streak that was snapped last weekend at Indiana.
He now holds just about every single quarterback record there is to hold at Penn State. He holds the record for passing yards in a single season, career passing touchdowns, touchdown passes in a single season, yards of total offense, yards of total offense in a single game, yards of total offense in a single season, total touchdowns and total touchdowns in a single season. He also has the highest completion percentage and passer efficiency and is third all-time in touchdowns responsible for in the Big Ten, behind only JT Barrett and Drew Brees.
He played a key role in the program’s Big Ten title season and won MVP of the Big Ten title game. He also won offensive MVP after the team defeated Washington last season in the 2018 Fiesta Bowl.
McSorley has not had the incredible season people expected him to though. Many considered him to be a Heisman Trophy candidate and even a favorite to win the award. It doesn’t seem like that is going to happen anymore, but that is not completely to his fault.
His receivers have already committed 24 drops this season, costing him a handful of touchdowns and have made a big dent in his completion percentage.
There is no doubt that McSorley is the face of this Nittany Lion program. He does not have a ton of games left to play in a Penn State uniform, but he has certainly made a case for being the greatest quarterback in school history.
Aidan Bitterman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.