McSor­ley has PSU on verge of East ti­tle

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS - By Travis Johnson

Hav­ing played against Trace McSor­ley in high school, Derek Dowrey re­mem­bers one thing about the shifty quar­ter­back with the de­cep­tively strong arm he now blocks for ev­ery Satur­day.

“I just know that he torched us, ba­si­cally,” Dowrey said.

Bol­stered by smart de­ci­sion mak­ing, timely deep balls, quick feet and aware­ness to use them, the dual-threat quar­ter­back has helped No. 8 Penn State do the same to the rest of the Big Ten all sea­son. As a result, Penn State (92, 7-1 Big Ten, No. 7 CFP) is set for its big­gest game in nearly a decade and will face Michi­gan State (3-8, 1-7) in the reg­u­lar sea­son fi­nale Satur­day with a Big Ten cham­pi­onship, and pos­si­bly more, on the line.

Penn State would win the Big Ten East with a vic­tory and a Michi­gan loss to Ohio State.

The fact that McSor­ley is just 256 yards from break­ing his pro­gram’s sin­gle-sea­son yardage record (3,215) with the stakes this high is no co­in­ci­dence.

He’s ac­counted for an av­er­age of 283 to­tal yards per game dur­ing Penn State’s seven-game win­ning streak and 17 to­tal touch­downs. He’s tossed just two in­ter­cep­tions in that span.

His quiet, calm de­meanor has been cel­e­brated again and again by his team­mates and coaches.

“He’s pretty much been who we thought he was go­ing to be,” Penn State coach James Franklin said. “But I will tell you that’s typ­i­cally not the case, I mean, for all of us. In any in­dus­try, any re­la­tion­ship, you go in think­ing you know some­body pretty well. Very rarely do they play out to be the per­son that you thought they were.”

The Spar­tans, mean­while, are a team in tran­si­tion. Af­ter win­ning two of the last three Big Ten ti­tles, Michi­gan State’s sea­son will end with­out a bowl game for the first time since 2006.

“Our goals are to fin­ish much like we’ve al­ways tried to do, com­plete a cir­cle, fin­ish with a ‘W,”’ Michi­gan State coach Mark Dan­to­nio said. “I think that makes a big dif­fer­ence in ev­ery foot­ball sea­son. How you end that sea­son re­ally sets you up or plateaus you, or what­ever the case.”

MEL EVANS — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Penn State quar­ter­back Trace McSor­ley (9) tries to get away from Rut­gers line­backer Deonte Roberts (26) Satur­day in Pis­cat­away, N.J.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.