Nittany Lions rally from 21-point deficit
indianapolis» Trace McSorley threw four touchdown passes Saturday night and No. 8 Penn State stunned No. 6 Wisconsin 38-31, rallying from a 21-point, first-half deficit to claim its first conference title in eight years with the greatest comeback in Big Ten title game history.
Now the East Division champs must wait to see if the selection committee rewards them with one of the four coveted playoff spots Sunday.
“What I know is we just won the toughest conference in college football,” Nittany Lions coach James Franklin said. “It’s on you now, committee.”
If the committee was impressed with the turnaround, it just might give the Nittany Lions (11-2) a chance.
They trailed 28-7 with 5:15 left in the first half, but McSorley led Penn State to touchdowns on each of its next four possessions, finally taking a 35-31 lead on an 18-yard TD pass to Saquon Barkley with 13:41 left in the game. The Nittany Lions never trailed again.
Things looked bleak early, but McSorley repeatedly burned the nation’s No. 3 defense with long passes on a record-breaking night.
McSorley finished 22-of-31 for 384 yards. The yardage and TD passes were both Big Ten championship game records. He also broke the school’s single-season records for yards passing and touchdown passes.
And he wasn’t the only one to have a memorable performance. Saeed Blacknall caught six passes, two for touchdowns, and finished with a championship-game record 155 yards.
Wisconsin (10-3) played without starting quarterback Alex Hornibrook but still jumped to a 28-7 lead behind Corey Clement, who ran 21 times for 164 yards including a 67-yard TD run in the first quarter.
But the Badgers’ usually stout defense allowed a season-high point total and allowed the Nittany Lions to score on each of their last six possessions.