Nit­tany Lions rally from 21-point deficit

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Michael Marot

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.

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