McSor­ley shows grit with TD run af­ter in­jury

Centre Daily Times (Sunday) - - Sports - BY JOSH MOYER jmoyer@cen­tredaily.com

Im­me­di­ately, min­utes fol­low­ing ev­ery Penn State game, we’ll take a closer look at one play from each game. You can find our more indepth sto­ries af­ter speak­ing with coaches and play­ers on cen­tredaily.com.

If you’re look­ing for a play that sums up one of Penn State’s great­est quar­ter­backs, you just found it.

Trace McSor­ley will leave the pro­gram with a rep­u­ta­tion as a gutty, gritty leader who never quit. And his 51-yard touch­down run in the third quar­ter of the 30-24 win over Iowa is the epit­ome of that.

We’ll get to that play in it­self in a mo­ment. But, first, you’ve re­ally got to know the back­ground here: McSor­ley went down hard in the sec­ond quar­ter with a lower-leg in­jury, one that caused him to miss two of­fen­sive se­ries and to head for the tun­nel a minute be­fore half­time.

The pain was clearly painted on his face. Still, train­ers tried to help him off the field, but he shooed them away and walked him­self. He tried to loosen up his leg on the side­line, even as one for­mer NFL doc­tor said on Twit­ter that he suf­fered a pos­si­ble MCL sprain in his right knee — which would limit his lat­eral move­ment.

Penn State na­tion wasn’t sure whether McSor­ley would re­turn at an ef­fec­tive level, or whether it’d be bet­ter to just play backup Tommy Stevens. But McSor­ley didn’t take long to show he and the Nit­tany Lions would be just fine.

On third-and-2, just 2:38 into the sec­ond half with a tied 17-17 score, McSor­ley lined up next to run­ning back Miles San­ders in the shot­gun. Right be­fore the snap, on the ABC broad­cast, com­men­ta­tor Steve Levy told the lis­ten­ing au­di­ence, “Iowa’s de­fense knows, too, that McSor­ley can’t run, let’s say, the way he did a week ago.”

McSor­ley made him eat his words within sec­onds.

The red­shirt se­nior dropped back for a mo­ment to sell the pass, then sprinted for­ward to­ward an open­ing on his left. He avoided Iowa de­fen­sive end An­thony Nel­son near the line of scrim­mage, cut to the side­line and re­ceived a great block by De­An­dre Thomp­kins.

He was un­touched for a 51-yard touch­down run — one that gave Penn State its first lead of the game. The Nit­tany Lions hit a 49-yard field goal later in the quar­ter and never looked back.

Some didn’t ex­pect McSor­ley to re­turn to the game. Most thought he would at least be lim­ited. Both ended up be­ing wrong.

McSor­ley proved just why he’s one of Penn State’s best. Count him out — and he’ll make you pay, just like he did Iowa.

PHO­TOS BY ABBY DREY adrey@cen­tredaily.com

Penn State quar­ter­back Trace McSor­ley runs 51 yards for a touch­down in the third quar­ter against Iowa.

LEFT: Penn State quar­ter­back Trace McSor­ley gets helped off the field af­ter in­jur­ing his leg dur­ing the sec­ond quar­ter against Iowa on Satur­day. He would miss two of­fen­sive se­ries be­fore re­turn­ing af­ter half­time.

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