McSorley shows grit with TD run after injury
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.
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.