Picks for MVPs and ‘big­gest head-scratcher’ in PSU wrap up

Centre Daily Times - - Front Page - BY JOSH MOYER AND JOHN MCGONIGAL [email protected]­tredaily.com jm­c­go­ni­[email protected]­tredaily.com [email protected]­tredaily.com

Penn State’s reg­u­lar sea­son is in the books, and the team’s eyes are now on the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl against Ken­tucky. So we thought this would be the per­fect time to look back on the sea­son — and hand out our sea­son awards, like “Big­gest head-scratcher” and “Of­fen­sive MVP.”

OF­FEN­SIVE MVP: QB TRACE MCSOR­LEY

Sta­tis­ti­cally, this may have been McSor­ley’s worst sea­son of the past three — but there’s no de­bat­ing his value to this team. At worst, he was still the sec­ond-best sig­nal­caller in the con­fer­ence in 2018.

He guided come­backs against Ap­palachian State, In­di­ana and Iowa. And he re­ceived uni­ver­sal praise from op­pos­ing coaches for his lead­er­ship and grit. Against Iowa, for ex­am­ple, in the same breath ABC broad­caster Steve Levy said the Hawkeyes knew an in­jured McSor­ley couldn’t run, he took off for a 51yard rush­ing score. That counts for some­thing — as do 27 to­tal TDs and 3,000plus rush­ing/pass­ing yards.

DE­FEN­SIVE MVP: DE YETUR GROSS-MATOS

Sha­reef Miller fought through dou­ble teams and Shaka Toney proved to be more than just a sack artist, but it was Yetur GrossMatos — a first-year starter — who led Penn State’s fright­en­ing de­fen­sive line.

The freak­ish 6-foot-5 sopho­more racked up 20 tack­les for loss (sec­ond in the Big Ten) and eight sacks. Six­teen of those TFLs came in Penn State’s fi­nal seven games.

De­spite be­ing snubbed by the coaches, GrossMatos was named a first­team All-Big Ten se­lec­tion by the me­dia, and right­fully so. He out­pro­duced Michi­gan’s Chase Wi­novich and Rashan Gary. And on a na­tional scale, GrossMatos’ 20 TFLs ranked eighth, ahead of Clem­son’s Clelin Fer­rell, Alabama’s Quin­nen Wil­liams and Florida State’s Brian Burns — all of whom will be firstround picks come April.

Gross-Matos set him­self up to be in that cat­e­gory in 2019.

TRUE FRESH­MAN OF THE YEAR: LB MICAH PAR­SONS

Tight end Pat Freier­muth de­serves a big shout-out here, but this one wasn’t close. Par­sons made some truly in­cred­i­ble side­line-to-

side­line tack­les. And no one’s growth and progress was more ev­i­dent through­out the sea­son than the Har­ris­burg na­tive.

It says quite a bit that Par­sons leads the team in tack­les (69) when it took him sev­eral weeks to earn a ma­jor­ity of the snaps. It’s unique for a fresh­man to show flashes of dom­i­nance like Par­sons has ... but Par­sons is a unique ath­lete. He should be a fresh­man All-Amer­i­can.

ABBY DREY

Penn State se­niors Amani Oruwariye, Nick Scott, Mark Allen, Trace McSor­ley, Koa Farmer and Johnathan Thomas laugh last month as they take a lap around Beaver Sta­dium.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.