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McSorley One Win Away from Record for Penn State Starting Quarterbacks, Talks Injuries

by on October 28, 2018 6:00 PM

Trace McSorley is one victory away from tying the record for most all-time wins by a Penn State starting quarterback.

Or is that Trace McSore-ly, given his knee injury that temporarily sidelined him on Saturday vs. Iowa?

Either way, the Nittany Lions’ 30-24 win over Iowa in Beaver Stadium was the fifth-year quarterback’s 28th victory as a starter.

That puts behind him only behind only Todd Blackledge, Chuck Fusina and Tony Sacca — each at 29 wins — on the all-time list in the 132-year history of Penn State football.

As a starter since the season-opener in 2016, McSorley has led Penn State to records of 11-3, 11-2 and 6-2. That equates to a career record of 28-7, to complement his high school record of 55-5 as a starting quarterback.

“Trace McSorley is the best football player in college football,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said Saturday night. “I do not care what anyone says because he is as tough as it gets.”

Blackledge led Penn State to its first national championship in 1982, and as a starter he was 29-4, with records of 8-1, 10-2, and 11-2 from 1980-82. Fusina, who led Penn State to its first-ever No. 1 regular-season ranking in 1978 and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up that season, was 29-3 as a starter, going 7-1, 11-1 and 11-1 as a starter from 1976-78. 

Sacca, who holds the record for most career starts by a Penn State quarterback at 40, was 29-10-1 as a PSU starting QB from 1998-91, with records of 2-3, 7-2-1, 9-3 and 11-2.

McSorley has 35 starts of the Nittany Lions, with four regular season games (at Michigan on Saturday, followed by Wisconsin, Rutgers and Maryland) and a bowl game remaining. No. 2 behind Sacca is Christian Hackenberg, with 38 starts — 12 in 2013 under head coach Bill O’Brien, then 13 under Franklin in both 2014 and ’15.

McSorley missed extended action on Saturday vs. Iowa, his longest time out of the lineup since he assumed the starting reins for the Sept. 3, 2016 season-opener against Kent State in Beaver Stadium — a 33-13 victory, when he was 16 of 31 passing for 209 yards, and had 14 carries for 47 yards.

He now has a Penn State-record 8,997 yards passing and 1,516 yards rushing, for a Nittany Lion career record 10,513 yards of total offense. That ranks him No. 11 all-time in the Big Ten, but he’s just 1,278 yards from vaulting to 11,791 yards, which would place him No. 3 all-time among Big Ten total offense career leaders, trailing only a pair of quarterbacks, Purdue’s Drew Brees (12,692 yards) and Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett (12,697).


Speaking of McSore-ly:

On the final question of last Tuesday’s press conference in Beaver Stadium featuring Franklin, Amani Oruwariye and McSorley, I asked the quarterback about his ability to avoid injury.

It should provide some insight into his preparations this week for Penn State’s game on Saturday against fifth-ranked, 7-1 Michigan. (Penn State is No. 14 and 6-2.)

The exchange:

Question: You've carried the ball 401 times and thrown over 1,000 passes,  and it looks like you've never been hurt. What's the secret to that?

McSorley: “If there was a secret, I’d tell you. I don’t really know as far as the secret to it. I think it is just kind of one of those things that when you’re running the ball that much and throwing and kind of being involved in the game as much is just taking care of your body outside of football.

“Nutrition is a big part of it. Getting enough sleep. If you need to get treatment, getting treatment. Kind of being able to understand the beating that your body takes through the course of a season and understanding that you need to be able to come in, get extra time stretching at night or whatever it might be. Doing anything you can outside of football, outside of practice to be able to keep your body in good shape and investing in your body to be able to make sure that you can come in and take that kind of load.

“I guess that’s something that if there’s any sort of secret out there, I guess that would be it — just investing in your body outside of practice and outside of everything that you're doing on the field.”

Mike Poorman has covered Penn State football since 1979, and for since the 2009 season. His column appears on Mondays and Fridays. Follow him on Twitter at His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.
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