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Penn State Football: McSorley Had 1,341 Runs & Passes; Why Not One More?

by on September 30, 2018 11:30 AM

Trace McSorley is Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady.

Montana and Gretzky. DiMaggio.

LeBron and MJ.

Against Ohio State, Penn State’s offense ran off 76 plays — 57 with the ball in McSorley’s hands (run or pass).

On those plays, he gained a record 461 yards — the most by any single player in any single one of Penn State’s 1,312 football games over 132 seasons, dating back to 1887.

He ran 25 times against the Buckeyes, netting 175 yards.

He passed the ball 32 times, with 16 completions for 286 yards. (And let’s say that five more balls coulda, maybe shoulda been caught.)

That’s 8.08 yards every time McSorley passed or ran the ball against Urban Meyer & Co.

The last time McSorley carried the ball came on the last play before the Time Out, Time Out, Time Out. (It went for 9 yards.)

That’s 57 of 76 plays. The other 19 plays, Penn State gained 31 yards. That’s 1.6 yards per touch.

Miles Sanders ran the ball for 43 yards of those yards. Up until Fourth And Five, when he lost 2 yards, his carries went for, in order (first quarter) 3, 2, 3, 0, 3, (second quarter) -3, 10, 5, 0, 8, (third quarter) -3, 12, (fourth quarter) 2, 2, 1. Counting a lost fumble, it was not his best of nights; give Ohio State credit.

Tommy Stevens had the other three carries for -12 yards.


What happened to dance with who brung you?

Yes, hindsight is 20/20. But I know this. And you know this. So do the 110,889 who were jammed into Beaver Stadium for the Saturday night Whiteout, as well Herbie, Urban and James:

Trace is a baller. A winner. A stud. Cooler than a cucumber. The Real Deal. And he was. On. A. Roll.

Leading up to that Fourth And Five — which will go into the annals of Penn State football poor lore, along with 6-4 and Guman Up The Middle — McSorley had put together a neat little resume of success:

16-0 as a starter in Beaver Stadium, 81-10 as starting QB in high school and college.

992 pass attempts, 601 completions, 8,418 passing yards, 8.48 yards per attempt.

349 rushes, 1,309 yards, 3.75 yards per attempt (including sacks).

Pretty big sample size.

What was one more?


McSorley is a terrific young man in so many ways and truly humble, as I’ve witnessed countless times on and off the field over the past five years. But McSorley is also supremely confident, as his Twitter profile — which, like Trace, hasn't changed since the day he was named Penn State's starting QB — affirms:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

He literally wears his beliefs — in himself and God — on his sleeveless muscular arm (I wrote about it in 2016; read it here), with verses from Psalms 23:4 and Phillipians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.”

That verse, Penn State fans of a certain age will remember, was the mantra of former quarterback Todd Blackledge said he repeated over and over to calm his nerves during Penn State’s historic night-time game-winning drive over Nebraska in a crazed Beaver Stadium on Sept. 25, 1982.

Then, as now, the message is the same:

It’s called faith.

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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