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Penn State Football: Perfect Or Not, McSorley Drives The Engine

by on September 24, 2017 2:25 AM

IOWA CITY, IOWA — It says a lot about what Trace McSorley can do that what he has done in parts of 2017 has been met with such scrutiny.

Objectively, McSorley has not been as sharp in areas he was just 12 months ago. Some of that is him, some of it is the lack of Chris Godwin, whose hands were nothing short of elite. Where Brandon Polk sees the ball go through his arms on a key fourth down Saturday, Godwin likely catches that pass. Some of that is pass protection which has been plenty up-and-down in its own right this year.

And on some level McSorley was bound to regress to more modest results when it comes to the downfield passing attack that succeeded nearly at-will a season ago. 

What can't be disputed is his importance to Penn State's offense and Penn State's success as a team. Take for example a certain 80-yard game winning drive.

"Trace is unbelievable both on and off the field. Being a leader of our offense and being our quarterback and being the guy who makes us go. I don't think he could ever be appreciated enough, honestly." tight end Mike Gesicki said on Saturday. "The guys in our locker room, the coaches, they know what we do. But nobody will understand the time and preparation and ton of reads he has to make. There is tons of stuff that goes into it, and he deserves all of the success." 

"Trace, obviously always says that he's a winner that he's tough and that's exactly what he is. He's extremely mentally tough and to play that position for our team, in our conference and all that kind of stuff, you have to be."

Trace is an interesting subject in the story of college football quarterbacks. He is inherently not an NFL style quarterback. It's hard to imagine his size and his style of play equating at the next level. It doesn't mean he won't try and doesn't mean he shouldn't, but there is an unspoken feeling that Trace knows his best years in football might be the ones he is living right now.

But at its core the job of a quarterback is to manage the offense and get the ball to weapons on the field and let them makes plays. And in that light between his toughness, and his rarely occurring mental errors, it's hard to argue that McSorley is anything other than the best man for the job on a Penn State team that has been one of the most successful over the past 12 months.

"This team has no quit," Saquon Barkley said. "When you have Trace McSorley in the backfield that guy is cold blooded, he steps up in big moments."

And when it's all said and done that's the most important thing. And on a night when he wasn't at his best, he also reminded fans why that can change at any moment.

Not to mention, going 31-for-48 and 284 yards isn't a bad night's work.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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