Following Penn State’s 35-6 win over Rutgers, quarterback Trace McSorley saw his name atop another prestigious list. He’s now the school’s all-time leader in touchdowns responsible for with 68.
Defying the odds has been a theme throughout McSorley’s career, but he continues to make the extraordinary look pedestrian. The Ashburn, Va., native finished with three total touchdowns against the Scarlet Knights, while leading Penn State in rushing with 44 yards on the ground.
“I think we’re always at our best on offense when Trace factors into our running game and keeps people honest and on their toes,” James Franklin said postgame.
Outside of Michael Robinson, who tallied 1,637 rushing yards in college, one can make the argument that McSorley is perhaps Penn State’s most elusive runner at the quarterback position. He doesn’t bowl you over like Robinson, but McSorley has an innate ability to find the first-down marker and then some.
The 6-footer has racked up 757 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns with his feet during his time at Penn State. His 20-yard score to put the Nittany Lions on the board Saturday propelled the offense to an impressive showing versus Rutgers.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Mike Gesicki tied Jesse James for the most touchdowns by a Penn State tight end in program history with 11. After the game, he praised McSorley for getting the offense back on track.
“Trace pulled it and ran it in for a touchdown and we scored in [under]two minutes,” Gesicki said. “That was a productive drive for us, kinda got us rolling, and then from there we got our groove back.”
McSorley’s decision making has improved in his second full season leading the Nittany Lions, which has translated into a much better completion percentage. He completed 76 percent of his throws against Rutgers (16 of 21) and spread the ball around to six different receivers.
“It all goes back to 9 and how he’s distributing the ball. He’s done a great job for us,” Gesicki said.
As a captain and vocal leader on this team, McSorley knows that he has to show his younger teammates the proper way to take care of one’s body down the stretch. His toughness on Saturdays comes largely as a result of making sure he’s prepared for the hits he’ll take.
“Bumps, bruises, scrapes — that’s something that just comes with it. You’ll wake up and be sore in places you’ve never been sore before. But like I said, that’s football in November.”
McSorley said Penn State’s training staff has been huge in helping him prepare for whatever comes his way. Whether it’s rolling out his muscles before and after practice or making use of the hot and cold tubs, he has everything he needs to be ready when it’s game time.
McSorley also took a moment to reflect on how special it is to keep breaking all these records. He’s thrown a touchdown pass in 25 straight games and is now in third place on the program’s passing yardage list behind only Christian Hackenberg and Zack Mills.
“When you come to a place like this, you come here to compete. You dream of having success and that’s the vision you have,” McSorley said. “All the great players who have been through this program over the years, all the great tradition we have, to have my name in that conversation is an honor.”