Despite Criticism, Trace McSorley Continues To Improve

Trace McSorley is among the engineers behind one of the best offenses in the country. His team is ranked No. 4 in the AP Top 25, and has no indication of slowing down after slugging Indiana 45-14 last Saturday.

Yet, for some reason, McSorley’s play has the Nittany Lion faithful divided, and frankly it makes zero sense. Sure, McSorley’s made some regrettable decisions with the football nearly midway through the season, but he’s responded tremendously when he’s needed most.

Despite a mountain of numerical evidence proving McSorley’s improvement, his critics are still making their voices heard. During his weekly media availability, James Franklin sounded off on the topic, comparing stats from this point during last season to back his words up.

“To be honest with you, it’s not even close,” Franklin said. “Kris [Petersen] mentioned a few things to me that she saw from last year to this year. The first five games, our record was 3-2; right now our record is 5-0. I think the most important stat that you have as a quarterback is wins and losses, and he’s 5-0 compared to 3-2. So I think to me the discussion should end right there, but I will go further.”

Franklin elaborated on his defense of McSorley with proof of his improvement in key quarterback metrics.

“Completion percentage: first five games from last year was 58 percent, and he’s at 65 percent this year,” Franklin said. “If you want to take the last five games of the year last year he was 61 percent. He’s 65 right now in the first five. Touchdown to interception ratio: last year in the first five games he had six touchdowns and three interceptions. Right now he has 12 and four.”

“If you compare it to the first five games of last year, he’s by far ahead,” Franklin said. “I think he’s pretty much better in every metric possible.

His turnover margin is half of what it was in 2016 with four interceptions compared to eight at the end of last season. He’s received plenty of flak, especially during Penn State’s dramatic win over Iowa, when McSorley finished 31-48 for 284 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. The brunt of the criticism stems from his misfires, but here’s something to consider.

McSorley’s pocket was far from clean against the Hawkeyes, as right tackle Will Fries held his own but allowed a fair amount of pressures. Joe Moorhead’s offense also revolves around taking shots, and unfortunately, not every shot taken will result in a completion.

Trace McSorley is the guy at quarterback, no question about it. Sure, the offense hasn’t been sterling, but it’s been remarkably efficient outside Saquon Barkley’s weekly superhuman acts. Franklin’s points on his quarterback are valid; some fans are calling for the head of a quarterback with a completion percentage better than 65 percent — that makes no sense.

So, until the wheels fall off, have faith. Barkley is this offense’s best playmaker, but McSorley is the glue that makes it all possible. The Nittany Lions are on a roll and they don’t need division among its fans.

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About the Author

David Abruzzese

David is a senior from Rochester, NY, nestled right in beautiful Western New York. He is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, and as an avid sports fan, he passionately supports the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. He is the first Penn Stater from his family, and couldn’t be prouder to represent Penn State University. In his free time, he likes to alpine ski, and play golf. You can follow him on Twitter @abruz11, and can contact him via email at [email protected]

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