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Trace McSorley Is ‘As Tough As It Gets’

Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley woke up on Saturday morning and ate a bowl of nails for breakfast…without any milk.

“Trace McSorley is the best player in college football,” James Franklin said after the team’s 30-24 win over Iowa. “I don’t care what anyone says, because he is as tough as it gets.”

It’s true — Trace McSorley is an absolute warrior.

McSorley has taken big hits before Saturday’s game against Iowa, as any quarterback has. In fact, I’m still surprised that something terrible didn’t happen when T.J. Watt and two other Wisconsin Badgers hit McSorley all at the same time during the Big Ten Championship game in 2016.

You can see the play at full-speed at the 1:58 mark of the highlights from the game. How McSorley managed to not just remain in that game, but also orchestrate one of the most memorable comebacks in recent years, is beyond me.

Penn State lists McSorley at 6’0″ and 201 pounds. NFL scouts would call that “undersized” for a quarterback, but McSorley more than makes up for that with a combination of skill, speed, and, most importantly, an unrelenting desire to win. 

McSorley suffered a knee injury that forced him to miss a few offensive drives during the Nittany Lions’ victory over Iowa. On a 3rd and 7 play early in the second quarter, McSorley was sacked by a combination of Chauncey Golston and Anthony Nelson. Nelson appeared to wrap No. 9 up by his legs while Golston hit him up top. There clearly wasn’t any dangerous intent in the play, but it did not look good for McSorley, who uncharacteristically stayed down on the field.

The Ashburn, VA native was down for a bit, holding his right knee before Tommy Stevens came into the game. Penn State’s starting quarterback would return to the action in the second quarter before heading to the locker room early before the half ended.

“Trace is a winner, he’s a gamer, and he’s one of the toughest football players I know,” senior captain Nick Scott said after the game. “Trace is Trace McSorley — he’s one of the best competitors that I’ve ever seen in my life. There was no doubt that he was coming back into the game. They would have to strap him down in a chair not to play.”

McSorley did, of course, come back into the game, and he even broke off a 51-yard rushing touchdown to give Penn State a 24-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

McSorley is typically pretty candid after games when talking to the press, but his post-game interview with Todd McShay was something entirely different. The quarterback was clearly emotional while talking about the impact that his dad had on his ability to get back into the game.

“He just told me that he loved me, you know, keep pushing. He knew I had it in me,” McSorley said. “At that point, I just needed those words from him. He’s my rock and I love everything he does for me, so for him to say that at that time, I really needed that.”

McSorley is simply unlike many other quarterbacks. I have no recollection of him ever missing a drive outside of garbage time before this weekend and, even when he does get hurt, his desire to get back onto the field is unmatched.

Penn State’s quarterback is one win away from tying the program record for wins at his position. McSorley leaves absolutely everything on the field and isn’t afraid to put his body on the line, carrying the ball 110 times already this season.

Standing out for toughness in a sport like football is quite the accomplishment. McSorley is truly as tough as they come.

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About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a senior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected].

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