LG&T: McSorley on Record Pace, Leads Penn State to 3-0 StartPosted: Updated:
Senior quarterback Trace McSorley accounted for five touchdowns as No. 11/10 Penn State football totaled 643 yards of total offense in a 63-10 victory over Kent State in non-conference football action Saturday afternoon in front of 106,528 fans at Beaver Stadium.
For the Penn State (3-0) offense, McSorley threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 54 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns. His top target was DeAndre Thompkins, who made four catches for 101 yards, including a diving 40-yard reception in the end zone. On the ground, seven Penn Staters combined for 297 yards with Miles Sanders posting 86 yards on 14 carries, while Mark Allen, Ricky Slade and Johnathan Thomas each rushing for a touchdown.
The Penn State defense held the up-tempo Kent State (1-2) offense to 221 yards, with just 41 yards allowed on the ground. Cam Brown led the unit with seven tackles, while Penn State totaled seven sacks, led by Shareef Miller and Jayson Oweh with 2.0 each. Miller also led the team with 3.0 tackles for loss.
The Nittany Lion offense tallied its first touchdown of the afternoon with 12:51 left in the first quarter of play when McSorley hit Thompkins for a 40-yard touchdown pass. Kent State then tied the game at 7-7 on a 47-yard touchdown pass from Woody Barrett to Mike Carrigan on the ensuing drive, but Penn State went on to outscore Kent State, 56-3, down the stretch to secure the win.
A pair of freshmen secured the longest play from scrimmage in Penn State history in the fourth quarter, as quarterback Sean Clifford found a wide-open Daniel George for a 95-yard touchdown reception.
Keys and Difference Makers
Trace McSorley (Penn State, QB)
McSorley was responsible for five touchdowns, throwing for two and rushing for three in just three quarters of work. He completed 11-of-22 pass attempts for 229 yards, marking the 24th time he has surpassed 200 yards passing in a game to extend his Penn State record. He also extended his FBS-best and school-record streak of consecutive games with a passing touchdown to 31.
With 54 rushing yards on the day, McSorley now has 1,042 yards on his career, becoming the 44th Nittany Lion to pass the 1,000-yard mark and only the second quarterback. McSorley's three rushing touchdowns give him 24 for his career, setting a Penn State record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback.
It was also McSorley's 19th game with both a passing and rushing touchdown (seven in 2016, nine in 2017, three in 2018).
Penn State was able to gain yards in chunks, highlighted by its longest play from scrimmage in history, as quarterback Sean Clifford and Daniel George connected on a 95-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter.
Penn State opened the game with a 19-yard completion to Miles Sanders and following that with a 56-yard touchdown pass that was nullified by a penalty. The latter did not matter though as DeAndre Thompkins made a diving catch in the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown reception for the game's first score.
Kent State was able to answer with a 47-yard touchdown pass though from Woody Barrett to Mike Carrigan. It was the Golden Flashes lone touchdown for the game.
Big runs keyed Penn State's next two scoring drives of the first quarter, as an 18-yard McSorley run with a personal foul penalty tacked on setup the second, and a 19-yard Mark Allen run setup the third.
Kent State left Penn State just 25 seconds on offense, but a 22-yard completion to KJ Hamler moved the Nittany Lions to the 13, from where McSorley would rush into the end zone from 13 yards for a 28-10 halftime lead.
The big plays continued in the second half. A career-long 23-yard reception by freshman tight end Pat Freiermuth moved Penn State into the red zone, setting up an eventual Allen touchdown and a 35-10 lead.
Penn State extended its lead to 42-10 following a two-play scoring drive keyed by a 39-yard reception by Thompkins. Slade rushed into the end zone from just 2 yards out on the following play.
Cam Sullivan-Brown hauled in a 66-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter, but it was wiped away by another holding penalty. Again, it did not matter, as McSorley later connected with Brandon Polk for a career-long 41-yard touchdown reception and a 49-10 lead.
Clifford and George's 95-yard play was not the last big one of the day, as Johnathan Thomas broke free for 69-yard on the game's final drive.
DeAndre Thompkins (Penn State, WR)
Thompkins' 101 yards on the day sent him over the 1,000-yard mark for his career. Thompkins now has 1,017 career receiving yards, becoming the 31st player in program history to reach that mark. The 100-yard effort was the second of his career, joining his 102-yard performance against Michigan State last season.
The Ground Game
Penn State surpassed 200 yards rushing as a team for a sixth consecutive game, totaling a season-high 297 led by Miles Sanders' 86 yards on 14 carries. Penn State scored six rushing touchdowns, with McSorley accounting for three and Mark Allen, Ricky Slade and Johnathan Thomas scoring one each. Allen totaled a career-high 62 yards rushing and Thomas had a career-long 69-yard rush in the fourth quarter and a career-high 84 yards.
KJ Hamler (Penn State, WR/KR)
Hamler again proved to be a big playmaker. Although he was limited to just one catch for 22 yards, he had a 56-yard touchdown wiped off the board by a holding penalty. He helps set up Penn State's final score of the first half with a 52-yard kickoff return and that lone reception with 35 seconds remaining in the first half.
Penn State's return game was strong in the first half, with DeAndre Thompkins returning a pair of punts for 50 yards with a long of 32, and then KJ Hamler's 52-yard kickoff return allowing the Nittany Lions to sneak in a touchdown just before halftime.
Kent State struggled in the punting game, averaging just 36.8 yards on 11 punts, contributing to Penn State's favorable average drive start of its own 36.
For the second game in as many weeks, Penn State shutout its opponent in the second half. The Nittany Lions allowed just 221 total yards, the sixth-fewest yards allowed under Coach James Franklin. Penn State recorded 15 tackles for loss, the most for PSU since recording 15 at Temple in 2015.
Despite a 56-yard touchdown pass to Hamler getting nullified by a holding penalty on the second play of the game, Penn State managed to score on the game's opening drive. The Nittany Lions were forced to punt after the penalty, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave the Lions a second chance, and McSorley delivered with a 40-yard touchdown toss to Thompkins, who made a diving catch in the back of the end zone.
Kent State tied the game with a 47-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Barrett to Carrigan on its ensuing possession, and then recovered an onside kick to keep the ball on offense.
Penn State forced a three-and-out though and McSorley rushed for touchdowns on Penn State's next two offensive possessions for a 21-7 lead.
Kent State slowed the Penn State offense in the second quarter by forcing a punt after an offensive pass interference penalty nullified a 24-yard touchdown pass to Juwan Johnson, forcing a three-and-out, and then intercepting a deflected McSorley pass. Elvis Hines made the pick at the Penn State 33 and returned it to the 7, but the Penn State defense limited the Flashes to a field goal with 35 seconds remaining after not yielding a yard.
Kent State kicked the ensuing kickoff out-of-bounds, but instead of taking the yardage, head coach James Franklin opted to make Kent State kick it off again from 5 yards back. The decision paid off as Hamler returned the kickoff 52 yards to the Kent State 43.
The 25 seconds remaining in half was plenty for McSorley, who completed an 8-yard pass to Thompkins and a 22-yarder to Hamler to advance to the 13. After an incompletion and Kent State timeout, McSorley called his own number again for a 13-yard rush across the goal line, giving Penn State 28-10 lead at the break.
It was all Penn State in the second half. Allen and Slade both rushed for touchdowns before the midpoint of the third quarter, and McSorley connected with Polk on a 41-yard touchdown strike late in the quarter for a 49-10 lead.
George broke open for a 95-yard touchdown pass from Clifford, the longest play in Penn State history, midway through the fourth quarter, and Thomas capped the scoring with a 15-yard touchdown run in the final minutes for the final margin.
Penn State returns to action next Friday night, opening Big Ten play at Illinois. Kickoff is slated for 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT, and the game is set to air nationally on FS1.
A limited number of single game tickets for the 2018 season presented by PSECU are available for the Maryland game. Verified resale tickets are available for all seven home games via ticketmaster.com. With more than 6,300 new season tickets sold, the season ticket allotment for the 2018 season is exhausted. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.NittanyLionClub.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m.
Courtesy: Penn State Athletics Department