Penn State QB Trace McSorley determined to cut down on mistakes

Penn State QB Trace McSorley determined to cut down on mistakes

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley has spent a lot of time this winter thinking about one pass from last season -- his final toss.

That late-game interception set up USC's Rose Bowl-winning field goal and set McSorley on a path to improve his in-game judgment.

"That's probably the biggest takeaway from that throw," McSorley told The Associated Press. "Feeling that line between aggressive and reckless. Toward the end of the year we were real aggressive and we had a lot of success being aggressive, but being able to handle that aggressiveness and success, knowing that even though it had been there probably the past five or six times, doesn't mean it's going to be there the next time."

McSorley spent the last few months poring over game film and picking apart his own mistakes, preparing to take on more responsibility in offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead's no-huddle, line-up-then-match-up attack. Penn State returns every offensive player except for top wideout Chris Godwin and center Brian Gaia from last season's Big Ten championship squad, and McSorley is determined to make good on his offseason preparation.

"We know we have so many weapons on the outside," McSorley said. "We've definitely got a ton of potential and I'm excited to see the kind of fun we can have in year two."

After the Rose Bowl, McSorley spent a few days in the Los Angeles area visiting family before heading back to campus. In Happy Valley, he sat with Moorhead for long sessions examining all the deep plays that made Penn State's offense one of the most dangerous.

McSorley tied for second in the country with 23 passing plays of 40 yards or more and threw 38 passes of 30 yards or more, opening up space for dynamic running back Saquon Barkley by forcing cornerbacks and safeties to play on their heels. McSorley added seven rushing touchdowns, threw for 29 and threw just eight interceptions.

He set single-season school records for passing yards, passing touchdowns and total yards and led Penn State to a comeback win in the Big Ten championship game. He did so largely with his willingness to test secondaries, relying on a talented wideout corps including NFL-bound Godwin and rangy tight end Mike Gesicki to battle for deep balls.

"Trace is definitely a crazy, crazy quarterback," safety Marcus Allen said. "He does whatever he wants out there and he can handle it. He has unbelievable IQ as a quarterback."

Now he's going to try to be smarter about the chances he takes.

He's learned to see that many of the deep balls he threw were not only chances for his receivers but opportunities for defenders. If he had them to make again, he'd look elsewhere -- avoid making deep throws into coverage like the passes that sealed losses to Pitt and USC.

"All right, we had the deep shot called down the field," McSorley said. "Didn't get what we wanted so there's no use in forcing it. Find a checkdown, or maybe try and scramble around and have someone pop open, or gain some yards with my legs or throw it away."

A handful of practices into spring ball, Penn State coach James Franklin has noticed this more cerebral approach from his quarterback. McSorley's reads at the line of scrimmage have been clearer, and Franklin believes they'll help him eliminate some of the unnecessary swashbuckling.

"He's just a lot more comfortable and confident," Franklin said. "You look at his touchdown to interception ratio, it was really good. But when he had interceptions, they came in bunches. We've got to cut that down. You cut his interceptions down in half, we're in a really, really good situation."

Penn State commit arrested for armed robbery of Wawa

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AP Images

Penn State commit arrested for armed robbery of Wawa

This post appeared on College Football Talk on Saturday

Or will that be former Penn State recruit?

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Isheem Young was one of three individuals arrested Friday in connection with the armed robbery of a Wawa convenience store in South Philadelphia this past summer. One of the two alleged accomplices is Young’s brother, the manager of the store that was robbed, while the other an unnamed getaway driver.

The Inquirer reports that the 18-year-old Young is facing charges of robbery, conspiracy, firearms violations and related offenses. He is currently being held in lieu of a $150,000 bond.

It’s alleged that Young and his partners in crime made off with $13,600 in cash from the store’s safe. A police report stated that Young entered the store armed with a black revolver and committed the robbery.

Young committed to play his college football at Penn State in mid-July; two weeks later is when he allegedly committed the crime. He was 17 years old when the incident happened.

A four-star 2018 recruit, he’s rated as the No. 12 safety in the country, the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Pennsylvania and the No. 151 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.

The new early-signing period for college football, incidentally, kicks off in less than three weeks.

Penn State can't get by Khalil Iverson, Wisconsin

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USA Today Images

Penn State can't get by Khalil Iverson, Wisconsin

BOX SCORE

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The last 48 hours weren't easy for the Wisconsin Badgers who had all day Sunday plus a long flight into Happy Valley on Monday to stew over their worst home loss in nearly a decade.

Penn State nearly extended that misery, but a potential go-ahead 3-pointer by Tony Carr bounced off the rim with two seconds to play and the Badgers held on for a 64-63 win.

"It's nice to see a bounce back and look like a Wisconsin team should look," Badgers coach Greg Gard said.

Khalil Iverson scored 14 of his 16 points in the first half, Nate Reuvers added 11 points and Ethan Happ grabbed 10 rebounds for the Badgers (4-5, 1-1 Big Ten), who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Mike Watkins scored a career-high 22 points for the Nittany Lions (7-3, 1-1 Big Ten) who battled back from a 17-point deficit with 9:40 to play. Carr added 16 points and Shep Garner made 13 for the Nittany Lions who were trying for their first 2-0 start in conference play since 2007.

Penn State played its third game, and first at home, in six days and struggled to shoot the ball for most of the night. The Nittany Lions made just 9 of 26 field goals in the first half, trailed 31-25 at halftime and were just 3-for-21 over the final 1:50 of the first and the first 10 minutes of the second.

"We dug a little deeper because we looked very sluggish in the first half," Penn State coach Patrick Chambers said.

The Badgers led 51-36 with 9:40 to play, but Garner drained back-to-back jumpers shortly thereafter to spark a 21-9 run that cut Wisconsin's lead to 60-57 with 1:53 left.

A pair of Garner free throws with less than a minute to play made it a one-point game before the teams traded free throws over the final 43 seconds. D'Mitrik Trice closed it out at the line on 4-of-4 shooting for the Badgers.

"I knew we'd have to be really dialed-in and gritty and persevere," Gard said. "I expected the whole game to be like the last four minutes and fortunately we were able to make enough plays and get enough stops to hang on."

Built Ford tough
Carr got his shot after forward Aleem Ford bounced the game's final free throw off the rim on the other end of the floor. He didn't get another chance thanks in part to Ford's hustle to get back on defense.

When Carr's shot rang off the rim, it took a bounce toward a Penn State player in the corner. Ford grabbed hold of the ball to force a jump ball and prevent the Nittany Lions from getting any kind of chance.

Ford's late recovery came in the absence of usual post presences Happ and Davison, who both had fouled out.

"He really hustled for that loose ball," Gard said. "There were a lot of winning plays, so to speak that were made. "We need to make better decisions down the stretch so that it doesn't get to that point."

Trusting Carr
Chambers had no issue with Carr, who was just 5-for-22 from the field, pulling up for the final 3-pointer even though Penn State's crafty point guard might've had room toward the hoop.

The clock was ticking and Chambers trusts his leading scorer who entered the game with 20.6 points per game, 39 assists and 19-for-32 from 3-point range.

"Whatever Tony thought," Chambers said. "I'm not in his vision. I'm on the sideline. I don't know what he saw but he's a heck of a player and he makes really good decisions. So I'm going to trust that decision."

Tough stats to swallow
Wisconsin's bench chipped in 25 points to Penn State's one.

Meanwhile, of Penn State's 29 misses, 11 were layups that didn't fall.

The big picture
Wisconsin: The Badgers are the only team to have played four ranked opponents so far and were tied or within a basket with two minutes left in three of those games. They looked better than their record inside the Bryce Jordan Center, matching Penn State's physical play throughout and frustrating Penn State's shooters all night.

Penn State: The Nittany Lions continue to play solid defense, but those stingy efforts will be for nothing if Penn State's shooters continue to miss like they did early and midway through against the Badgers. Penn State finished 26 for 50 from the floor.

Up next
Wisconsin concludes a three-day trip through the Keystone State at Temple (4-2) on Wednesday.

Penn State hosts George Washington (4-4) on Saturday.