Penn State notebook: McSorley apologizes for impromptu kick

The defending Big Ten champs are still riled about being left out of the College Football Playoff past year despite winning the league crown. With the way that quarterback Trace McSorley had played, though, it was hard to feel wholly confident in what he was going to be able to do.

The Huskers now turn their attention to No. 7 Penn State on Sunday.

Pen State's Saquon Barkley won his second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award of the season after a record-breaking performance in the Nittany Lions' 21-19 win at Iowa on Saturday night.

One could find things to complain about the Hawkeyes. 2017 has seen Michigan State start 2-0, though the wins have come against Bowling Green and a PJ Fleck-less Western Michigan in two very unauthoritative wins. What could have made for a near-fatal blow for the Hawkeyes instead sparked life, and Akrum Wadley broke free for a 35-yard touchdown scamper to stun the Nittany Lion faithful. Now, he's helping starter Trace McSorley any way he can.

Iowa didn't do much offensively most of the night, but it took advantage of Penn State mistakes and caught the Lions' defense in a couple of blitzes in the fourth quarter. He ran for 12 yards, then completed three more passes, including a 14-yarder to Barkley in which the tailback made a fantastic play to beat Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell and get of bounds.

Coach Kirk Ferentz called Barkley "a special player, " in his postgame news conference, adding, "I don't know I've seen many better or any better in my 19 years back here".

"He's a tough guy to tackle".

"I kind of dreamt about it". "It's one of those deals".

That quick first step and exceptional athleticism separates Barkley from his peers.

If not for the defense, especially through the third quarter, the outcome would have been different for the fourth-ranked Nittany Lions, now 4-0 this season and 13-1 since getting blown out 49-10 at MI on September 24, 2016.

The one that stands out the most is easy to pick: On a third-and-six in the fourth quarter at Penn State's own 16, McSorley flipped a pass behind the line of scrimmage to Barkley, who leaped over a diving defender, bounced off another defender in midair, landed on his feet and ran for the first down, an improbable 10-yard gain.

Barkley had 305 total yards rushing and receiving on 40 touches.

"If you look at any really good season, " James Franklin told his team afterward, "there's always one game where the team has to gut it out". Barkley totaled 305 yards from scrimmage as the Nittany Lions pulled out a narrow 21-19 win over Iowa. In all, Iowa's offense had a net 5 points through the game's first 50 minutes. The sophomore's passes early on seemed adrenaline-filled, a byproduct of the moment, and were initially too hot to handle. McSorley spent another game spreading the ball around, utilizing eight different receivers.

He'll be better in the future because of the experience he gained against an aggressive Penn State defense which tested Stanley physically and mentally.

The other three of those ended in a missed field goal, a blocked field goal and a punt.

Barkley ranks fifth in the Big Ten in both rushing yards (102.3 per game) and receiving yards (80.3), making him the conference's most risky player with the ball.

  • Rosalie Stanley