McSorley leads No. 10 Penn State to rout of Maryland
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Penn State flexed some muscle Saturday, and maybe one Maryland didn’t expect to be quite that strong. Quarterback Trace McSorley accounted for three touchdowns as 10th-ranked Penn State pounded Maryland 66-3 on Saturday.
McSorley completed 22 of 33 passes for 237 yards and also added a rushing touchdown for Penn State, which visited Maryland for the first time in 25 years. He also had seven rushes for 36 yards before taking a seat in the third quarter with the game in hand.
Star running back Saquon Barkley was quieter until a couple of second-half scores, but by that time the Nittany Lions had made their point and scored their points.
“Finishing off with an exclamation point like today shows we’re one of the best teams in the country,” said tight end Mike Gesicki, who caught two scoring passes from McSorley.
Tommy Stevens opened the scoring with a 21-yard touchdown run on Penn State’s first drive, capping a 91-yard march. McSorley added a 5-yard scoring run later in the first quarter, and then hit Gesicki twice for scores, as the Nittany Lions (10-2, 7-2 Big Ten) roared to a 31-0 halftime lead.
“(McSorley) was looking to see what we were in defensively, and it was a run/pass option and he was making the right decisions,” said Maryland senior linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr., who led the Terrapins with 11 tackles. “It wasn’t that we keyed in too much on Saquon (Barkley). (McSorley) just took what we gave them.”
The series between the two programs went on hiatus after the 1993 season following Penn State’s last visit to Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium (then known as Byrd Stadium). Following Penn State’s 70-7 win, the rivalry didn’t resume until 2014, when Maryland joined the Big Ten and won 20-19 in Happy Valley.
Penn State has now won the last three meetings and leads the all-time series 38-2-1. The Nittany Lions, who finished the regular season with three consecutive wins, now await the bowl selection process.
“I thought we played a complete game — offense, defense, special teams,” said Penn State coach James Franklin, once the head coach-in-waiting at Maryland under Ralph Friedgen before ending up as head coach at Vanderbilt. “Whenever you play well at the end of the season, it’s a positive.”
Maryland (4-8, 2-7) finished the year with four consecutive losses and defeats in seven of the final eight contests.
Coach DJ Durkin’s Terrapins lost their starting quarterback in the season-opening upset at Texas, and then lost backup Kasim Hill two weeks later.
Sophomore Max Bortenschlager completed a career-high 20 passes in 36 attempts for 185 yards.
The Nittany Lions tacked on two quick scores in the third quarter, both 1-yard runs by Barkley. Barkley finished with 16 carries for 77 yards and the two touchdowns, part of Penn State’s 534 yards of total offense. Stevens, who replaced McSorley at quarterback, led all rushers with 12 carries for 113 yards and three scores.
“We just didn’t play very well,” said Durkin, wrapping up his second season. “A season long of adversity and things happening got to us, and that wasn’t our best effort we put forth. The lesson in life for our players is you only get so many opportunities. When you add up all the days of preparation and practice you only get a handful and you need to make the most and take advantage. And we did not do that today.”
NOTES: Penn State QB Trace McSorley has at least one touchdown pass in 27 consecutive games, and became just the second Big Ten quarterback with more than 25 touchdown passes and 10 touchdown runs in a single season, joining Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett (2014). McSorley now has 27 TD passes and 11 scoring runs ... Maryland WR D.J. Moore became the school’s all-time single-season receiving leader when he passed Geroy Simon’s 1994 school mark of 77 receptions in the first half. Moore finished with eight catches for 100 yards, and had 80 for 1,033 on the season, becoming just the third Terrapin pass-catcher over 1,000 yards in a single season. The others are Marcus Padgett (1992) and Torrey Smith (2010). ... The margin of defeat matched the largest for the Terrapins in the modern era or since an 80-0 setback to Washington College in 1927.