GLENDALE, Ariz. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley eclipsed 400 yards of total offense and became the school’s all-time bowl game passing leader to lead the No. 9 Nittany Lions past No. 11 Washington (10-3), 35-28, in the 2017 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl Saturday in University of Phoenix Stadium.
Penn State improved to 7-0 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl to finish the 2017 season 11-2. It marks the first time since the 2008 and 2009 seasons that the Nittany Lions posted back-to-back 11-win seasons.
McSorley led a Penn State offense that totaled a program bowl-record 545 yards of offense, as he completed 32-of-42 passes for 342 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing 12 times for 60 yards. McSorley was particularly strong on third downs, completing 12-of-12 passing attempts for 183 yards and two touchdowns, resulting in 11 of Penn State’s 13 third down conversions – its most since 2008. McSorley completed passes to nine different receivers, with DaeSean Hamilton catching five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns to lead the group.
McSorley was named the game’s offensive MVP, while safety Marcus Allen was named the defensive MVP. Allen had a team-high six solo tackles, and tied for the team lead with seven total tackles.
Running back Saquon Barkley also had a record-breaking performance, setting a Fiesta Bowl and Penn State bowl record with a 92-yard touchdown run, also tying Penn State’s all-time longest run record. He finished with 137 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while also catching a team-high seven receptions and totaling 38 yards receiving.
Penn State led the game from its opening possession until the end, with Washington getting no closer than a touchdown. The Nittany Lions’ 35 points scored snapped a 26-game streak of holding opponents to less than 30 points. Washington entered the game with the leading FBS rushing defense at 92.3 yards per game and had allowed just one play of more than 40 yards this season, however Penn State rushed for 203 yards and had two plays go for more than 40 yards.
- QB Trace McSorley – McSorley became the first player in Penn State history to surpass 400 yards of total offense in a game twice in his career, throwing for 342 yards and running for 60 yards to total 402 yards – the fourth most in Penn State history and a Penn State bowl record. McSorley also broke his own record for total offense in a season with 4,061 yards. He completed 32-of-41 pass attempts, with both figures ranking second in Penn State bowl history, for two touchdowns, and he was intercepted twice. McSorley did the majority of his damage on third down, going 12-for-12 for 183 yards and both of his touchdown throws. He is now Penn State’s all-time passing leader in bowl games with 64 completions on 98 attempts, 738 yards passing and eight touchdowns.
- RB Saquon Barkley – Barkley’s record 92-yard touchdown run propelled him to 137 yards on the ground for the day, ranking him ninth all-time in Penn State bowl history. With a team-high seven receptions Barkley added 38 yards through the air to total 175 all-purpose yards. Barkley has totaled 400 career rushing yards in bowl games to rank second in Penn State history. His 17 career bowl receptions are tied for second with DaeSean Hamilton.
- WR DaeSean Hamilton – Hamilton caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, finishing his career with 17 bowl receptions to rank second all-time at Penn State, 232 bowl receiving yards to rank fourth all-time at Penn State and a record four touchdown passes. He also passed Deon Butler on the all-time Penn State career receiving chart, finishing second with 2,842 career yards. Hamilton extended his Penn State career record for receptions to 209, and posted his eighth career 100-yard receiving game.
- TE Mike Gesicki – Gesicki caught six passes for 66 yards, with six of his receptions resulting in first downs.
- WR Juwan Johnson – Johnson caught six passes for 63 yards, with five of his receptions resulting in first downs.
- Defense – Penn State limited Washington to 331 yards of total offense. Tyrell Chavis, Shareef Miller and Yetur Gross-Matos and each recorded stacks, while Kevin Givens and Parker Cothren combined on one. Marcus Allen and Brandon Smith totaled seven tackles each, while Smith secured a loose ball on Washington’s final play to secure the win.
- QB Jake Browning – Browning threw for 175 yards and a touchdown, completing 18-of-28 passes.
- RB Myles Gaskin – Gaskin was limited to 14 carries, but ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns, including a 69-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
- WR Aaron Fuller – Fuller led Washington with six catches for 61 yards and a touchdown.
- DB Byron Murphy, DB Austin Joyner and LB Ryan Bowman – The trio combined for three takeaways, as Murphy and Joyner earned interceptions, and Bowman recovered a fumble.
The Blue-White football game will be played Saturday, April 21, 2018 in Beaver Stadium. The intra-squad scrimmage is tentatively scheduled to kick in the early to mid-afternoon. More details about Blue-White Game and related events will be announced at a later date.