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Fourth and Seven

The College Football season is finally coming to an end. The big game is over, and either Clemson or Alabama has won the title. I still don’t know why the NCAA doesn’t include more teams in its big dance. Every level of sports has what you call a championship tournament. Well except for one. I

The College Football season is finally coming to an end. The big game is over, and either Clemson or Alabama has won the title. I still don’t know why the NCAA doesn’t include more teams in its big dance. Every level of sports has what you call a championship tournament. Well except for one. I personally didn’t watch many bowl games this holiday season. I just wasn’t it to it. I did get a chance to watch the Penn State and Kentucky matchup on New Years, but it only left me disappointed.

I wouldn’t say that I am a rabid PSU fan, but I will root for the home team whenever I can. My lovely bride and several of my good friends are proud alums, and many of them are season ticket holders. I usually get an invite to a few of the home games. But I never get a second call as I am one who enjoys a good tailgate and a large crowd. I tend to be that guy and thankfully I have lots of Blue & White friends who are still willing to give me a try. Another story for another time kids.

Penn State entered the game at a 9-4 mark. The Nits were ranked 12th in the country, but it felt that they underachieved. The boys came out flat and struggled to move the ball early. That was the story of the entire 2018 season. I admire James Franklin. I wouldn’t say he is the best coach. But I love his enthusiasm and his moxie. James has done a great job in being a face of the program. He brings a lot to the table. He excels on the recruiting trail, but unfortunately, he struggles with his Xs and Os. I have no idea why Mr. Franklin decided to call a fake punt on the very first possession of the game. There’s more later.

The defense continued its dominance, and they seemed to keep PSU in the game. Kentucky was a talented SEC squad that came to play. The Nittany Lions had no luck on offense, and the special teams unit was just awful. Penn State missed two field goals and gave up a touchdown on a Wildcat return. Mr. Franklin and his boys trailed, and the outlook looked dim. They had absolutely no momentum.

Quarterback Trace McSorley sustained a leg injury and was poked in the eye in the second quarter. Penn State officials said that the talented senior broke a bone in his foot and he wasn’t expected to return. Third-stringer Sean Clifford ran one ineffective offensive series. McSorely looked deflated but then somehow convinced James Franklin to get back into the game. He threw an interception and got completely decked on that play. Kentucky returned it all the way for a touchdown and the Blue & White Nation become awfully silent.

I thought he was done — no way. But then Trace defied the odds. He limped around and found his swagger. Penn State’s mighty 20 point deficit gave way to a 27-21 score in minutes. Trace was on fire. Making throws and runs with that broken foot. Could Trace McSorely bring his Nittany Lions all the way back?

Everything had shifted, and the Lions were deep in Kentucky territory. They were on the 14 and were faced with a fourth-and-7 with 4:00 left in the game. Penn State had three timeouts remaining, and the tide was turning. James Franklin didn’t think twice and opted to kick the field goal. I was speechless, and so were the ABC commentators. Perhaps it was the right call but we obviously now know how it turned out. The kick was good, and Kentucky got two first downs and essentially ran out the clock. Our defense looked deflated after Coaches decision. I was too.

Trace McSorley should be considered as one the very best. He is the all-time Penn State leader in wins, completions, passing yards, throwing TDs, rushing yards by a QB and that is just a few. He was the total team player who led by example and had an amazing heart. Trace was the complete quarterback. A true winner and laid everything out on the field. He defied logic with his arms or legs time and time again. He was a joy to watch over the past few seasons. Penn State now has a huge void.

It’s easy to sit back and question when it is all said and done. But McSorley deserved better. You are 14 yards shy of the end zone. Momentum is on your side. One of the greatest quarterbacks in the program’s history is rolling, and you decided to kick a field goal. Cheers.

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