I remember as a young child that my favorite number was determined by my age. When I was nine I was on our sunporch, rocking on a wooden rocking horse I had long outgrown, telling my sister that when I turned ten nine would still be my favorite. Nine has been my favorite ever since. When Trace McSorley walked onto the field, number nine was the first thing that endeared him to me. It was Coach Franklin’s path that brought Trace to us—too small to be a quarterback, only Franklin gave him a chance at Vanderbilt and then convinced him to come along to PSU. McSorley quickly proved his lionhearted nature. While Saquan dazzled us, it was always Trace we hung our hearts on.
How frustrating it must have been for him to lead this bowl game of dropped balls and missed opportunities. The only time things appeared to go well was when McSorley himself got it in his head to railroad the ball forward.
When the wheels fell off in the third quarter, I feared the game was out of reach. Until the beast that is McSorley taped the wheels back on that train and lead our lions to two touchdowns. Then on the doorstep of a third to take the lead with the extra point, someone dropped the ball. I don’t know whose call it was, but someone on the coaching staff dropped the ball by settling for a field goal.
Was it another late fourth quarter poor decision that cost us the win? I don’t think we can say that. There were three previous quarters of play that could have gone a whole lot better. Still the fact remains that with the game on the line the play executed did not come up with the win. Wrong decision? Inadequate coaching? Poor execution? Or plain old bad luck?
I hear you, Coach, that the defense was having a good game and we had three timeouts remaining. I just don’t agree at all with your thought process. I don’t think it’s a matter of it not working out so it appears like you should’ve gone for it. I think that’s maybe what happened on the highly contested fourth down run but not this time. I’m not one to coach from my couch and I’m trying not to do that here. I honestly don’t care what play you call there, but you have to go for it. Put it all on the line and let the game be Trace McSorley’s to win. He should have been the one to win it or die trying. I wanted an exclamation point on the end of this season. I would have settled for a period as long as Trace put it there. Instead I got an ellipses that leaves the thought hanging, never completed. Like turning around before you find out what’s around that bend. We’ll never know. With one second left the ball literally got dropped and that was that.
A few weeks ago I was so excited for a ten win season that I miscounted. I wrote we were one win away when we actually needed two. No problem, I thought but I was wrong again. We didn’t get that ten win season. A nine and four-season feels kind of mediocre, though I know it’s mostly the all or nothing sports mentality that at times permeates even my head. I’m not going to call for anybody’s job. There are enough people out there doing that already. And I’m not going to use statistics tear anyone down.
My focus is on the players who leave us here. I wish you nothing but the best. You’ve poured your heart into our program and traced the path for those who come after you. We’ll certainly have our eyes on you, Trace McSorley; all the best to you in your future. You embody success with honor and your legacy goes beyond the records you’ve set. It’s the example you’ve set before those who follow in your footsteps that matters.
This season had its ups and downs and now it’s over.
Nothing left to do except sigh it out and turn toward next season. See you in the spring Nittany Nation!