After another Penn State offensive performance dominated by quarterback Trace McSorley on Saturday, the Lions' signal-caller spoke with the media and laid out the frustrations that some have with the offense. McSorley touched on how the offense operates and how it is getting by as defenses attempt to put the brakes on one-time Heisman favorite Saquon Barkley.
I could be missing something, but this sounds to me like the bottom line. pic.twitter.com/Wk3lEn8rZu— Nate Bauer (@NateBauerBWI) November 12, 2017
Saturday marked the fifth game in a row where Barkley was held to zero or fewer yards rushing in one half of play, as Rutgers did everything in its power to stop him from beating them. Here's an example, courtesy of PennLive's Greg Pickel.
Yeah, a missed block stopped this play, but look at the three guys just sitting and waiting behind the pass rush. All watching No. 26. pic.twitter.com/WgujAMEkJk— Greg Pickel (@GregPickel) November 12, 2017
As a result, McSorley was able to complete plenty of mid-range throws to his cast of pass-catchers, including Mike Gesicki, Juwan Johnson, and DaeSean Hamilton.
While many fans, and seemingly players and coaches, are exasperated by the lack of production by Penn State's All-American tailback, the Lions are doing a great job in taking what defenses have given them. McSorley has completed over 64 percent of his passes in that five-game stretch, and four different receivers have led the Lions in receiving yards in those contests. Additionally, McSorley has six rushing touchdowns in the last five games.
Much of the frustration can be linked to the play of the big guys up front. A lack of experienced, blue-chip talent will do that. And for some, it may seem like three years of subpar line play have kept a once-in-a-generation back from reaching his potential, as Barkley should have rushed for 2,000 yards in a season at some point in his career but might struggle to top the millennium mark this year.
Still, the future is bright as the offense continues to gel and the young offensive line, which finally has some highly-rated talent on it, becomes stronger and smarter. As for the backfield, the future is after Barkley leaves is bright there, too, as guys like Miles Sanders, Andre Robinson and 2018 five-star back Ricky Slade are waiting in the wings to carry the ball going forward.