Trace McSorley Passing Chart (Indiana): Drops Return to Plague A Struggling Passing Game

By Nick Polak on October 22, 2018 at 8:03 am
Oct 20, 2018; Bloomington, IN, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley (9) throws a pass during the second quarter of the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium .
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
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Welcome back to the Trace McSorley passing chart. Each week we'll show you McSorley's chart from the most recent game, as well as his cumulative stats for the season. There may be a few differences here and there from the stat lines you see on ESPN, Sports Reference, or elsewhere, but I'll try to make sure to explain each of those differences below. Distances on the far left denote how many yards the ball traveled in the air.

For the second consecutive week, Penn State faced off against a defense that graded out as one of the country's worst against the pass. And for the second consecutive week, the Nittany Lions failed to truly take advantage of that fact. Against Michigan State, Trace McSorley was the one who had the off night. Against Indiana, the receivers and their drop issues once again took the undesirable spotlight.

McSorley Passing Chart (Indiana)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 0/0
-
-
-
1/2
22 yds
-
-
0/3
0 yds
-
1 drop
1/5
22 yards
-
1 drop
10-19 YARDS 1/2
29 yds
-
-
0/3
0 yds
INT
2 drops
0/0
-
-
-
1/5
29 yards
INT
2 drops
0-9 YARDS 5/8
52 yds
-
1 drop
2/5
68 yds
-
1 drop
3/4
37 yds
-
-
10/17
157 yards
-
2 drops
BEHIND L.O.S. 3/3
2 yds
-
-
1/1
2 yds
-
-
3/3
8 yds
-
-
7/7
12 yards
-
-
TOTALS 9/13
83 yards
-
1 drop
4/11
92 yds
1 INT
3 drops
6/10
45 yds
-
1 drop
19/36
220 yards
1 INT
5 drops
2 throwaways

3-man rush: 1/4, 6 yards, 2 drops

4-man rush: 10/20, 62 yards, 1 INT, 2 drops, 2 throwaways

5-man rush: 8/12, 152 yards, 1 drop

1st down: 11/16, 97 yards, 1 throwaway

2nd down: 4/9, 41 yards, 2 drops, 1 throwaway

3rd down: 4/11, 82 yards, 1 INT, 3 drops

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 72.7%

  • After last week when there was just one drop (and it was hard to tell if it was even a true drop), the receivers rediscovered the ability to let down their quarterback against Indiana. The group accounted for five drops against the Hoosiers, highlighted by three of them on third down, and one that ended up in the arms of an Indiana safety for an interception.
  • It should be noted, though, that Hippenhammer's second drop (the first was the one that turned into the interception) looked like it was tipped by the linebacker. Still, the ball hit Hippenhammer directly in the chest- it's a play he should make.
  • There were multiple ways in which McSorley's final line should have looked much better, but it hurt my heart to see his beautiful, on-the-run, twenty-yard chuck to the right sideline that could not have been placed in a more perfect spot be dropped by Brandon Polk.
  • On a positive note, the passing game is continuing to improve against the five-man rush. That's both a credit to McSorley and the offensive line/anyone who stays to block.
  • Beating this Penn State offense right now is a pretty straightforward concept- force them into third-and-long. Granted, that's what every team tries to do to every other team, but thanks to the combination of drops and an inability to get separation, stopping this team on third down is as easy as it's been in years.
  • It was a bit odd to see Rahne all of a sudden transition from NEVER drawing up passing plays to Miles Sanders, to throwing to him repeatedly on Saturday. More on that in the upcoming receiving chart.
  • There was one more pass thrown in this game, a 23-yard touchdown to Pat Freiermuth, but it was thrown by backup quarterback Tommy Stevens, meaning it's not included as part of this study.
  • Finally, the passing touchdown streak is dead at 34 games. Long live the streak.
McSorley Passing Chart (Season)
  LEFT MIDDLE RIGHT TOTALS
20+ YARDS 2/11
67 yds
-
2 drops
7/11
222 yds
2 TD
1 drop
4/12
111 yds
TD, INT
2 drops
13/35
400 yards
3 TD, INT
5 drops
10-19 YARDS 11/18
176 yards
TD
3 drops
1 batted pass
11/20
189 yds
3 TD, INT
3 drops
5/10
64 yds
-
3 drops
27/48
429 yards
4 TD, INT
9 drops
1 batted pass
0-9 YARDS 24/35
210 yds
TD, INT
3 drops
2 batted passes
13/30
225 yds
3 TD
4 drops
2 batted passes
18/27
131 yds
-
2 drops
2 batted passes
55/92
566 yards
4 TD, INT
9 drops
6 batted passes
BEHIND L.O.S. 7/10
30 yds
-
1 drop
1/2
2 yds
-
-
7/7
9 yds
-
-
15/19
41 yards
-
1 drop
TOTALS 44/70
483 yds
2 TD, INT
9 drops
3 batted passes
32/64
638 yds
8 TD, INT
8 drops
2 batted passes
34/56
315 yds
TD, INT
7 drops
2 batted passes
110/205
1,436 yards
11 TD, 3 INT
24 drops
7 batted passes
10 throwaways
2 hail marys

3-man rush: 12/27, 156 yards, 1 TD, 3 drops, 6 throwaways/hail marys

4-man rush: 63/117, 783 yards, 5 TD, 3 INT, 14 drops, 3 throwaways, 4 batted passes

5-man rush: 26/45, 332 yards, 2 TD, 6 drops, 2 throwaways/hail marys, 2 batted passes

6+ man rush: 9/16, 165 yards, 3 TD, 1 drop, 1 throwaway/hail mary, 1 batted pass

**ADJUSTED COMPLETION PERCENTAGE: 72.4%

  • As mentioned above, this was easily Penn State's most successful day against the five-man rush all year- they nearly doubled their passing yards for the season in that area against Indiana. Though, to be fair, 59 of those yards came in one burst via the Juwan Johnson catch-and-run.
  • The difference between McSorley's actual completion percentage (53.7%) and his adjusted completion percentage is an astounding 18.7. There have already been minor shakeups within the receiving corps (and perhaps more coming depending on the seriousness of Johnson's injury from the IU game), but as we say every week, you have to wonder when the staff will start to seriously consider giving guys like Jahan Dotson and Daniel George some run in hopes of finding something that works consistently outside of throwing to K.J. Hamler and Freiermuth.

**Adjusted Completion Percentage Explanation

Being that the idea of this is to actually find out how accurate McSorley is, his adjusted completion percentage is calculated by removing some externals. The formula is as follows:

Adjusted Completion Percentage = (Completions + Drops) / (Pass Attempts - Spikes - Throwaways - Batted Balls - Balls disrupted by a QB hit)

I was iffy on excluding batted balls because blame for those is equally shared between the offensive line and the quarterback, in my opinion, but since we just want to see how accurate he's been in terms of hitting his receivers, we'll take it out.

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