On a rare third-and-15 for Penn State, senior quarterback Trace McSorley caught a shotgun snap and dropped back like he was going to pass. McSorley quickly tucked the ball and ran for 17 yards, delivering a hit to a Maryland defender before barreling forward for the first down.
For as many plays throwing the ball as the three-year starter has made over his career at University Park, McSorley has made just as many using his legs. On Saturday, Maryland couldn’t stop either options, as McSorley accounted for three total touchdowns in a 38-3 win over the Terrapins.
After coming within one play of defeating No. 10 Ohio State last week, Maryland (5-7, 3-6) was thoroughly outplayed by No. 15 Penn State (9-3, 6-3) on its Senior Day. The Nittany Lions held a 17-3 halftime lead, as McSorley ran for scores of 3 and 20 yards in the first half.
Penn State quickly pushed the score to 24-3 on its first possession of the half with a nine-play, 86-yard drive that ended with a spinning 8-yard run by running back Ricky Slade. On the play prior to the score, linebacker Tre Watson was ejected for targeting – his third time this season – after delivering a hit to the neck area of running back Miles Sanders.
Even after Maryland forced a turnover in the third quarter, a strip of Sanders which was recovered by safety Antwaine Richardson, the Terrapins couldn’t convert a touchdown in the red zone. Interim head coach Matt Canada elected for a 31-yard field goal, which freshman placekicker Joseph Petrino failed to make, only his second miss of the season.
Penn State responded with a six-play, 80-yard drive, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown pass from McSorley to tight end Pat Freiermuth.
After rushing for 298 yards and two touchdowns, Penn State’s defense held Anthony McFarland to 12 yards on six carries. The redshirt freshman left the game in the second half after being attended to by Maryland’s training staff. Maryland finished the game with 259 yards of offense to Penn State’s 565.
The loss ends Maryland’s hopes for bowl eligibility after a 5-3 start and a season-opening upset of then-No. 23 Texas. The Terrapins were blown out at home 24-3 by Michigan State before losing to Indiana on the road then Ohio State by a combined margin of three points.