Story By: Richard Thomas
Photos By: Benjamin Rogers Jr.
In a game that started with Dale Jr. driving on to the field for the coin toss, ended with one final drive by the Nittany Lions that fell short giving the Georgia Bulldogs a 24-17 victory in the Tax Slayer Gator Bowl.
For Penn State just to see the field for a bowl game was a start in the right direction for this team that faced so many sanctions in the wake of the Paterno debacle and today it didn’t get much better as they had to finish the game with their back-up quarterback.
Today could have be the final game of Christian Hackenberg’s career, as the junior is eligible for the draft. If that is the case, it would have been tough way to go out, leaving the game in the second quarter with an shoulder injury, now leaving him wondering where the injury could leave him in the status of the upcoming NFL draft. Prior to today, many of the NFL experts expected him to leave for the draft, but now some say drafting him would be a gamble unless he can fully show his recovery at the combine.
Trace McSorley led a fourth-quarter resurgence for the Nittany Lions, but that is about all he did. This is an offense that has been struggling to find itself all season. Changes have been made on the offensive staff, but patience seems to be thinning. McSorley (173 total yards) did show promise as the potential successor to Hackenberg.
Penn State hasn’t shown much in the way of offense since we saw them face the Terps earlier this season. In that game, Hackenberg, barely led his team to a 31-30 victory, yet threw for 3 touchdowns and had 314 yards passing.
McSorley had one final shot at taking this game into overtime, but his hail-mary heave with 8 seconds remaining feel short giving the Bulldogs another Bowl Victory for their new staff.