Penn State redshirt sophomore Trace McSorley came out of spring practice as the favorite to win the Nittany Lions’ starting quarterback job.
But head coach James Franklin and company wanted to put him under a bit more pressure — and give redshirt freshman Tommy Stevens a chance to apply the heat — so the battle carried over into the preseason.
The pressure was there. The heat was applied.
And Wednesday, McSorley was named the starter for Penn State’s Sept. 3 season-opener against Kent State at Beaver Stadium. Franklin announced the decision after practice Wednesday.
Both quarterbacks are much more mobile than previous starter Christian Hackenberg, and better fits for new offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead’s attack. Stevens has the clear size advantage, standing 6-foot-4, 215 pounds to McSorley’s 6-0, 201.
But when it comes to experience, McSorley holds a decided edge, one that allowed him to start this race from the pole position and apparently never relinquish the lead.
Even while redshirting in 2014, McSorley prepared as the second-teamer in the event Hackenberg had been hurt. McSorley was the backup as a redshirt freshman last fall, as well, and was called on to replace the injured Hackenberg in the TaxSlayer Bowl vs. Georgia.
McSorley led a comeback, throwing for 142 yards and two scores, but the Lions still lost, 24-17.
Stevens, meanwhile, spent his first year in Happy Valley on the scout team, meaning he had to make up a lot of ground in the spring and preseason.
Stay tuned for more.