ShareThis Page
Penn State

No. 12 Penn State seeks 10th win in Big Ten clash with Maryland

| Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, 10:24 a.m.
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley hands the ball of to Saquon Barkley during the first quarter against Nebraska on Nov. 18, 2017 at Beaver Stadium in University Park.
Getty Images
Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley hands the ball of to Saquon Barkley during the first quarter against Nebraska on Nov. 18, 2017 at Beaver Stadium in University Park.
Penn State's Trace McSorley runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against Nebraska on Nov. 18, 2017.
Getty Images
Penn State's Trace McSorley runs for a touchdown during the second quarter against Nebraska on Nov. 18, 2017.

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — It's been 24 years since Penn State played a football game at the University of Maryland, yet quarterback Trace McSorley will feel at home Saturday when the 12th-ranked Nittany Lions wrap up the regular season against the Terrapins.

McSorley starred for Briar Woods High School in Ashburn, Va., before heading north to Penn State.

“Maryland's stadium is 45 minutes from my house. So, it's right there. I've been to games there as a recruit, kind of as a young kid,” McSorley said. “It's awesome, kind of being able to go back and play in that venue that I'm kind of familiar with, playing in my neck of the woods.”

Penn State running back Mark Allen played for DeMatha High School, which is located just a few miles from the home of the Terrapins.

“For me to play my last game of the regular season in my hometown, that's pretty awesome,” Allen said. “That's fun. It's going to be like a backyard football game, you know, as far as me knowing a lot of guys that's on the team. We talk back and forth, talking our little stuff.”

When it comes to trash-talking between Penn State and Maryland players who knew each other in high school, it's likely the contingent in white jerseys will have much more to brag about. The Nittany Lions (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten) are looking to gain a berth in a New Year's bowl game. Maryland (4-7, 2-6) can only hope to pull off a huge upset on Senior Day.

A year ago, the Terps entered the regular season finale needing a victory to secure a bowl bid. This time, they're playing for bragging rights.

“The familiarity in the rosters and guys that know each other and all that always adds to any sort of game,” Maryland coach DJ Durkin said.

It's also a homecoming of sorts for Penn State coach James Franklin, who served as Maryland's offensive coordinator from 2008-10 before leaving to become the head coach at Vanderbilt. The last time he faced the Terrapins on the road, in 2015, the game was played in Baltimore.

If Franklin feels any nostalgia about returning to College Park, he's keeping it to himself. Though it's been a long time since he left, he will find a familiar face on the opposite sideline in Durkin.

“Seems like our paths continue to cross,” Franklin said. “He was at Florida as the defensive coordinator when we were at Vanderbilt, then at Michigan as the defensive coordinator, and now as the head coach at Maryland.”

Penn State senior safety Troy Apke, a Mt. Lebanon product, will miss the first half after being penalized for targeting last week in a 56-44 win over Nebraska. By rule, he was ejected from the game, and because the foul occurred in the second half, he must sit out the first half of this game. In addition, linebacker Manny Bowen will miss a third straight game for violating team rules. He started the first nine games and ranks third on the team with 51 tackles.

McSorley shines: McSorley has thrown a touchdown pass in 26 straight games as an integral part of an offense that ranks second in the conference with 445.9 yards per game. “He's done a tremendous job leading that offense,” Durkin said. “They're all productive, probably with him being the focal point.”

Barreling Barkley: Penn State can beat you through the air or on the ground. Saquon Barkley has rushed for 1,057 yards and has 590 yards in receptions. He's also returned two kickoffs for scores. “He's as good as there is,” Durkin said. “He plays the whole game, he returns kicks, he's out there the whole time.”

Quarterback carousel: Maryland has played five quarterbacks this season, including two last week in a 17-7 loss to Michigan State. Max Bortenschlager will likely start ahead of Ryan Brand.

Senior day: Maryland will bid farewell to 19 seniors, including linebacker Jermaine Carter Jr., who is poised to become only the fifth Terp since 1969 to lead the team in tackles for three straight years. “I may be emotional,” Carter said. “It's been a nice five years. I had fun, built lifelong relationships with my teammates and classmates. Saturday is going to mean a lot to me.”

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me