Glendale, AZ – Although the score may not be indicative of the final outcome, Penn State took charge early defeating University of Washington 35-28 in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl.
“We were fortunate to get out of here with a win,” said Penn State head coach, James Franklin. “I’ve been doing this long enough, I know if you turn the ball over you are going to have a hard time winning.”
Trace McSorley and the Nittany Lions came out motivated to move the ball threw the air and challenge Washington’s secondary.
Penn State took a quick 7-0 lead on a 48 yard touchdown pass from McSorley to Daesean Hamilton.
After not being able to cash in on a McSorley interception, Penn State would extend its lead to 14 on a 2-yard run by Saquon Barkley.
Washington was able to chip away at Penn State’s lead to begin the 2nd quarter. A trick play set the Huskies on the 1-yard line and on the next play, RB Myles Gaskin capitalized for the touchdown .
Washington’s defense was unable to slow down the Nittany Lions offense, who were getting anything they wanted on the ground and through the air. Barkely tacked on to Penn State’s lead with the longest run in Fiesta Bowl history. Barkely put the Nittany Lions up 28-7 on a 92-yard run.
Penn State ended the first half with 367 yards on offense to Washington’s 136. McSorley also threw 24 times completing 18 for 219 yards.
The Huskies came out for the second half with more Rhythm on the offense of end. Washington pulled within one touchdown.
Jake Browning found Aaron Fuller from 28-yards to give the Huskies a fighting chance 28-21.
Washington’s defense on the other hand still had no answers for McSorley and the Nittany Lions offense. The Huskies 7 point deficit didn’t last long. McSorley started Penn State’s first possession of the second half with 24-yard scramble. Then, McSorley connected with Daesean Hamilton for a 24-yards and Hamilton’s second touchdown.
The Huskies made the game interesting with a shot to tie the game after a Penn State missed field goal with 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter. An interception by Pettis on a lateral pass ended any chance of a Washington comeback.
Penn State converted on 13 of 17 third down plays.
“That was something that the last couple years we really wanted to improve on and emphasize in the off-season,” said Franklin. “We were fantastic on third down on offense today.”
Penn State made life difficult for Browning who seemed to pressured every time he steeped back to pass. He was sacked 4 times.
McSorley finished the game 32 of 41 for 342 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Barkley finished with 18 carries for 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Penn State boost its record to 7-0 all time in the Fiesta Bowl.