ORLANDO – It’s a safe bet to say that Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley and Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen will know where each other is on the field in one of the more significant matchups in Tuesday’s Citrus Bowl.
McSorley can scramble to find more time on pass plays, or he can take off on a run, having done so enough to rush for 723 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Allen, the Bednarik Award winner as the nation’s outstanding defensive player, has compiled 14 sacks, 18 ½ tackles for loss, and five forced fumbles.
“You definitely have to have an awareness of where he’s at at all times, especially in certain situations on passing downs where he’s able to pin his ears back and go for the quarterback,” McSorley said. “He’s extremely good at getting strip sacks and attacking the ball. You’re putting a heightened level on ball security in the pocket when you’re stepping up.”
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Allen also knows what McSorley is capable of, and suggested that he will have to control his rush to deal with him.
“We’ve got to rush as a group, can’t just rush by myself,” he said. “We all have to do our job to contain rush. He’ll find the littlest crack and take it home if he can. I just do my job and then everybody else has to do theirs, and hopefully we’ll get home.”
Wildcats defensive coordinator Matt House has seen plenty in film study to show him McSorley’s effectiveness with his passing or his running.
“He’s a guy that just consistently finds a way to win,” he said. “He prolongs downs. He can throw the ball vertically down the field. He can hurt you with his feet, but more than anything, I think he’s just a winner.”
McSorley has to hope he’ll have more success on the field Tuesday than he did when he boarded his first attraction Sunday at the Citrus Bowl Day for Kids at Fun Spot America Theme Park.
McSorley and some of his teammates boarded go-karts but the quarterback’s vehicle stalled out, prompting a park worker to guide traffic around him. He finally got going but he had the slowest go-kart by far.