When first-year offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead entered the fold, quarterbacks Trace McSorley and Tommy Stevens went through film from their new coach’s days calling plays at Fordham.
Not once did they see a quarterback hand off a jet sweep to another quarterback. So no, Penn State’s new wrinkle revealed Saturday was not one either McSorley or Stevens ever thought they’d run.
But it worked.
With Penn State already leading Iowa by 27 points in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Nittany Lions ran a jet sweep to Stevens, the backup quarterback, which he carried into the end zone for a 13-yard touchdown.
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McSorley said it’s “awesome” to have that gadget package at the Nittany Lions’ disposal.
“There’s so many different things we can do,” McSorley said Tuesday. “It definitely puts a defense on their heels.”
He remembers seeing the split-second reaction from the Hawkeye defense, too. They were surprised to say the least.
“Once they realized that Tommy wasn’t a slot receiver, there was this kind of look of confusion on a lot of the guys,” McSorley added.
Meanwhile, head coach James Franklin said the package with both McSorley and Stevens on the field is something the offense has worked on for quite some time.
Getting Stevens, a redshirt freshman, more involved in the offense doesn’t mean he’s going to supplant McSorley, the redshirt sophomore starter, any time soon.
But Franklin recognizes the backup’s talent, and wants to use him where it makes sense.
“It’s something that we want to continue to get Tommy reps and experience and allow him to grow,” Franklin said, “but it’s going to come within the framework of the offense.”