DaeSean Hamilton TD reasserts Lions in second half
GLENDALE, Ariz. — Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 35-28 victory over Washington on Saturday in the Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium:
Play of the game: Immediately after Washington pulled within 28-21 to start the third quarter, Trace McSorley answered with clutch drive and capped it with a 24-yard touchdown pass to DaeSean Hamilton to give the Lions back their two-score lead.
Offensive player of the game: McSorley completed 32-of-41 for 342 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed 12 times for 60 yards.
Defensive player of the game: Penn State linebacker Brandon Smith made seven tackles, including for one loss, and recovered a fumble/lateral that ended the game.
Most telling statistic: Penn State converted 13-of-`17 third downs and was 1-for-1 on fourth down.
Most deceiving statistic: The Lions managed just six first downs by rush.
Hidden statistic: PSU was penalized only twice.
Best run: Saquon Barkley blazed 92 yards for a touchdown with 9:01 left in the second quarter to extend the Lions’ lead to 28-7. It was the longest run in Fiesta Bowl and Penn State bowl history.
Best pass: McSorley threw a beautiful 48-yard touchdown pass to Hamilton, putting plenty of air under it and leading him perfectly, to open the scoring.
Worst pass: Washington quarterback Jake Browning, with the Huskies down 35-21, had Myles Gaston wide open for a 30-yard gain in the fourth quarter but overshot him.
Best catch(es): There were several. DeAndre Thompkins made a great adjustment for a 34-yard reception to the Washington 1 that set up the Lions’ 21-7 lead. Huskies’ cornerback Byron Murphy did an excellent job to reel in an interception, dragging his toe in the end zone to blunt PSU scoring threat with the Lions already up 7-0. And how about Nittany Lion mascot (standing out of bounds) snagging a Browning pass in the third quarter?
Catch it, will ya: Thompkins muffed the Huskies’ first punt but managed to recover it at the PSU 34.
Hold it, won’t ya: With the Lions up 28-7 and smelling a blowout, Miles Sanders didn’t appear to react on a pitchout. Washington recovered at the PSU 33 and turned the miscue into a touchdown that pulled the Huskies within 28-14.
Best tackle: Washington’s Taylor Rupp and D.J. Beavers combined to crush Brandon Polk in the second quarter. Polk did a nice job to maintain possession.
Best block: Nit center Connor McGovern sealed the edge to spring Barkley’s 92-yard touchdown run that put the Lions up 28-7 with 9:01 left in the second quarter.
Best hit: Lion safety Troy Apke drilled Husky receiver Drew Sample early.
Best kick: On fourth-and-4 from the UW 48 in the second quarter, after initially looking like the Huskies might go for it, down 21-7, Browning (left-footed, BTW) pooched one 45 yards to the PSU 3.
Worst kick: Tyler Davis missed a 45-yard field goal with 34 seconds left that could have clinched it.
Worst penalty: Facing fourth-and-inches at the Washington 23 and 38 seconds left, Lion senior offensive tackle Brendan Mahon false-started. Now fourth-and-6, and instead of a run play that could have iced the game, the Lions elected to try a field goal that missed and had to put their defense back on the field.
Best call: Trailing 14-0, Chris Petersen, known for trick plays, used one to get back in the game. Browning tossed the ball back to flanker Andre Baccellia, who gunned it 52 yards downfield to tight end Will Dissly, setting up a Washington touchdown that pulled the Huskies within 14-7.
Worst call: Rather than Davis’ field goal attempt, would have preferred a pooch punt with 38 seconds left.
Best effort: Penn State’s offensive line allowed just one sack and escorted a ground game that produced 203 yards.
Unsung hero: Hamilton not only caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns, his tough 14-yard reception on third-and-9 to the Washington 32 with about a minute left helped the Lions melt the clock.