Penn State who found itself ranked as high as #3 in the country this year had a disappointing finish including a blown lead to Ohio St and a freakish loss to Michigan St.
Penn State redshirt junior QB Trace McSorley completed 32-of-41 passes for 342 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in Saturday's 35-28 win over Washington in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. For Washington, this will be their first trip to the Fiesta Bowl, but Huskies head coach Chris Petersen is no stranger to the game.
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Penn State destroyed Washington on third downs throughout the entire game. Washington's real hope to win this game lies ion special teams. Both teams are coming off impressive seasons, both finishing with a 10-2 record.
The Nittany Lions had 367 yards by halftime against a defense that allowed 277.4 yards per game during the regular season. The game was memorable for Petersen's collection of trick plays, which led to a huge upset and an on-field marriage proposal for one of his players. Only Utah - who beat West Virginia - won a bowl game.
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Penn State enters the Fiesta Bowl with a with an unblemished 6-0 mark all-time. However, when Pettis sprinted toward the sideline and looked to extend the play with a lateral after he crossed the 50, he tossed the ball right into the arms of Penn State's Brandon Smith, sealing a 1-8 bowl season for the Pac-12.
In the second quarter, with Penn State up 21-7 over Washington, everyone got the final highlight they were waiting for. Saquon Barkley is projected to be a star in the National Football League, and will likely be one of the first players to hear his name at the draft next year.
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Washington will lose two offensive line starters and receiver/punt returner Pettis to graduation, but gets back most of its defense. I think those guys came in with a real big chip on their shoulders that they wanted to be the senior class that really put Penn State back on the map, and I think they accomplished a lot of that. But, as Coach Petersen was quick to point out during his Fiesta Bowl media availability when asked if he told his Washington players about his Fiesta Bowl success as the coach of Boise State: "They don't care about that". We weren't expecting to have bowl games for a long time. Penn State was 7-4-1 against the spread this year, and failed to cover in three of their final four games. Both teams were just on the outside looking in to the College Football Playoffs, but want to prove that they belong among the nation's elite.