Football: McSorley, Lions gut Badgers in comeback win

first_imgINDIANAPOLIS- University of Wisconsin’s football team fell to an inspired second-half performance from Penn State University and 31-3 comeback, orchestrated by redshirt sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley. The Badgers’ loss was their second loss in the Big Ten Championship game in three years, falling 58-0 to Ohio State University in 2013.Football: Wisconsin blows three-touchdown lead, falls to Penn State 38-31 in Big Ten title gameINDIANAPOLIS — It seemed too easy. The bounces, the calls, the everything, really, tilted in the favor of the University Read…Offensive player of the gameTrace McSorley put on a show in the second half of the Big Ten Championship game against a Wisconsin defense that is widely considered to be one of the best in the country. His 384 yard, 22-31 performance was enough to sneak the Lions to their first conference title since 1994.McSorley broke a Big Ten Championship record with four touchdowns in what has become a typical performance over his team’s nine game win streak. The redshirt sophomore put the Nittany Lions in the College Football Playoff picture for the first time this season, a mere 12 hours before the Committee comes out with its final rankings.Defensive player of the gameThere wasn’t much defense to be had on Saturday despite the expectation of a hard-nosed battle, but Wisconsin linebacker Ryan Connelly made what would’ve been the play of the game had the Badgers held on to win. Connelly recovered a bad snap and returned it 10 yards to put Wisconsin up 21-7 with 10 minutes to go in the half.The redshirt sophomore also led Wisconsin alongside senior linebacker Vince Biegel with eight total tackles, posting six solo tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss. There weren’t many bright spots for Wisconsin or either team’s defense, but Connelly burst through with one of his best performances of the year.Wisconsin player of the gameOf all the stat lines to explain the defensive letdown and offensive shootout in Lucas Oil Stadium, running back Corey Clement’s breakout attack was not one of them. The senior back ran for 164 yards on 21 carries, averaging 7.8 yards per carry and posting a 68 yard touchdown run that sparked Wisconsin’s original scoring run in the first half.Despite two fumble scares that normally scar Clement’s performances this season, he was able to find holes that have alluded him all year and post dominant numbers against a normally stout Penn State front. The senior shared in the mood of his fellow Badgers in the post game locker room, getting through questions as quickly as possible and finding it difficult to gather himself to say what he wanted to say.Penn state player of the gameTrace McSorley came into the game Saturday night on a hot streak that only continued as he avoided a turnover and looked like the Big Ten’s best quarterback. Despite handing the ball off the Big Ten’s best running back all season, Saquon Barkley, McSorley took command of the Nittany Lion offense and was the undisputed headliner in the unexpected shootout.Many people expected the quarterback to find a way to get some big plays through a powerful Badger front, but the unending domination from McSorley will be remembered in Big Ten history. McSorley and his team now hope the Committee takes notice of the win and finds a way to sneak them into the Playoff.Momentum switchPenn State has been a second-half team all year, and that was no more true than in the Big Ten Championship on Saturday. However, Wisconsin’s 14-point lead at half had a chance to move to 17 until senior kicker Andrew Endicott missed a 48-yard field goal on UW’s first drive of the half.While the missed kick was certainly a spark to begin the Lion’s run in the second half, the Badger’s inability to turn the drive into a touchdown, or any points at all, was a true momentum swing that defined the half for Wisconsin. The drive and resulting miss was a notice of a turning tide that would consume Wisconsin as McSorley found his groove on the next play from scrimmage, a 70-yard bomb to bring the Lions within seven.When you knew the game was overWhile many would say the Badgers’ inability to convert on a 4th and one on their final drive was the clinching play for the Nittany Lions, the game came down to several UW defensive mishaps to give PSU the lead. On the final field goal for Penn State that gave it a seven point lead toward the end of the game, Wisconsin’s Leon Jacobs was penalized for roughing the passer on 3rd and 6 to keep what would’ve been a dead drive alive.Without the penalty, the Lions would’ve been outside of field goal range for kicker Tyler Davis and would’ve given the Badgers the ball with plenty of time and sitting one touchdown away from a win. Despite the significance of the uncharacteristic play from Jacobs, the loss boiled down to a large collection of Wisconsin defensive shortcomings that the offense was unable to overcome.The mood in the Wisconsin locker room was as one would expect, players talking in somber tones and reflecting on what could’ve been. The UW seniors have experienced this feeling before, but are eager to get over this loss and end the season on a high note with a bowl win.The Badgers now await where they will fall in the Playoff rankings and what bowl they will play in this year, an announcement expected at noon.last_img read more

Toni Martin’s faith helped her become a better leader

first_img Comments In the fall, Syracuse head coach Shannon Doepking brought her team together. An annual tradition for her teams, she held a vote to decide her team’s captains. SU picked three upperclassmen based on how well they represent four values: family, 100 percent effort, selflessness and ownership, Doepking said. The Orange thought junior Toni Martin represented everything they were looking for.“Toni is one of those players that is able to hold people accountable and hold people to a standard,” Doepking said. “She’s been forced into that role because we need it but she’s very well respected on this team.”Martin is a junior captain for Syracuse (9-16, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) with an OPS of .904, first on the team among those with at least one start. But it’s her non-quantifiable role that has the largest impact. Martin ensures that all her teammates don’t panic or make an illogical decision, senior Bryce Holmgren said. Yet, she’s still honest, advising older teammates what they can do better. Martin credits this composure to her commitment to Christianity, where she learned how to approach situations from another person’s perspective.“I know that I do not have the control that a higher power has and to me, that’s God,” Martin said. “I think it takes a lot of stress off my life to know that I’m not in control of everything.”Martin grew up in a devout Catholic household in Raymore, Missouri, a small town with a population of 21,000. Her and her family rarely missed services, attending on almost every Sunday for the first 18 years of her life.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Martin joined travel and club softball teams that had games during services, she still cut out time to attend church. If she had to leave before services ended or show up late, Martin would show up with her softball jersey and cleats. It didn’t matter if she appeared out of place around other members in suits, dress shirts, dresses and fancy skirts — staying committed to her faith was more important, she said.“She’s a very rational leader… She always gives us advice for a reason,” Holmgren said. “I think it comes from who she is as a person.”Instead of looking from a narrow-minded or biased perspective, she looks at issues through an outsider’s lens. This helps her when dealing with teammates.During games, Martin advises Syracuse center fielder Alicia Hansen. If the senior dives for a ball that is too far away or throws to the cut-off man when she could have thrown right to the bag, Martin will be direct with the older Hansen.After a 50-50 play, Hansen would look to Martin: “Is that okay?”“Why did you do that?” Martin remembered she’d ask. Martin said she then explains what she saw from left field.She does the same outside of games. While practicing in Manley Field House on March 6, the Orange focused on defensive situations with runners on first and third base. Freshman catchers Michala Maciolek and Alexis Kaiser both fielded bunts and threw to second when they should’ve held onto the ball, or vice versa. After practice, Martin calmly approached the two and broke down what they should’ve done.“I asked them why they’re doing what they’re doing and try to make them see the decision they made just wasn’t the right one,” she said. “They need to think about it differently.” Published on March 20, 2019 at 10:42 pm Contact Adam: adhillma@syr.edu | @_adamhillmancenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more