STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – The Penn State record for the longest play from scrimmage lasted 99 years before this season, and now it's been bettered twice.
Trace McSorley and K.J. Hamler connected on a 93-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter Saturday night against Ohio State, topping the 92-yard completion from Bill Hess to Bob Higgins in 1919.
However, the Hess-to-Higgins record already had been broken on Sept. 15, when backup quarterback Sean Clifford threw a 95-yard TD pass to Daniel George late in the Nittany Lions' 63-10 victory over Kent State.
Miles Sanders, the Nittany Lions' leading rusher, changed his uniform number from 24 to 8 against the Buckeyes in honor of teammate Mark Allen, a fifth-year senior backup who suffered a season-ending injury in practice before the Sept. 21 game against Illinois.
Allen, one of Bill O'Brien's last recruits at Penn State, was a leader in the locker room and Sanders was sad to see his college career end.
"Obviously it's going to be a lot different because he's the heartbeat of our room," Sanders said Wednesday. "He brings the personality. He brings the fun, the joy in our room, cracks jokes, he's always smiling. But it (stinks) for him for the injury to end the season like this, but he's in great spirits now. His attitude right now is nothing but positive."
Allen played in 29 games in his career with one start. His best game was his last one, career highs of 11 carries and 62 yards against Kent State.
Penn State has enjoyed much success in the last two seasons under James Franklin, winning 24 of its last 27 games heading into Saturday night's "White Out" matchup against No. 4 Ohio State.
But Franklin is not the kind of guy who allows himself to sit back and savor what he and the Nittany Lions have accomplished. He's always looking ahead to the next challenge.
"I like where we're at, but I'm one of these guys, as soon as we kind of complete a task, I'm on to the next task, which rubs people the wrong way," he said Wednesday night during his post-practice availability. "Sometimes the staff rubs the administration wrong because I just don't know if we have time to be celebrating the victories.
"I'm kind of built to move on to the next thing and I've got to be reminded sometimes to say thanks, let them know how much we appreciate it. But then we've got to get going because I'm constantly thinking about the teams we're competing with. They're not waiting for us. They're still progressing forward. So that's kind of how my mind works. I want everything fixed yesterday.
"I want everything with a real strong foundation and growing exponentially and I'm never really satisfied. But that's kind of how I'm built."
Franklin said he's always been very driven, which he described as a strength and a weakness. He also said he thinks a team takes on a bit of its head coach's identity.