UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - For Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley, nothing else mattered this week besides beating Rutgers on Saturday.
He wasn't the only with the same laser-like focus, as the Nittany Lions fought through adversity to arrive at their intended objective - to be 1-0 this week.
Saturday's game in a few ways mirrored something Nittany Lion fans had all but perhaps forgot, looking eerily like a few outings from the 2016 season.
"I saw a lot of different areas that we have to get improved, obviously the weird kickoff to start the game," Franklin said.
Not the most ideal way to start the game he added, but nonetheless, Penn State pushed forward.
Trailing 6-0, the Scarlet Knights managed two field goals for the early first quarter, one coming as a result of the opening kickoff mishap.
Sticking to the plan, Penn State did not panic, instead responding with a four-play, 65-yard scoring drive early in the second quarter engineered by none other than McSorley.
McSorley found tight end Mike Gesicki for a 19-yard grab, sparking a four-play, 65-yard scoring drive. On second-and-9, McSorley threw to wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who caught a 25-yard reception. McSorley then dashed into the end zone for a 20-yard rushing touchdown. Tyler Davis followed with the ensuing extra point to give the Nittany Lions the edge, 7-6.
Penn State's offense quickly found its footing as McSorley threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Hamilton to send the Nittany Lions into halftime leading 14-6 with time to make adjustments.
"It wasn't really too many adjustments, we weren't really executing," Gesicki said. "They gave us a few different looks that we weren't - not prepared for, but that we weren't really expecting. Just kind of understanding that and trusting that coach Moorhead is going to put us in the best situation to be successful."
At halftime, McSorley was 7-for-10 with 106 passing yards and 32 rushing yards. With both a rushing and passing touchdown for his 14th career outing with a score of each kind.
Both patient and resilient, it was Barkley who came out with back-to-back third quarter touchdowns for the Nittany Lions. Like his familiar boxing analogy, throw the jab, throw the jab and then hit 'em with the haymaker.
Barkley went untouched into the end zone twice, including once on a hook-and-ladder play that ignited the Beaver Stadium crowd.
"For me, it's pretty simple. Just take a couple of steps, throw Ham [DaeSean Hamilton] a catchable ball," McSorley said recounting the play. They did a really good job, kind of as we were coming we knew we had a free blitz off the edge so pointed him out, Saquon had to go kind of bluff him, give him a hit, escape and get out clean."
If you ask Hamilton, he'd say that it was Barkley who did all the work, but much to Barkley's personality, he begs to differ.
"I would disagree with that," Barkley said with a laugh. "Hammy did a great job. First of all, it was a great call by JoeMo [Joe Moorhead] seeing the defense, obviously we could see that they were blitzing. Hammy did a great job doing his responsibility and I was just trying to focus on keeping the width, so I was able to keep the pitch length and got the ball and that play, got to find a way to get in the end zone."
McSorley finished 16-for-21 with 214 yards. Responsible for three touchdowns, he moved to the top of the Nittany Lion record books passing Daryll Clark with 68 in his career.
"As a high school kid when you come to a place like this, you come here to compete and you dream of having success," McSorley said. "No one has the vision that they are going to come here and be mediocre. As a competitor, you hope to be great, win games, and have the big numbers. All of that stuff is great, and definitely something I'll be able to look back on and enjoy. It's definitely an honor from all the great players who've come to this program, and all of the tradition. To have my name in that conversation is a tremendous honor. A lot of that goes to the team and the coaches. Personal accolades and individual stuff doesn't happen without the team having success."