Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Trace McSorley was down, but not out, Saturday after limping off the field favoring his right leg during the second quarter against Iowa. McSorley was injured when hit by two Iowa Hawkeyes while scrambling.
"It's kind of cramped,'' McSorley said.
After being checked on the sideline, McSorley shared an emotional embrace with his father, who leaned over the railing from the stands to talk with his son.
"He was just telling me that he loved me, just keep pushing. He knew I had it in me and at that point I just kind of needed those words from him," said an emotional McSorley. "(He was) just showing his trust and ... he's my rock and I love everything that he does for me. So for him to say that at that time I really needed that."
McSorley returned later in the quarter after missing two offensive series, then sparked a 30-24 victory with a second-half performance that had head coach James Franklin singing McSorley's praises.
"He's the toughest football player in college football. He's been a winner for four years," Franklin said. "I can't describe the type of player he is. He's the best player in college football."
Franklin said he'd planned to start backup Tommy Stevens to open the second half, but let McSorley convince him otherwise.
"Trace has earned the right to tell us if he thinks he can go,'' Franklin said. "I said: 'Look, I need to have the whole package. I can't just have a pro-style quarterback. I got to have more than that.'"
Wearing a knee brace, McSorley scampered 51 yards on Penn State's first possession of the third quarter to give the Lions a 24-17 lead.
"I wasn't really going to know (how well I could play) until I got out there,'' said McSorley, who finished with 167 yards passing and 63 rushing.
McSorley led the Lions to a pair of field goals the rest of the way, but also threw an interception that Iowa's Geno Stone returned for a 24-yard touchdown that cut Penn State's lead to 27-24.
After having lost two consecutive home games, McSorley said it was important to be on the field with his teammates when the game was on the line.
"Everything in me wanted to be back on this field fighting with those guys," McSorley said. "We go through too much to miss opportunities like this, so everything I wanted, in my body, wanted to be back out here fighting with them."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.