Quarterback Trace McSorley returned to Penn State's game against Kentucky on Tuesday with what might have been a broken right foot and led the Lions to a rally that fell just short in the VRBO Citrus Bowl.
Penn State coach James Franklin and McSorley said postgame that it was unclear whether the foot was broken, but they expected to have definitive word after further examination. A Penn State spokesperson said the school would not publicly update his injury status.
"Trace was experiencing some discomfort," Franklin said after the game. He said the doctors cleared McSorley to play and left the decision to him.
McSorley, whose right foot was in a walking boot, said initially he thought he wouldn't be able to play.
"A lot of pain, local pain in the spot [of the injury]," he said. "When I came out, I felt I couldn't run regularly. I wanted to be 100 percent for the team. The team needs me to be mobile."
The senior quarterback said that after he walked around for a bit, he felt better.
"Adrenaline kicked in and I was able to get back out there," he said.
McSorley was injured late in the second quarter. Several reporters posted on social media that a Penn State official told them in the third quarter that McSorley had a broken foot and was done for the game.
Backup Sean Clifford came in for one drive to begin the second half, but then McSorley replaced him. McSorley's first drive of the second half ended in an interception. But the senior scored a rushing touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run to pull Penn State within 27-14, then led a six-play, 60-yard drive that culminated with an 18-yard pass to Pat Freiermuth that made it a one-score game.
After a defensive stop, with Penn State down six points and just over four minutes left, McSorley drove the Lions to Kentucky's 14 with a chance to win the game. On fourth-and-7 with 4:12 remaining, Franklin opted for a short field goal and the game ended 27-24.
Last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Penn State alum Saquon Barkley tweeted his admiration for McSorley after the game.
A three-year starter, McSorley led the Lions to a 31-9 mark and holds numerous school records, including throwing for 77 touchdowns and 9,899 yards. In the second half Tuesday, he completed 10 of 16 passes for 151 yards with a touchdown and an interception and rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown. Once the doctors said it was up to him whether he could return, his mind was made up.
"They were going to have to rip my pads off of me," McSorley said. "I've been through too much, and we've been through too much as a team."