Penn State names Sacca starter for Big Ten debut

September 01, 1993|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

Joe Paterno picked Penn State's starting quarterback yesterday, opting for experience over potential, and John Sacca over Wally Richardson and Kerry Collins.

In his weekly teleconference, Paterno said that neither Richardson nor Collins had done enough in the preseason to unseat Sacca as the No. 1 quarterback going into Penn State's Big Ten debut against Minnesota on Saturday.

"My thinking was that when we went into preseason, somebody had to beat John out," Paterno said. "I felt John had played well last year, maybe a little better than Kerry. Nobody beat John out."

Sacca, a senior with two years of eligibility remaining, went 3-2 as a starter last season when injuries forced Paterno to employ a revolving door at quarterback. Collins, another senior with two .. years left, went 2-3 as a starter. Richardson won his only start as a freshman, and pulled out a victory over Cincinnati after Sacca injured his collarbone.

"With our offense, which is decimated by injury, we have to have some people who have experience,"Paterno said. "Wally and I talked about it, and we probably will redshirt Wally. But I don't want to make that decision until we've played a couple of games."

Richardson completed 22 of 34 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns in the Blue-White game last spring. Sacca went 15-for-31 for 195, one touchdown and one interception, and directed the winning drive in a 15-14 Blue victory.

Of the two seniors, Sacca is the more accurate passer (completing 52 percent to Collins' 47), but Collins is more mobile. Collins was hampered by an injury to the index finger on his passing hand last season. He had off-season surgery on the finger and missed spring practice.

Paterno said he does not plan on making weekly quarterback decisions.

"We're not going into it game-to-game," he said. "We're going into it that John Sacca has the job. Obviously, we want to keep Kerry ready to play at any time. I talked to Kerry about a couple of scenarios where he'd played a series of downs [against Minnesota]. To his credit, he said if he was the [starter], he wouldn't want somebody looking over his shoulder."

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