Payton Thorne: A-
Given everything that was lined up against Payton Thorne, I thought he played a (expletive) good game.
No Jayden Reed, no offensive line, no run game. The odds were stacked up against him versus Washington and this was after a shaky start to the season. All signs were pointing to him struggling yet again but he didn’t crumble like everyone was expecting.
The junior quarterback stepped up and was one of the lone bright spots from the loss on Saturday night. He could have called it a night when the score was 22-0 following some questionable play-calling, terrible defense, and an inexcusable safety after a goal-line stop and Washington turnover. He didn’t. Thorne stepped up and made plays with his arm and his legs.
Thorne took two sacks which people hated on, but I was actually encouraged that he did that instead of throwing a bad interception (which he did twice vs. Akron). He evaded pressure all night as he was running for his life the second the ball was snapped and he made some nice plays.
Even his interception wasn’t 100 percent on him as he was almost the victim of a safety on an untouched blitzer in the end zone. He definitely should have tossed the ball away or tucked and ran, but he missed Germie Bernard to the right and into a defender’s waiting arms.
I was impressed by Thorne’s toughness and grit and he wasn’t overthrowing or underthrowing receivers (finally). He finished 30-for-42 with 323 yards and three touchdowns. He almost willed the Spartans back into this game.