Blue White Illustrated

Blue White Postgame

Penn State Sports Magazine

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classmates, K.J. Hamler, took an end- around 10 yards to set up the Blue's sec- ond score. Hamler showed off his tremendous speed on that play, and he showed it again later in the quarter on a 43-yard completion from McSorley. Un- fortunately for the young wideout, that play ended in disappointment, as safety Lamont Wade was able to jar the ball loose for a drive-killing turnover. Still, with wheels like that, it was easy to envi- sion Hamler becoming the kind of field- stretching threat that Penn State will be looking for in order to keep its big-play offense humming along this fall. The offensive line, meanwhile, helped the Blue control the game throughout the first half. The team's top linemen – Ryan Bates, Will Fries and Chasz Wright at tackle, Steven Gonzalez and Michal Menet at guard and Connor McGovern at center – were able to take charge of the line of scrimmage, hardly an unexpected development given that they were facing the reserves on a defensive line that still needs to develop depth at tackle. The Blue averaged 5.1 yards per carry and surrendered only one sack. The Blue offense bogged down in the second half when McSorley retreated to the sideline for the duration of the aBer- noon. The veteran quarterback exited aBer hitting 10 of 14 passes for 107 yards, and the White put together a short-lived comeback behind reserve QB Jake Zem- biec, who finished with six completions on 12 attempts for 39 yards and a touch- down. The result was a fairly competi- tive-seeming final score – Blue 21, White 10 – but a game in which the first-team- ers were in charge most of the day. "I'd like to see us play at a little bit higher level, but part of that is not having some guys like Tommy Stevens avail- able," coach James Franklin said. "We were a little thin at the quarterback po- sition come the end of spring ball, but I'd still like to see the White team – our [sec- ond-team] offense and our [second- team] defense – make it a little more competitive than it was. But overall I'm pleased with what we were able to get done this spring, and I was pleased with what we were able to get done today." Other than those flashes of youthful po- tential, which included a late 29-yard touchdown pass from Clifford to Hippen- hammer, the spring game didn't appear to be any more revealing than its predeces- sors and might actually have been less re- vealing due to the number of key players who either saw limited action or sat out entirely. Miles Sanders, the Lions' pro- jected starter at running back, carried only three times for 6 yards. Stevens, the breakout star of last year's game, didn't see action at all, although he did dress. In addition, the team's top returning re- ceiver, Juwan Johnson, watched from the sideline with a protective boot on his leB foot, and tight end Jonathan Holland was held out, too. There were also a few note- worthy absences on defense, including cornerback John Reid, defensive tackle Robert Windsor and defensive end Ryan Buchholz, all projected starters. Still, the point of the annual Blue- White exhibition is for both players and fans to have a good time, and with sunny skies above and 71,000 in the stadium – it was the third-highest attendance total in the country so far this spring – the Lions could hardly have asked for a better atmosphere in which to wrap up their off-season drills. Nobody seemed to be having a better time on Saturday than Franklin. Freed from sideline duty, he brought to the game all the lighthearted flair of a late night talk show host, glad-handing with people in the crowd and clowning with BTN sideline reporter Anthony Adams and actor Keegan-Michael Key, the latter having parlayed his uncanny Franklin impersonation into something akin to a part-time job. With all of the improvisational comedy, there probably wasn't a funnier spring game in the country this year. It was cer- tainly a radical departure from the Pa- terno era, when much of the game's entertainment value came from Joe Pa- terno's on-air admonitions to his players during the radio broadcast, for which he served as color commentator. As former Nittany Lion great Matt Millen said dur- ing BTN's broadcast, "Joe would have flipped if he'd seen this stuff." The next time the Nittany Lions set foot on this field – on Sept. 1 vs. Ap- palachian State – the stakes will be a lot higher and the atmosphere a lot less comedic. But on Blue-White Saturday, a good time was had by all. "We were able to get some great work in in the stadium, in front of the crowd," said Franklin, with Key seated alongside him at the postgame news conference. "We stayed healthy today, which is obvi- ously a big part of it, as well. And we had a great environment. I can't reinforce enough how appreciative we are of the fans and how much support we get. … It's special. There are very few places in the country like this. "I thought we got a lot out of today," he added. "I thought we got a lot out of this spring. But we have a lot of work to do between now and training camp to be the type of team that we want to be in the fall." SCORING SUMMARY 1ST 5:39 Blue Hippenhammer, M. 5-yard pass from McSorley, Trace (Landis, Carson kick) 12 plays, 75 yards, TOP 5:21.........................................................7-0 2ND 7:43 Blue Allen, Mark 1-yard run (Landis, Carson kick) 14 plays, 70 yards, TOP 6:44.....................................................14-0 3RD 1:16 White Landis, Carson 34-yard field goal 11 plays, 21 yards, TOP 6:33........................................................14-3 4TH 6:16 White Arcangelo, Joe 3-yard pass from Zembiec, Jake (Landis, Carson kick) 8 plays, 65 yards, TOP 4:42.....................................................14-10 1:44 Blue Hippenhammer, M. 29-yard pass from Clifford, Sean (Landis, Carson kick) 6 plays, 65 yards, TOP 2:00.................................................... 21-10 A P R I L 2 1 , 2 0 1 8 B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . c O M 2

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