UNIVERSITY PARK – The sights, sounds and smell of football season filled the air on Saturday at Penn State’s annual Blue-White Game, as the Blue toppled the White, 26-0. White forced the only two turnovers in the game – a pair of interceptions – but three second-half touchdown passes by sophomore Tommy Stevens (Indianapolis) led Blue to the victory.
Sixty-nine Nittany Lions saw the field on the afternoon in front of 71,000 fans, the fourth-largest Blue-White Game crowd since 1994.
Inside the Numbers
Minus-23 – Rushing Yards for the White Team
Assistant coach Sean Spencer preaches teaching the Art of Chaos and that was on full display as the Blue defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage to the tune of minus-23 rushing yards for White. Eight of Blue’s 18 tackles came from the defensive front, led by Shareef Miller’s (Philadelphia) team-high-tying four stops. Parker Cothren (Huntsville, Ala.) chipped in two stops for the line, as well.
2 – Interceptions for White
Sophomore Ayron Monroe (Largo, Md.) and redshirt-freshman T.J. Johnson (Cleveland, Ohio) each came away with interceptions on the afternoon to help the White defense keep the game close until the final minutes.
2 – Made field goals by Tyler Davis
Continuing his hot-streak from the 2016 campaign, fifth-year senior Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.) knocked in a pair of field goals to open the scoring for Blue. He hit from 43 yards out on the right hash mark with 2:30 to play in the first quarter and ended the half with a 24-yarder that split the uprights in the south end zone. He also made both extra point attempts in the game.
3 – Touchdown passes for Stevens
Completing 17-of-24 passes, Stevens racked up 216 yards passing – 12.7 yards per completion – and connected with three different targets on scoring strikes. His first scoring strike was a touch pass to Andre Robinson (Mechanicsburg) along the visiting sideline near the end of the third quarter. He hit Brandon Polk (Ashburn, Va.) for a 31-yard score with 6:57 left in the fourth quarter and capped the game with a TD pass to Juwan Johnson (Glassboro, N.J.) from 15 yards out as time expired.
5 – Sacks for Blue
Blue defenders piled up five sacks – albeit without bringing a quarterback to the ground – as Miller led the way with a pair of QB takedowns. Torrence Brown (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Colin Castagna (Barrington, Ill.) and Curtis Cothran (Newtown, Pa.) each compiled one sack in the contest.
5 – Nittany Lions attempted passes
Along with Stevens, four other Nittany Lions attempted passes in the Blue-White Game. The attempts were as follows;
Tommy Stevens – 17-of-24, 216 yards, 3 TD/0 INT
Trace McSorley – 13-of-21, 114 yards, 0 TD/1 INT
Jake Zembiec – 2-for-8, 14 yds, 0 TD/0 INT
Billy Fessler – 2-for-4, 22 yds, 0 TD/0 INT
Andre Robinson – 0-for-1, 0 TD/1 INT
10 – Different Nittany Lions with at least one reception
Blue spread the ball around to eight different receivers, while three pass catchers hauled in receptions for White. Jonathan Holland (Brandywine, Md.) led Blue with eight grabs for 62 yards, while Joe Arcangelo (Clarks Summit) led White with two grabs for 15 yards. Johnson hauled in seven passes for 81 yards and DeAndre Thompkins (Hubert, N.C.) made five catches for a game-high 84 yards. Mark Allen (Hyattsville, Md.), Irvin Charles (Sicklerville, N.J.), DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.), Josh McPherson (Columbia, Md.), Polk and Robinson also made grabs in the game.
Six Nittany Lions were recognized for their spring practice efforts at halftime. Junior linebacker Koa Farmer(Lake View Terrace, Calif.) was presented the Jim O’Hora Award, sophomore wide receiver Juwan Johnson (Glassboro, N.J.) earned the Red Worrell Award and the trio of fifth-year senior Josh McPhearson (Columbia, Md.), junior Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) and sophomore Tommy Stevens (Indianapolis) were selected by the coaching staff as the recipient of the Frank Patrick Memorial Award.
The Coaches Special Team Award was handed out for the fourth-straight season, with junior long snapper Kyle Vasey (Hawley, Pa.) garnering the honors. The award is given to the specialist who demonstrated loyalty, interest, attitude & improvement in spring practice.
The Worrell Award is presented to the offensive player who has best demonstrated exemplary conduct, loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement during spring practice. The prize was first presented in 1958 and is named in the honor of the late Red Worrell, a high school All-American from Centerville HS who was tragically electrocuted in an accident after an exceptional season on the 1957 Nittany Lion freshman team. Past Worrell Award winners include former offensive coordinator Fran Ganter, Lydell Mitchell, Mickey Shuler, Steve Smith, Kyle Brady, Bryant Johnson, Rodney Kinlaw, Graham Zug, Matt Stankiewitch, Ty Howle, Brian Gaia and Brendan Mahon.
The defensive award is named in honor of Jim O’Hora, a long-time Penn State assistant coach who was a member of the coaching staff for 31 years. Loyalty and attitude especially characterized Jim O’Hora and has typified many of the previous winners, including Walker Lee Ashley, Andre Collins, Michael Haynes, Anthony Adams, Tim Shaw, Michael Mauti, Jordan Hill and Stephon Morris, Jordan Lucas, C.J. Olaniyan, Anthony Zettel and Garrett Sickels. The O’Hora Award was first presented in 1977.
The Frank Patrick Memorial “Total Commitment” Award goes to squad members who consistently follow through with their responsibilities in all facets of the football program and do so in exemplary manner. This includes academic pursuits, off-season preparation, in-season commitment, demeanor and community service. Jeff Hartings, Wally Richardson, Justin Kurpeikis, Bryan Scott, Robbie Gould, Josh Hull, John Urschel, Miles Dieffenbach, Mike Hull are among the previous recipients. Patrick was a member of the Lions’ coaching staff from 1949-73.