More than 71,000 fans descended on Beaver Stadium for Saturday’s annual Blue-White Game — once again making the game one of the most-attended in the nation.
The Blue team, which consisted mostly of first-teamers, upended White by a score of 21-10. But the score was mostly secondary, as is usually the case in intrasquad scrimmages.
Plenty of young players, such as true freshman linebacker Micah Parsons (8 tackles, 1 sack) and redshirt freshman quarterback Sean Clifford (58 passing yards, 1 TD), made their public debuts in a Penn State uniform. And, before the game, fans were treated to autograph sessions, an appearance by Franklin lookalike comedian Keegan-Michael Key and numerous other festivities around the stadium.
Player of the game
For a while, it looked like Trace McSorley would be the game MVP. A chalk, vanilla pick — but for a long time, the only answer.
That is, until Mac Hippenhammer caught a second touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The redshirt freshman, who hasn’t received as much attention this spring as classmate KJ Hamler, finished with four receptions for 43 yards and two scores. His first touchdown was a five-yard haul from McSorley on the afternoon’s opening drive. Hippenhammer’s second score — a 29-yard reception from Clifford — came with 1:44 to go in regulation.
Between the first and second quarters, James Franklin ushered a young girl named Brooke Fisher — a special guest of the team with Down’s Syndrome — to under center, where she took the snap and sprinted her way about 25 yards to the end zone. It was a nice moment, with the defense playing along and the crowd giving her a standing ovation.
Long play that wasn’t
KJ Hamler put his head in his hands in regret. The breakout player of camp almost came up with a jaw-dropping play, one that would perfectly punctuate a stellar spring.
Hamler hauled in a heave from Trace McSorley down the right sideline and sprinted for a 43-yard gain — but the speedster was caught by safety Lamont Wade. The sophomore defensive back, who is competing for time at a new position, stripped Hamler of the ball. Freshman linebacker Jesse Luketa, who trailed the play, was rewarded with a fumble recovery.
It was a mostly impressive moment for three up-and-comers. While he didn’t finish the play, Hamler’s long gain raised some eyebrows; Wade’s forced fumble showcased superb form; and Luketa’s hustle paid off.
Several honors were doled out during the spring game. Among them were the Red Worrell Award (most improved on offense), which went to running back Miles Sanders; the Jim O’Hora Award (most improved on defense), which went to defensive tackle Kevin Givens; the Coaches Special Teams Award, which went to running back Johnathan Thomas and the Frank Patrick Total Commitment Award, which went to both wideout Juwan Johnson and cornerback John Reid.