The weather this spring in Happy Valley has been somewhat unpleasant but it broke just in time for the annual Blue-White game. It was sixty-degrees and sunny inside of Beaver Stadium for the 3 p.m. start. Many of the tailgating fans were making their way into the stadium as play began.
Mac Hippenhammer caught a pass from Trace McSorley on the first play of the game. Two Miles Sanders carries were good enough for the initial first down. McSorley led the team down the field with a few carries of his own from scrimmage. Hippenhammer caught a six-yard pass for the first touchdown of the game.
Pat Chambers was interviewed early during the Big Ten broadcast. It is expected that the Penn State basketball coach will soon sign a long-term contract following a great NIT Championship season. There were many members of the Penn State community in attendance to enjoy the festivities.
The first series on defense went well for the blue side, which featured the starters that were available to play. After a couple of short gains, it forced a Blake Gillikin punt. Mark Allen had a few great plays on the next drive with the starting offense before coming off the field walking gingerly. He returned following the break for the end of the first quarter and had some nice carries on the drive. KJ Hamler showed a flash of speed on a play that nearly went for a touchdown before Allen finished off the drive with a solid run.
Nick Tarburton and Micah Parsons made their debuts on the following drive for the blue defense. The two young defensive players have been greatly anticipated and they passed the eyeball test.
Keegan Michael-Key made a comedic appearance on the sideline, with James Franklin joining in, between the first-half action. Shortly after, Justin Vranic made a tackle for the white squad. Vranic is a seldom-used linebacker, he had just one tackle in 2017, but the Blue-White game is a chance for players such as he to run around and make some plays. There was a wide variety of appearances, both on and off the field, during the broadcast.
Freshman linebacker Jesse Luketa recovered a fumble later in the drive. On the play, redshirt freshman KJ Hamler made a nice catch but then fumbled while running. Lamont Wade caused the fumble, reaching in from behind while making the tackle from his spot at safety.
Sean Clifford relieved Trace McSorley as Tommy Stevens is recovering from a foot injury and was held out of the game. Clifford led a brief drive just before halftime in his first experience with the Lions.
After a short break, Keegan Michael-Key led the Penn State team out of the locker room. He was interviewed by former Lion Anthony Adams afterwards.
Keegan Michael-Key called the first play for the second-half and we are underway. pic.twitter.com/TOoJ6BLwnp— Black Shoe Diaries (@BSDtweet) April 21, 2018
Clifford continued at quarterback for the blue squad in the second-half. On the first drive of the series, Frank Di Leo recovered a Johnathan Thomas fumble. Journey Brown had a good showing at running back for the white squad on the next drive. Brown had a couple of nice carries but the drive sputtered out in the red zone. Carson Landis hit a field goal to cap off the drive and it was 14-3 in favor of the blue side.
The white side took the ball the next time it got a chance and drove down the field, finishing with a short touchdown pass. Micah Parsons was responsible for coverage on the play but he gave a little too much cushion. It’s a learning experience that the young linebacker will use over the summer. Joe Arcangelo caught the pass from Jake Zembiec.
Sean Clifford hit Mac Hippenhammer for the final score of the day. It was 21-10 in favor of the blue squad when all was said and done.
There did not appear to be any serious injuries during the game.