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Blue Tops White, 24-7, In Annual Spring Game


Courtesy of GoPSU Athletics

Photo by Tim Weight


61,000 fans watch Nittany Lions compete in scrimmage


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A perfect mix of clear skies and sun greeted Nittany Lion fans as 61,000 watched Blue top White, 24-7, in the annual Blue-White Game to close out the spring practice calendar for the Penn State football program. The game will be shown on tape-delay at 8 p.m.on Big Ten Network.


Inside the Numbers


Two – Touchdowns by Cain

Freshman running back Noah Cain found the end zone twice on Saturday, once for each team. The Baton Rouge native scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter for the White squad. He added an 8-yard touchdown reception, from sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford in the fourth quarter. Cain totaled 45 rushing yards on 12 carries and 13 yards on two catches.


Four – Red Zone Opportunities

The teams combined to go 4-for-4 in the red zone. The Blue team was 3-for-3, with two touchdowns and a field goal, while White converted one opportunity in the red zone. The Nittany Lions scored on nearly 90 percent of its opportunities inside the opposing 20 in 2018.


Four – Completions by Johnson

Freshman quarterback Michael Johnson Jr. completed all four of his first half pass attempts for the White squad. His four completions totaled 36 yards. Johnson led a touchdown drive in the second quarter. He found freshman wide out Henry Fessler for 15- and 7-yard completions and sophomore receiver Alec Berger hauled in a 9-yard reception. Cain finished the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.


Six – Sacks by Blue

The Blue squad found its way into the backfield frequently, tallying 10 tackles for loss and six sacks. Freshman defensive end Jayson Oweh, sophomore defensive tackle Damion Barber, junior defensive tackle Antonio Shelton, freshman linebacker Lance Dixon, sophomore defensive tackle PJ Mustipher and sophomore defensive tackle Fred Hansard each recorded a sack. Barber and Dixon collected two tackles for loss. Freshman defensive endAdisa Isaac recorded a sack for the White team.


Six – Tackles by Brooks, Smith

Sophomore linebacker Ellis Brooks led the Blue team with six tackles, including two solo. Freshman linebackerBrandon Smith tallied six stops to pace the White squad. Smith had three solo stops and broke up a pass.


35 – Yard Field Goal by Pinegar

Sophomore Jake Pinegar nailed a 35-yard field goal attempt to close the second quarter, giving the Blue team a 10-7 lead going into halftime. The field goal completed an eight-play, 31-yard drive led by Clifford. The Cincinnati native completed a 6-yard pass to freshman tight end Zack Kuntz and an 8-yard pass to sophomore running back Ricky Slade. Clifford added an 11-yard run and a 6-yard run to setup the field goal.


42.8 – Gillikin’s Punt Average

Senior punter Blake Gillikin seemed to already be in midseason form, averaging 42.8 yards on four punts. He hit a 42-yard punt in the first quarter. His long punt of the day was a 48-yard punt, fair caught at the White 10, in the second quarter and he added a 45-yard punt in the fourth quarter.


59 – Yard Touchdown Turns Into Scholarship

Fifth-year senior Dan Chisena caught a 59-yard touchdown pass from freshman Will Levis in the third quarter. Upon reaching the end zone, Head Coach James Franklin announced to the crowd that Chisena has earned a scholarship. Chisena was a walk-on for the football team in 2015 before joining the Penn State track & field team from 2016-18, where he was a scholarship and Big Ten title-winning sprinter. He returned to the football team as a walk-on in 2018.


77 – Yard Touchdown Drive

Clifford led a nine-play, 77-yard drive to give the Blue squad a 7-0 lead with 1:41 to go in the first quarter. Senior tight end Nick Bowers sparked the drive with a 19-yard catch and added a 35-yard reception later in the drive. Slade caught a 11-yard pass and had four carries, with his final carry going for a 1-yard score.


86Nittany Lions that saw the field in the Blue-White Game

With multiple position battles, continuing into Fall camp, and playing opportunities available, there were 86 student-athletes who saw the field on Saturday. Of the guys that saw the field, 10 of them were early enrollees, as Cain, Dixon, Keaton Ellis, Isaac, Johnson Jr., Ta’Quan Roberson, Tyler Rudolph, Smith, Brenton Strange and Anthony Whigan all saw playing time.


204Passing Yards by Blue

Clifford and Levis combined to throw for 204 yards and two touchdowns. Clifford completed 11-of-19 passes for 118 yards, including Cain’s 8-yard touchdown reception. Levis completed 4-of-7 attempts for 86 yards, including Chisena’s 59-yard score. Nine different players hauled in receptions for the Blue squad. Chisena had two grabs for 75 yards and Bowers had two catches for 54 yards. Clifford led Blue with six carries for 31 yards.


61,000Fans filled the stands

For the sixth-straight season, the Penn State faithful showed up in large numbers to cheer on the Penn State football student-athletes in the annual spring scrimmage. It marks the sixth year in a row with an attendance of 60,000 or more.


Award Winners

Six Nittany Lions were recognized for their spring practice efforts at halftime. Junior Yetur Gross-Matos was presented the Jim O’Hora Award, junior offensive linemanMichal Menet earned the Red Worrell Award and the trio of senior punter Blake Gillikin, junior running back Nick Eury and junior offensive lineman Will Fries 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 sixth-straight season, with sophomore safety Jonathan Sutherland garnering the honors. The award is given to the specialist who demonstrated loyalty, interest, attitude & improvement in spring practice. Thomas joins Sam Ficken, Joey Julius, Johnathan Thomas, Kyle Vasey and Tyler Yazujian as the awards winners.


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, Brendan Mahon, Juwan Johnson and Miles Sanders.


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, Garrett Sickels, Koa Farmer and Kevin Givens. The O’Hora Award was first presented in 1977.


The Frank Patrick Memorial “Total Commitment” Award goes to squad members in their third spring 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, Trace McSorley, Tommy Stevens and Josh McPhearson are among the previous recipients, along with John Reid, who earned the award last season. Patrick was a member of the Lions’ coaching staff from 1949-73.



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