59 Years of Blue and White

Former Penn State football coach Rip Engle. Coach Engle established the first Blue and White game in 1951.

You say ‘tomato’, I say ‘tomahto’. You say ‘spring football scrimmage’, well we say ‘Blue and White weekend!’

This tradition, which we have come to know as the overdue midpoint between the next football season and the previous, has ingrained itself into Penn State lore just as much as the grilled sticky and the Creamery. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what makes the Blue and White game so special, but it can be argued that no other school in the country celebrates this history-rich spring football game like the crazies here at Penn State.

It is a history-rich football game, indeed. Fifty nine years ago, Penn State’s freshly hired head coach Rip Engle established the traditional Blue and White game (yes, there have been other coaches besides JoePa!). However, Engle might have a rough time recognizing this weekend’s scrimmage  as the same tradition he created in 1951.

That first spring scrimmage was played on the State College High School’s football field in front of a crowd of 500, give or take a couple. Today, it is played in front of crowds up to 80,000, not including the thousands of tailgaters who won’t find the stadium. To add even more power to the punch, Saturday’s game will be aired on ESPN 2 beginning at 2 p.m.

Don’t be misunderstood; there are similarities. The teams were split up, blue versus white, to find potential starters for the upcoming fall, and Joe Paterno claims fame to being involved with both the inaugural Blue and White game and this Saturday’s. He was an assistant coach at the time, following Coach Engle from Paterno’s Alma mater, Brown University.

Get this, though! It was actually more expensive to attend 1951’s game ($1.00, $0.50 for students) than it will be to attend Saturday’s (free admission).

Just about everything else has improved too–even beyond the actual game. Now there are live bands, golf tournaments, carnivals, and ferry wheels, not to mention that the game is played in the gorgeous Beaver Stadium. Check out the weekend’s schedule. See everyone at the game!


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About the Author

Tim Owen

I am originally from a very small town in northeastern Pennsyltucky, called Athens. Currently, I am enrolled in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism and major in print journalism. I have a passion for sports, and more specifically football. I enjoy hunting, cooking, food, and everything Penn State!


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