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Blue-White Game: Notes, Quotes, and Statistics

Looking to make something happen right away, Matt McGloin dropped back and aired a ball down the left sideline in the direction of Allen Robinson. Floating through the air, the pass looked good before hitting the ground a few yards ahead of Robinson as the wide receiver couldn’t quite catch up to it. That was the first play of the Blue-White game and proved to serve as a microcosm of the game as a whole: Tons of potential but ugly results in a contest that featured five interceptions and four total touchdowns as the defense (Blue) defeated the offense (White) 77-65. The new scoring system, which assigns points on a play-by-play basis, was unveiled earlier this week.

The offense turned out some big plays early on, but most of the second quarter belonged to the defense as they went into halftime leading 45-35 and never relinquished the lead in the second half. After the game, head coach Bill O’Brien said that those in attendance saw only “10 percent” of what his offense will look like in the fall. Below are some notes, observations, and statistics from what the announced crowd of 60,000 saw at Beaver Stadium today:

Let’s start with the quarterback numbers:

Matt McGloin: 6-13, 105 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT 

Paul Jones: 6-15, 113 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT 

Rob Bolden: 7-14, 78 yards 3 INT  

Those numbers don’t exactly look pretty. The only quarterback to complete more than fifty percent of his passes was Shane McGregor who is not thought to be a serious candidate for the starting job.

Paul Jones arguably played better than that completion percentage shows, and it’s clear who the fan favorite to win the job is as Jones received loud applause upon entering the game for the first time. He was able to escape pressure most of the day and showed off his arm strength with a forty two yard strike across the field to Shawney Kersey.

Jones wants this job badly. After the game, he mentioned that he cried before every game during the 2010 season because he “wanted to play so bad.” There were several throws that Jones just missed, and if he can improve his accuracy, he is easily capable of winning this job in the summer.

McGloin played essentially a typical McGloin game. He started slow, and there was an ugly interception, but he was able to move the offense including a touchdown pass to receiver Christian Kuntz. The general consensus is that McGloin will go into the summer as the favorite, given his experience.

I wrote yesterday that Bolden really needed a strong showing, and he really did not get it. There were brief moments when it looked like he had something going only to see a drive end with an interception. One scrimmage doesn’t necessarily decide a quarterback race, but if it did, Bolden would be a distant third behind McGloin and Jones right now.

Quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher said after the game that he and Bill O’Brien are in no hurry to make a decision regarding the quarterbacks. No surprise there.

On to non-quarterback related matters:

  • Bill Belton looks really good. Belton who switched positions from wide receiver to running back in the spring, ran for 50 yards on seven carries including a seven yard touchdown run. He was shifty and fast, and should ease some worries regarding the lack of running back depth.
  • Allen Robinson also looked great. There was the missed connection with McGloin, but the sophomore wideout finished with 87 yards on three receptions.
  • Expect a lot of throws over the middle of the field come September. Three different tight ends (Jesse James, Gary Gilliam, Matt Lehman) recorded receptions today, and several receivers were targeted over the middle of the field.
  • Redshirt freshman Donovan Smith started at right tackle while Adam Gress protected the blindside.
  • Adrian Amos played a lot of safety today. After the game, he said he could play either corner or safety, as defensive coordinator Ted Roof mentioned that a lack of depth in the secondary is definitely a concern. That is worth monitoring as spring turns to summer.
  • The front four looked solid especially defensive ends Brad Bars and C.J. Olaniyan who were both constantly in the backfield harassing the quarterbacks.
  • The linebackers were  tough to evaluate with several projected starters not playing much. Overall, this position should be the least of the team’s worries.
  • A buzz was created with the news that Chicago Bears all-pro linebacker Brian Urlacher was in attendance. It was later confirmed that Urlacher is friends with Tim Bream, a Penn State trainer who was formerly with the Bears.
  • Several recruits with offers from Penn State were in attendance today. While no one else has committed yet, it is something to monitor in the coming days and weeks.
What was learned from these above bullets you might ask? That remains to be seen. Penn State appears to have a defense with depth questions but also potential, a capable backup running back, and a head coach with an innovative new look offense still searching for the right quarterback to run it.

Offensive line coach Mac McWhorter said after the game that coaches would watch film tomorrow and then hit the road recruiting on Monday.

We”ll have some more football stuff in the coming days including an Observations feature from Kevin Horne before a long summer featuring another quarterback competition hits.

For a photo album from the game, check out our Facebook page.

About the Author

Drew Balis

Drew is a senior marketing major. This fall, he will be covering Penn State Football for Onward State. He is a huge Philadelphia sports fan and loves THON and Domonic Brown.

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