Blue Defeats White 17-7 Highlighted By Nick Scott’s Electric Run
On a sparkling, sunshiny day in State College, Penn State wrapped up the spring practice season with the annual Blue-White scrimmage as the starter-heavy Blue side dominated White in a 17-7 victory in front of an estimated 68,000 fans.
How It Happened
Before the game even started, fans were treated to an exciting kicking competition between Penn State’s four kickers: Joey Julius, Tyler Davis, Nick Boumrhi, and Troy Stivason. Julius, standing at 5-foot-11, 244 pounds, figured to have the leg up (pun intended) in the competition, but was met with equal resistance as the kickers booted from 37, 42, 45, 55, and 59 yards. Though nobody was able to connect from 59, both Julius and Davis nailed 55-yarders, which ties the Penn State in-game record set by Chris Bahr in 1975.
When the game finally got underway, the Blue squad asserted its dominance led by Christian Hackenberg and Akeel Lynch. Hackenberg looked to pick up where he ended the season in the Pinstripe Bowl, developing a rhythm with sophomore receiver Saeed Blacknall in his first drive. Akeel Lynch would add the exclamation point, a 22-yard touchdown run between the tackles to give Blue an early 7-0 lead.
With Trace McSorely sidelined for the afternoon, true freshman Tommy Stevens stepped in for his first taste of game action at Beaver Stadium. The Indiana native struggled mightily, completing just 3-of-11 passes for 18 yards, adding another nine yards on two carries.
Following a defensive stop against White, the Blue squad marched down the field yet again, driving to the nine yard line after starting from their own 10. Geno Lewis ran rampant through the White defense, hauling in four catches on the drive. Blue would be denied the endzone this time, however, as Chris Gulla nailed a 25-yard field goal to give Blue a 10-0 lead.
After a run of early scoring, both offenses grinded to a halt thanks to some poor offensive line play. Hackenberg was sacked five times in the half, as the first-team offensive line was consistently beat by the third-team defense.
The Blue team took a 10-0 lead into the half, which marked the beginning of the second of two competitions: punting. Dan Pasquariello won the halftime punt-off over Robby Liebel, and will look to retain his punting duties after being relied upon for most of the second half of last season.
Following a punt from White, Hackenberg remained in the game and his first pass was picked off by Bryant Harper. On the ensuing White drive, Nick Scott announced his presence with a rumbling 52-yard touchdown run, refusing to go down as he shook tackles from Anthony Zettel and the rest of the first-team defense to cut into Blue’s lead, 10-7.
[Video] Redshirt running back Nick Scott refused to go down on his 52-yard touchdown run. (via Big Ten Newtork) http://t.co/qKzzYQgclG
— Onward State (@OnwardState) April 18, 2015
Hackenberg and Blacknall would answer for Blue, connecting on a 41-yard bomb down the sideline and then again for a quick slant for a touchdown to build the lead back to double digits, 17-7.
Scott finished with a game-high 77 yards on the ground, while Blacknall led all receivers with six receptions for 71 yards. Hackenberg was the game’s premier quarterback, finishing 17-for-29 with 180 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Quote of the Game
Franklin on Hackenberg: “His leadership is right on schedule. I see him talk with his teammates, his coaches a lot more.”
— Onward Sports (@OnwardStSports) April 18, 2015
We talked at length this week about Hackenberg’s maturity, and it showed itself on the field on Saturday. Pressed into more action with McSorley out, the junior led a number of impressive touchdown drives and showed impressive rapport with sophomore Saeed Blacknall. Penn State’s offense goes as Hackenberg goes, and with better communication, he figures to only stand to improve this season — a welcome sight for Nittany Lion fans.
Player of the Game
Nick Scott. The redshirt freshman burst onto the scene in a big way with his impressive 52-yard scoring burst, and made the most of his nine carries with 77 total yards. The backfield behind Lynch is crowded with Scott,Mark Allen, Brandon Johnson and the arrival of talented freshman Saquon Barkley and Andre Robinson, but Scott seperated himself on Saturday with an eye-opening run.