STATE COLLEGE The Blue squad (defense) defeated the White team (offense) for the second consecutive season at this year's Penn State Blue-White game. The game was held on Saturday at Beaver Stadium in front of 28,000 fans.
Last season head coach Bill O'Brien changed the scoring for the Blue-White game in order to make things a little more interesting and by also awarding the offense for big plays and the defense for things like sacks, defensive touchdowns, and turnovers.
The scoring system awarded the offense six points for a touchdown, one point for a PAT, three points for a field goal and two points each for a big play (15 plus yards) and two consecutive first downs. The defense earned points by scoring a defensive touchdown (7 pts.), a turnover (6 pts.), sack (4 pts.), tackle for a loss (2 pts.) and forcing a three-and-out (1 pt.).
The Penn State offense (white) scored four touchdowns on the day. All six players that were involved in the scoring plays whether they threw, caught, or ran for the score will be a freshman or sophomore in the upcoming season.
On the defensive side of the ball the top seven tacklers all have freshman playing eligibility come August.
The 2013 Penn State Blue-White game may not have had the same buzz as last season's media spectacle, but there were still many interesting story lines and questions to be answered.
Of course like usual at Penn State, quarterback play is a big concern heading into the fall. As of right now the race looks to be between sophomore Steven Bench, sophomore Tyler Ferguson, and incoming freshman blue chipper Christian Hackenberg. "Hack" won't enter the fold until the summer, so Saturday's game was a chance for Bench and Ferguson to set themselves apart from one another.
Unfortunately, either quarterback really lit it up. Bench was 9-of-15 for 99 yards and a touchdown and Ferguson was also 9-for-15 for 90 yards and two touchdowns. They both had some nice throws here or there, but it seems until Hackenberg steps on campus that the two are still in a dead even tie for the starting quarterback position.
Head coach Bill O'Brien commented after the game that he's still not ready to make a decision on who his No.1 quarterback will be.
"What I'll do now is, I'm going to go back just by myself and I'm going to watch all the film from the spring over the next week. I think that both guys did some really good things. I've said that all spring. I'll say, no, I'm not any closer as I sit here right now," said O'Brien. "I'm just not any closer. But, I enjoy coaching both guys and eventually, obviously, we'll have to make a decision, but I'm not ready to make that right now."
A name that the average Penn State fan might not know is Akeel Lynch. The redshirt freshman was the Gatorade Player of the Year in New York his senior season where he rushed for over 2,000 yards. Last spring Lynch created some buzz with the Penn State coaches as he showcased his talents. Still, the decision was made to redshirt him.
However, Lynch is ready to go for the 2013 season and he showed that on Saturday as he rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown.
Lynch looks to be the other running back that will see a lot of time this season with 1,000 yard rusher Zach Zwinak also returning.
Zwinak left the game with a hand injury, although the severity of the injury is to be determined.
"I thought Akeel (Lynch) ran hard. I really did. Again, I gotta go back and watch that tape, but I thought he ran hard just from being down there on field level and watching him run the football," said O'Brien. "I'm always stressing with Akeel getting his pads down and running with his pads out over his toes and I think he did a good job of that today. He's a great guy, man. What a good kid."
O'Brien also stressed after the game that the Blue-White contest is very important because it's time on the field in game time situations. He was also quick to point out that guys are battling for positions and the Blue White game is an opportunity to earn a starting spot.
"It's the 15th practice. It's very, very important. Believe me, anytime you take the field, it's very important, but there were competitive spots on the line today, position battles and things like that," said O'Brien. "No question, I don't want to take anything away from that, but I want our guys to have fun. I mean, this is the best time of their lives. They're going to a great university, they're playing a spring game in front of thousands of fans in a stadium that, in my opinion, is the best stadium in the country. It's a fantastic atmosphere, so I just want these guys to have fun."
The game will re-air on the Big Ten Network tonight at 9 p.m.