McSorley, Blue Team Wins Penn State’s Blue-White Game

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) completed 23-of-27 passes and threw four scoring strikes to help the Blue team score 37 points on the afternoon, while the Blue defense pitched a shutout for a 37-0 victory over the White squad in the 2016 Blue-White Game inside Beaver Stadium on gorgeous spring afternoon.

(Photo of Trace McSorley by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here.)

Seventy Nittany Lions saw the field on the afternoon to the delight of 65,000 fans inside of the nation’s second-largest stadium.

Inside the Numbers
1 – Incompletions by McSorley in the first half
Sophomore quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) completed 18-of-19 passes (217 yards) in the first half. Of his 18 completions, three ended in the end zone, as he found Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J.), Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) and Tom Pancoast (West Chester) for touchdowns on the afternoon. McSorley found DeAndre Thompkins (Hubert, N.C.) for a 35 yard scoring strike in the third quarter.

1 – Interception by Oruwariye
Redshirt sophomore Amani Oruwariye (Tampa, Fla.) came away with the only turnover of the game, a first quarter interception of McSorley. He made the play at the opposition’s 16-yard line and the interception was the only incompletion of the half for McSorley.

2 – Points scored by defensive end Schwan
Fifth-year senior Evan Schwan (Harrisburg) sacked White squad QB Tommy Stevens in the end zone for a safety near of the end of the first quarter. The play resulted in two points for the Blue team and pushed the lead to 9-0 at the time. Schwan ended the afternoon with two tackles – including 1.5 tackles for loss – and the one sack.

3 – Quarterbacks played in the 2016 Blue-White Game
McSorley, Stevens and Billy Fessler (Erie) all saw time under center in the annual spring scrimmage. They all completed passes, with each of their final lines as follows:

McSorley – 23-of-27, 281 yards, 3 TD/1 INT
Stevens – 10-of-17, 100 yards, 0 TD/0 INT (Played for both Blue and White squads)
Fessler – 3-of-6, 33 yards, 0 TD/0 INT

6-for-6 – Blue team on third down
The Blue Team clicked off a perfect day on third down, going 6-for-6. They went 1-for-1 in the first quarter, 4-for-4 in the second quarter and 1-for-1 in the third quarter.

14 – Different Nittany Lions made a reception in the Blue-White Game
On the afternoon, 14 different Nittany Lions caught a pass between the Blue and White teams – with Mark Allen (Hyattsville, Md.) and Juwan Johnson (Glassboro, N.J.) catching a pass for each team. Nine of those players caught multiple passes in the game; Allen, Blacknall, Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.), Godwin, DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.) and Johnson.

15 – Passes caught by top four returning receivers/tight ends
The quartet of Blacknall, Gesicki, Godwin and Hamilton led the receiving corps on Saturday with 15 catches between them. Their individual numbers are below:

Blacknall – 5 for 45 yds., 1 TD
Gesicki – 3 for 30 yds.
Godwin – 3 for 48 yds., 1 TD
Hamilton – 4 for 67 yds.

28 – Yard touchdown run by Robinson
Redshirt freshman running back Andre Robinson (Mechanicsburg) broke off the longest run of the day for the rushing corps, a 28-yard touchdown scamper early in the fourth quarter. Robinson rushed for both teams, amassing 44 yards on seven carries. He also caught two passes for 13 yards.

Award Winners
Five Nittany Lions were recognized for their spring practice efforts at halftime. Fifth-year senior defensive end Evan Schwan (Harrisburg) was presented the Jim O’Hora Award, junior wide receiver Saeed Blacknall (Harrisburg) earned the Red Worrell Award and redshirt junior linebacker Brandon Smith (Winfield) and DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.) 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 third straight season, with fifth-year senior long snapper Tyler Yazujian (Royersford) garnering the honors. The award is given to the specialist who demonstrated loyalty, interest, attitude & improvement in spring practice. The first two winners of the award were Sam Ficken (2014) and Joey Julius (2015).

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, the 2014 recipient, and Brendan Mahon, the 2015 winner.

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 and the 2015 award winner Garrett Sickels. The O’Hora Award was first presented in 1977.

The Frank Patrick Memorial “Total Commitment” Award goes to junior class squad members 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 and 2015 recipients Adam Breneman and Dom Salomone are among the previous recipients. Patrick was a member of the Lions’ coaching staff from 1949-73.

Scoring Breakdown
The opening drive for the Blue squad ended with McSorley finding Godwin a 15-yard touchdown strike. On the drive, McSorley connected on all five of his pass attempts for 58 yards, including a 22-yard connection with Gesicki, as he hit four different receivers on the drive.

Schwan’s sack of Stevens in the end zone gave the blue jerseys a 9-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Following the free kick after the safety, McSorley quickly led the Blue on a 75-yard scoring drive, ending with his second TD pass of the afternoon, this time finding Blacknall for a 22-yard scoring strike. McSorley hit on all five of his pass attempts on the second scoring drive, as well. His five completions went for 66 yards, with two completions each to Blacknall and Hamilton.

Blue continued to add to its lead with a 12-play, 68-yard scoring drive to make it a 23-0 lead with under one minute to play in the second quarter. The drive was again stoked by the passing of McSorley, who went 4-of-4 for 62 yards and capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown toss to Pancoast on 2nd-and-goal.

Early in the third quarter, McSorley engineered a 9-play, 75-yard trek that ended with a 35-yard touchdown pass up the near sideline to Thompkins. McSorley connected with high school teammate Brandon Polk (Ashburn, Va.), Gesicki and Robinson for first down catches on the drive, before capping it with scoring throw to Thompkins.

The final scoring drive of the afternoon took only five plays and covered 84 yards, as Robinson broke the longest rush of the afternoon to find the end zone. Stevens came on to pilot the offense and completed all three of his passes – totaling 52 yards – and Robinson accounted for the other 32 yards on two rushes. Stevens opened the drive with a 27-yard completion to Polk, hit Thompkins for 12 yards and found Johnson for a 13-yard gain.

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