Blue-White highlights, lows
By Philip Cmor
UNIVERSITY PARK — Following are the highlights and lowlights from the Blue’s 26-0 victory over the White on Saturday at Beaver Stadium:
Play of the game: Brandon Polk tipped the ball to himself, snared it as he stepped past the defensive back and somersaulted into the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown pass from Tommy Stevens.
Offensive player of the game: After sitting the entire first half, Tommy Stevens came in and connected on 17 of 24 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns.
Defensive player of the game: With an opportunity placed before him because of John Reid’s injury, T.J. Johnson made five tackles, including one and a half for loss, picked off a pass and broke up a pass playing corner for the White.
Most telling statistic: Jonathan Holland hauled in eight passes and looked good doing it as the Nittany Lion coaches endeavored to build depth at a tight end position filled with questions beyond all-Big Ten Mike Gesicki.
Most deceiving statistic: With a roster filled with starters and then adding backup quarterback Stevens in the second half, the Blue had 26 first downs to the White’s one.
Hidden statistic: No injuries, at least none that were serious enough to be noticed.
Best run: Allen wiggled his way through the right side and weaved his way for 13 yards on a fourth-and-1 on the game’s first possession.
Best pass: Stevens hit DeAndre Thompkins right in the breadbasket deep downfield for a 50-yard gainer in the third quarter.
Worst pass: McSorley missed a wide-open Thompkins behind the defender around the 15. It might not have gone for a touchdown, but it certainly would have been close.
Best catch: Holland made a diving grab of a low McSorley bullet down the seam for 20 yards.
Best catch, part II: Juwan Johnson showed the reason for all the excitement about him this spring with a fingertip snag for a 5-yard pickup in the third quarter.
Catch it, will ya: Ayron Monroe dropped an easy interception inside the 10 on a McSorley overthrow in the second quarter.
Hold it, won’t ya: There were no fumbles.
Best block: Not so much one block, but the 5-foot-6, 181-pound Allen was consistently good in pass protection from the running back spot.
Best tackle: Monroe came in low and wrapped up Holland for a 2-yard loss on a flat pass that forced the Blue to settle for a field goal at the end of the first half.
Best hit: Quarterback’s weren’t supposed to be hit, but Shareef Miller blew by his blocker on Billy Fessler’s blind side and nearly broke the walk-on junior quarterback in half.
Worst tackle: See “best hit.”
Best kick: Tyler Davis sent a kickoff 6 yards deep into the northwest corner of the end zone.
Worst kick: Daniel Pasquerilla’s first punt went off the side of his foot and rolled out of bounds 36 yards downfield.
Best call: Eleven-minute quarters and a running clock.
Worst call: Allen trying to throw a halfback option pass back to Stevens early in the second half. T.J. Johnson was right there for the easy interception.
Best decision: Playing Stevens an entire half with the starters.
Worst decision: Reporter Travis Johnson fair-catching at his own 1 after Lion coach James Franklin challenged the media to field punts at halftime. He did make the catch, though.
Worst penalty: There were only five. Perhaps the illegal block that negated about 50 yards of return yardage following Monroe’s pick.
Best effort: The coaching staff juggled recruiting with team development all spring and did a phenomenal job. It paid off on Saturday with the commitments of blue-chip offensive tackles Nana Asiedu and Antwan Reed, who fill a major positional need in the 2018 class.
Unsung hero: Former Lion and NFL linebacker Tim Shaw, who is battling ALS, was back for the game and spent time with the team over the weekend.