Penn State Spring Football Game: 5 Things That Matter
What do you need to know about what happened in the Penn State spring football game?
1. The Backup Quarterback Situation Is Solid
The top players were on the Blue, including QB Tracy McSorley, who completed 13-of-21 passes for 114 yards, and ran for seven yards. There’s no quarterback competition, and his job was to take target practice and get a little work in.
More importantly in a scrimmage like this, Tommy Stevens looked sharp, hitting 17-of-24 throws for 216 yards and three scores. He spread them around to three different receivers, connecting on his biggest play to Brandon Polk for a 50-yard score.
However, the quarterbacks on the White team sputtered and struggled, combining to complete 4-of-12 throws for 36 yards.
2. The Receivers Stepped Up
For a receiving corps that needs to replace Chris Godwin – but has some good targets returning – it was a good scrimmage.
Tight end Jonathan Holland led all receivers with eight catches for 62 yards, while the team’s leading returning wide receiver – DaeSean Hamilton – caught five passes for just 27 yards, and DeAndre Thompkins came up with a game-high 84 yards on five catches.
But it was the guy who had everyone buzzing all spring was able to show why on the big offseason stage.
The hypes’s been building around sophomore Juwan Johnson, who only caught two passes for 70 yards. He didn’t disappoint, coming up with seven catches for 81 yards and a score. He didn’t come up with anything deep – his biggest play was just 16 yards – but get ready for him to be McSorley’s new guy
3. The Other Backs
There was no reason for Saquon Barkley to risk and semblance of injury – he didn’t see the field. Considering no other running back carried the ball more than 29 times – Barkley ran 272 times – the more help, the better.
Mark Allen only ran for 115 yards on 29 carries as a sophomore, but he was the main man on Saturday with a game-high 63 yards on ten carries, highlighted by a 15-yard dash.
Andre Robinson might have been picked off on a pass attempt, but he ran fine with 34 yards on eight carries.
4. The Cam Brown Show
The now-sophomore linebacker got his feet wet last season, seeing time on special teams and a little bit on defense, coming up with a season-high ten tackles in the blowout loss to Michigan and following up with nine against Minnesota. That was about it, though.
On Saturday, he was everywhere, making seven tackles with a broken up pass for the Blue side, while fellow linebacker Jarvis Miller added a sack along with his seven stops.
5. 2016’s Success Doesn’t Matter Anymore
At least, it doesn’t according to head coach James Franklin.
The players received their Big Ten Championship rings, and now that’s it. This isn’t going to linger into the 2017 regular season, there won’t be a million ceremonies, and there won’t be any focus on anything else but what’s next.
The spring game was the final celebration of what last year’s team did. Now the Nittany Lions are moving on.