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Another successful Blue & White Game in the Books 

Written by: Paul Alberici

68,000 fans came out to enjoy the annual Blue & White Spring Practice

68,000 fans came out to enjoy the annual Blue & White Spring Practice on Saturday April 18, 2015

It seems that no matter the weather, no matter the time of year and no matter the importance of the game, if you put the Nittany Lions on the field of Beaver Stadium, the fans will cheer them on.

That was once again proven on Saturday, April 18, as 68,000 fans watched the Nittany Lions split their squad for the Blue & Whiteintrasquad game, which had the blue squad claiming victory 17-7.

This annual practice game offers Nittany Lion fans a chance to see some of their returning stars as well as new and up-and-coming talents that they may have never heard of. This also presents an opportunity to just be at the legendary Beaver Stadium during what would normally be the off-season.

The teams are divided among first-team players wearing the blue uniforms while the second-team players don the white uniforms. The coin toss determined that the blue squad would start the game off with the ball.

On their opening drive, the blue squad was stopped on the white squad’s 37 yard-line, only to have the drive kept alive by a personal foul. This resulted in a fresh set of downs and extra 15 yards, which Akeel Lynch took full advantage of and ran for a 22-yard touchdown run to get the scoring started early in the 1st quarter. Tack on a field goal and the half would end 10-0, blue.

It really became a running back showcase between the blue squad’s senior Akeel Lynch and sophomore Nick Scott of the white squad. Lynch would finish the day with 50 total yards rushing off of nine carries, averaging about 5.6 yards per carry. However Scott had the same amount of carries and was able to gain a total of 77 yards in the game, averaging an impressive 8.6 yard per carry, including a 51-yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter to finally put the white squad on the board. These two showing up big in the game is reassuring considering how inconsistent the rush was last year for the Lion’s offense.

The receivers were also getting involved in the game, mainly for the blue squad. Senior Geno Lewis caught six passes for a total of 61 yards in the game, while sophomore Saeed Blacknall caught just as many passes for 71 yards and a touchdown to show for it which would put the cap on the Blue & White game and preserve the blue squad’s victory.

Now, this game may offer the fans a chance to see their Nittany Lions in action, but it also offers the coaches to see what looks good and works as well as what needs to be worked on.

“Overall, we got we wanted to get out of it,” Head Coach James Franklin said. “We were able to mix the run and the pass.”

Upcoming junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg played the majority of the game went 17-29-1 (that interception led to the Scott touchdown in the third quarter) for a total of 180 yards.However, he was also sacked a total of 5 times throughout the game, which was the trend for most of last season with the young and injured offensive line.

“Our defensive line still holds a distinct advantage over the offensive line and that’s something we are going to continue work on through the off season,” Franklin said.

One of the biggest factors that coach Franklin thought went successfully was that they were able to have two full squads to get everybody’s reps in. This was useful in helping simulate a real life game atmosphere while also serving as a chance to see what did work.

Another aspect that was important to the game Franklin said was the emphasis on recruiting. At his press conference, Franklin even emphasized it with multiple potential recruits watching from the upper level, prompting cheers and applause.

With the overall success of the practice game and some potential recruits already signing on to join the program for their freshman season, along with full recruiting tools back once again with scholarships and the ability to compete in playoff games, it will be interesting to see what this coming season will bring for the Nittany Lions.

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