Record Crowd Of 73,000 Turns Out For Blue-White Game
April 19, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., April 19, 2008 -- A record crowd of 73,000 fans turned out on a beautiful as 80-degree day for Penn State's annual Blue-White Game in Beaver Stadium. The Blue captured a 27-14 victory, as quarterbacks Darryl Clark (Youngstown, Ohio) and Pat Devlin (Downingtown) were a combined 13 of 21 for 166 yards and three touchdowns.
The game was the highlight of Blue-White Weekend. The estimated crowd of 73,000 broke last year's record of 71,000. More than 40,000 fans have attended the game in 10 of the past 13 years, with rainy conditions during the other three contests.
Four Nittany Lion players were recognized for their efforts during halftime of the game. Sophomore defensive tackle Abe Koroma (Hershey) presented the Jim O'Hora Award and junior wide receiver James McDonald (Washington, D.C.) the Red Worrell Award. The Nittany Lion coaching staff singled out Koroma and McDonald as the players who have best demonstrated exemplary conduct, loyalty, interest, attitude and improvement during spring practice.
The Worrell Award is presented to the offensive player whose spring contribution is most worthy of special tribute. 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 assistant coach Fran Ganter, Lydell Mitchell, Kyle Brady, Bryant Johnson and last year's winner wideout Terrell Golden.
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 and last year's winner, cornerback Lydell Sargeant. The O'Hora Award was first presented in 1977.
Presented today for the 14th time, 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. Patrick was a member of the Lions' coaching staff from 1949-73.
On the second play of the game, redshirt freshman Stephfon Green (Bronx, N.Y.) found an opening and zipped to a 57-yard touchdown run to give the White a 7-0 lead. Green finished as the game's leading rusher with 87 yards on 12 carries for a superlative 7.2 average.
The Blue took its first possession to paydirt as well. A 35-yard pass from senior wideout Derrick Williams (Greenbelt, Md,) to classmate Deon Butler (Woodbridge, Va,.) took the ball to the White 12. Clark completed an eight-yard pass to senior WR Jordan Norwood (State College) and sophomore tailback Evan Royster (Fairfax, Va.) scored from four yards out to make it 7-7 just 3:55 into the contest.
On the Blue's second possession, Clark completed a 22-yard pass to tight end Mickey Shuler (Enola). Three plays later, Clark fired a 33-yard scoring strike to Williams, to give the Blue a 14-7 lead with 2:05 left in the opening period.
Midway through the second quarter, the White squad tied the game. Senior quarterback Paul Cianciolo (Charleston, S.C.) hit redshirt freshman tight end Andrew Szczerba (Wilmington, Del.) on 12 and 11-yard completions. Cianciolo, who also pitches on the Nittany Lion baseball team, then ran 12 yards and freshman Joe Suhey (Deerfield, Ill.) scored from two yards out to knot the score at 14-14.
Late in the third quarter, Devlin hit Brett Brackett (Lawrenceville, N.J.) on a 13-yard completion and Graham Zug (Manheim) on a 21-yard strike. True freshman Brandon Beachum (Youngstown, Ohio) gained 24 yards on two carries to set-up a 22-yard scoring strike from Devlin to Zug, giving the Blue a 21-14 lead with :11 left in the period.
In the final period, redshirt freshman Drew Astorino (Edinboro) inrtercepted a Cianciolo pass, giving the Blue the ball at its own 43. Clark completed the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to Brackett with 1:34 to play to give the Blue a 27-14 lead.
Clark was 9 of 16 for 106 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions for the Blue. Playing for both teams, Devlin was a combined 12 of 18 for 122 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Cianciolo was 5 of 9 for 50 yards for the White.
Szczerba was the game's leading receiver with five catches for 65 yards for the White squad and Green added three receptions for 19 yards. Brackett led the Blue with three catches for 25 yards. Zug played for both teams and had four catches for 47 yards,
Sophomore defensive end Aaron Maybin (Ellicott City, Md.) tied for game-high honors with six tackles, including 3.5 sacks, for the White team. Sophomore linebacker Chris Colasanti (Leonard, Mich.) had four stops, forced and recovered a fumble. Sophomore DT Ollie Ogbu (Staten Island, N.Y.) led the Blue with six tackles (five solo) and recorded two sacks. Redshirt freshman linebacker Nate Stupar (State College) also had six tackles. Sophomore linebacker Bani Gbadyu (Gaithersburg, Md.) made four tackles, with a TFL, and redshirt freshman defensive end Kevion Latham (Greensboro, N.C.) had four hits, including a sack.
The Blue-White Game will air on the Big Ten Network on: Monday, April 21 at 8:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 23 at noon and 11:00 p.m. ET and Tuesday, April 29 at 1:00 p.m. ET.
In his 43rd season as head coach, Paterno's squad returns 16 starters (8 offense, 6 defense, 2 specialists) from last year's 9-4 squad that defeated Texas A&M in the Valero Alamo Bowl. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today Coaches poll, earning their 33rd Top 25 finish under Paterno. Penn State had won 31 of its last 40 games, tied for eighth-best in the nation over that span.
A limited number of season tickets are available for the 2008 season, which will feature seven home games, including five contests against bowl teams from last season. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets in Beaver Stadium, fans can call 1-800-648-8269 (1-800-NITTANY). For additional information on club seats, which are sold out for 2008, call 814-863-3143 and ask for Bob White.
Several Penn State teams are competing at home on Sunday: