Lewis’ pass off a double reverse highlights big plays
STATE COLLEGE – Highlights, lowlights, and in-betweens from Penn State’s Blue-White scrimmage Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The Blue won, 37-0.
PLAY OF THE GAME: Blue receiver Geno Lewis took a double reverse and threw it 56 yards for a touchdown to a wide-open Matt Zanellato, who caught the ball at the White 30. The third-quarter score gave the Blue a 30-0 lead.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cole Chiappialle, a 5-foot-8, 211-pound sophomore tailback from Beaver Falls, rushed nine times for 63 yards and scored two touchdowns. The effort was the sort of thing that frequently happens to walk-on reserves when the entire roster plays.
“I just screamed honestly,” said Chiappialle, who told reporters his name is pronounced chippy-yelly. “I just wanted to break one, and I got one, but I just screamed right there. It was a lot, a lot emotionally.”
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: C.J. Olanyian led all players with five tackles, including 2.5 sacks.
SPRING AWARDS: Jim O’Hora (most improved defense) defensive tackle Anthony Zettel. Red Worrell (most improved offense) guard Brandon Gaia, a defensive line convert. Frank Patrick (total commitment to a junior) defensive end Deion Barnes. Coaches special teams (a new award) kicker Sam Ficken.
CENTRAL MOUNTAIN: Von Walker played special teams and second-team linebacker for the Blue unit. He finished with two tackles.
BEST RUN: Chiapp-ialle took a direct snap and ran 19 yards to the White 9 in the first quarter.
BEST PASS: The Lewis touchdown pass was the only big throw of note.
WORST PASS: D.J. Crook threw the first interception of the game, which Ryan Keiser of the Blue returned 19 yards.
WORST KICK: Ficken missed the extra point after Matthew Baney’s touchdown early in the third quarter, just moments after accepting the special teams award during halftime.
BEST EFFORT: Blue corner Trevor Williams leaped past Gregg Garrity and swatted away a pass intended for him on a first-quarter third-and-1, the kind of drive stopping hustle that would have drawn an ovation in the fall.
BEST MOMENT: James Franklin used the break after the first quarter to lead a brief “We Are… Penn State!” pep rally among the announced 72,000 in attendance.
WORST MOMENT: Franklin didn’t have such luck with the media after the game when he tried a call-and-response with a recruiting question, hoping reporters would chant “dominate the state” when he mentioned his philosophy. Franklin recovered from the mumbled silence to say he wanted to soon “dominate the states” and spread nationally.
FAMILY TIME: Franklin’s daughters Addison and Shola joined him on the dais midway through his postgame interview. The coach said he hadn’t seen them for a month as they haven’t yet moved from Nashville. Immediate plans also included a picnic with players’ parents, 90 percent of whom Franklin said he hadn’t met.
INFLATE THE GATE: Penn State announced attendance at around 72,000, which it said was the third-most in history and trailed only the 2008 and 2009 games, which were also played in sunny spring weather.
“I had someone count personally, and they had 82,000 there,” said Franklin, who then upped his earlier fan request to fill the stadium to its 107,000 capacity. “We asked for 80,000 and got 82,000, so I’m appreciative of that. It’s important to see that every game. We want 107,001 at every game.”
PERSONNEL: Frank-lin said offensive guard Anthony Alosi, who is facing assault charges from a January incident, is on indefinite suspension. Alosi was not listed on the spring roster.
BEST QUOTE: “I think we’ll call it… Wildcat,” said Franklin, when asked if he’d have a special name for direct snaps in the Wildcat formation.
NEXT: Penn State meets Central Florida on Saturday, Aug. 30, in Dublin for the Croke Park Classic.