Cloudy and rainy skies made way for sunshine in time for Penn State to take the field for the 2022 Blue-White Game.
The game started with a couple two-point attempts. Sean Clifford made an appearance on attempt one, a handoff that true freshman Nick Singleton took into the end zone. Clifford then gave way to Christian Veilleux who made a quick strike to Jaden Dottin right between the numbers.
Jake Pinegar then came out for to connect on a few quick field goal attempts, a welcome sight after missing the 2021 season.
Then the main show began – Clifford took command of the first drive, looking sharp and moving well after playing through injuries much of the 2021 season. Keyvone Lee looked like a more powerful runner, putting his shoulder down and picking up extra yards that he may not have gained previously. The drive ended when Clifford found Mitchell Tinsley on a swing pass, who followed his blockers into the end zone. Tinsley is a transfer from Western Kentucky, who finished with an eye-popping stat line last fall — 87 receptions, 1,402 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.
Gabriel Nwosu, a redshirt freshman kicker with the body of a lineman, couldn’t keep the ball inbounds on his first kickoff attempt. Pinegar took over and put the ball through the end zone.
Veilluex took over the reigns on a drive with steady doses of true freshman running back Kaytron Allen. He showed the ability to hit the hole quickly with some decisive cuts, but ran into a wall and was stuffed on third down.
Barney Amor and Nwosu, who are competing to take over got Jordan Stout at punter, each had an attempt in a non-live drill, where Tinsley was waiting to receive the ball.
Veilluex returned, but a miscommunication lead to a first down attempt that went far above Tyler Warren’s head. Malick Meiga took a handoff but had nowhere to go, forcing a third and long. Veilleuix couldn’t convert, overthrowing Meiga on a downfield attempt.
The action on the field then moved to a 7-on-7 drill. Veilluex hit Mason Stahl on a beautiful downfield attempt that dropped right over Stahl’s shoulder was among the highlights. Drew Allar, the five-star true freshman, saw the field for the first time but didn’t find much success on his first three attempts. All were slightly behind the receiver, with one being tipped for an interception. His fourth and final attempt found Stahl out of bounds.
Allar came right back as the team returned to 11-on-11. He settled in to find a wide-open dottin for a 21-yard gain. His next attempt didn’t get far as redshirt freshman linebacker Dominic DeLuca came off the edge for an easy sack. The drive ended on the next play, as Allar checked down for a short gain that came up well short of the first down.
Marquis Wilson returned (non-live) punts on the next set of special teams drills.
Clifford saw more action in a red zone 7-on-7 drill. The defense impressed initially, forcing an incompletion and two check down passes for short gains. Clifford found KeAndre Lambert-Smith over the middle for a score at one point. Veilleux stepped in next with a short completion to Liam Clifford over the middle. His next throw was off the mark, nearly being intercepted by redshirt junior linebacker Robbie Dwyer.
The highlight was a touchdown throw to Harrision Wallace, who went way up the ladder to snatch the ball out of the air for six. Wallace is a redshirt freshman with a listed height of 6-1, but looked like he had a catch radius of a 6-6 receiver. Allar followed, connecting on a couple short attempts but did not get the ball in the end zone. Later on, redshirt freshman tight end Evan Clark made an acrobatic touchdown catch, but appeared to be just out on the replay.
The first half wrapped up with more punt drills, with Nwosu looking like the early leader with a few booming punts with outstanding hang time.