Big Ten: en Kline

Penn State spring game recap

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
10:00
AM ET
There were three spring games in the Big Ten over the weekend, and we're going to break down all of them over the course of the day. First up is Penn State.

You can find coverage of the Nittany Lions' spring game here, here, here and here.

Star of the game: Freshman defensive end Brad Bars had four tackles for loss, including two sacks. Bill Belton rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown for the offense.

How it went down: Fans got their first glimpse of the new era of Penn State football as the defense beat the offense 77-65 in the Beaver Stadium debut of head coach Bill O'Brien. A crowd estimated at 60,000 turned out for the game, which used a modified scoring system.

No doubt most people were curious to see how the quarterback competition was going and how those guys looked in the new offense. The results were, predictably, mixed. Matt McGloin completed 6 of 13 passes for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Rob Bolden went 7-of-14 but had three interceptions. Paul Jones was 6-of-15 for 113 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.

"We've asked them to learn a system that's totally different than anything they've ever learned, and that takes time," O'Brien said. "And different guys learn at different rates. Some guys get it right away, other guys get it the next day, other guys get it two days from now. So we have to let it soak a little bit, let it soak for ourselves as a staff, and then we'll make a decision headed into training camp on who we're going with or who the top two are."

O'Brien said that fans saw 10 percent of his offensive playbook on Saturday.

"I understand the offense they've given us so far," McGloin said. "[O'Brien] has thrown the whole playbook at us, and we've run a million things in practice and we understand it very well. It's an exciting offense and it's going to take the whole summer to learn, but once we get it down it's going to be very fun to watch us play."

Not surprisingly, the Nittany Lions' defense looked ahead of the offense. It forced five total interceptions and had eight sacks and 13 tackles for loss. Defensive end C.J. Olaniyan had three of those sacks, while Ben Kline, Adrian Amos, Devin Pryor, Jordan Hill and Jesse Della Valle each grabbed interceptions.

Allen Robinson led the team with 87 receiving yards, while Matt Lehman and Christian Kuntz each caught touchdown passes. Star tailback Silas Redd did not play.

Cornerback Stephon Morris and center Matt Stankiewitch were named the team's most improved defensive and offensive players of the spring.

"I felt it was pretty good, and I think it was exciting for the fans at times," O'Brien said of the spring game. "I'm not saying it was the most exciting game in the world, but I said it wasn't going to be the most exciting game in the world. But again, it was great to see all the fans out there, and I think it was a good day for Penn State football."

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