Fan guide to Penn State’s 2017 Blue-White game: Kickoff time, schedule, TV broadcast and more
Penn State fans enjoy the annual Blue-White game at Beaver Stadium on April 16, 2016. Joe Hermitt, PennLive
Penn State’s Blue-White spring football game is slated for a 3 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Beaver Stadium. The scrimmage wraps up the Nittany Lions’ spring practice period and offers a much-needed midway point between the Jan. 2 loss to USC in the Rose Bowl and the start of summer training camp. Live football is in the air for the first time in months.
Penn State returns 19 starters — a number that includes specialists — from last season’s Big Ten championship team, which elevates expectations going into the 2017 campaign. Penn State has gotten top-10 “way-too-early” rankings from a host of publications, even as Las Vegas sports books expect the Lions to finish behind both Ohio State and Michigan in the Big Ten East division.
Progress in the program’s recovery from NCAA sanctions, which were imposed in 2012, was visible last spring, but a coaching staff shakeup, offensive line question marks and a new starting quarterback all clouded the 2016 outlook. Even after quarterback Trace McSorley threw for 281 yards and four touchdowns in the Blue-White game, there were plenty of unknowns that kept optimism in check.
But this season? Penn State not only returns most of its firepower, particularly on offense, it also has renewed confidence that Franklin’s methods work.
That includes a staff that can develop all the blue-chip recruits Franklin is sure to keep bringing to campus, a fact that came into question with the way former quarterback Christian Hackenberg and his offensive line seemed to plateau in 2014 and ’15. Since then, the Lions have built a legitimate contender with the full package of scouting, recruiting and development, seemingly overnight.
As always, the Blue-White game is more of a celebration of spring than a true competition. Franklin has been diligent about managing the reps of proven performers such as Saquon Barkley, Mike Gesicki and others, so their appearances in Saturday’s Blue-White game are likely to be brief. They also might not happen at all, much like last season when Barkley did not see the field.
There’s also the angle of young spring standouts and what they have to prove Saturday. Blue-White game history is full of players whose spring breakouts were legitimizate and foreshadowed a big season or career on the horizon. McSorley might be the most recent example, but Kevin Givens and Austin Johnson are among the other young Lions to make their marks recently in the spring game.
We’re going to take a look at those storylines and plenty more in this “fan guide” for the game. Of course, we’ll also provide all the basics about the 2017 edition of the Blue-White game, kickoff time, parking information, the weather forecast and more. Plenty of those details can be found at PennLive’s content home for Penn State’s 2017 Blue-White game.