Tommy Stevens may not be a big name on the Penn State Nittany Lions depth chart. He'll be a heartbeat away from being the team's key to making a run to a Big Ten title and more in 2017, though. On Saturday afternoon, Stevens had the opportunity to prove that he will be up for the challenge if called upon anytime next season. He proved that and much more on Saturday, emerging as a star in a backup role during his team's spring game.

Spring game sensation

During the annual Blue-White spring game at Penn State, somebody had to quarterback the team behind incumbent starter Trace McSorley.

Stevens drew that job, which could've been seen as being a crappy occupation. Without a doubt, however, the backup stepped up and soared when given the opportunity. In fact, some (short-sighted) fans even believed he could take over the starting role after Saturday's performance.

He did throw for three touchdowns in his team's shutout victory, all coming in the second half. He went 17 for 24, passing for 216 yards. The performance has to be taken with a grain of salt, since he was facing backups on defense - but he is a backup himself. There were some spectacular highlights, though, from swing passes to tip drills that fell into the correct hands. Stevens was named Offensive MVP of the game, and may have sparked a quarterbacking controversy at Penn State.

In good quarterbacking hands

As good as Stevens was on Saturday, he isn't usurping the incumbent Penn State starter. After a trip to the Rose Bowl last season, the Nittany Lions have high expectations, since they are returning their two biggest stars on offense. In a Big Ten that could potentially be weakened by losses suffered in graduation and draft declarations by Ohio State and Michigan, the conference throne is arguably there for the taking.

Stevens could probably start somewhere else if he wanted to. The sophomore was only a three-star recruit when he arrived in Happy Valley, but has since developed the skills needed to be a starter at the college level. On Saturday, he went out and proved that on a national level. He made accurate passes, strong reads, and fooled defenders with his body language.

The Penn State faithful hope his services won't be needed at any point during the coming season. If he is, however, he showed during the Blue-White game that he will be up to the challenge of commanding the offense and getting the ball into the end zone.