In anticipation of Penn State playing against USC in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, I’ve decided to use the twelve days leading up to the gridiron clash to review the incredible season the Nittany Lions have had. One game per day, with analysis you won’t find anywhere else.
GAME 1: Penn State Nittany Lions versus The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
August 30th, 2008
The Game Scenario
‘The Game Scenario’ is my best attempt at re-creating the ambiance of the game from the fan’s point of view. Keeping in mind that this section is likely to be subjective from my point of view, I will include a game preview or relevant article that was published before the game.
Going into the 2008 football season, there was a nearly palpable nervous energy in Happy Valley. While the game against the Chanticleers was a ‘cupcake game’ meant as a warm up, the transition to Darryl Clark as quarterback was new territory. Yes, the much-maligned Anthony Morrelli years were behind us, but would the Spread HD save us from the same heartbreak? While the majority of the Penn State faithful expected a rout reminiscent of the previous year’s 59-0 win against Florida International University, there was a small part of everyone that was reminded of the long-shot upset possibility. The Collegian’s Travis Johnson had a great article that laid out what would happen in the event of a Coastal Carolina upset, but eventually concluded that Penn State fans need not worry.
Penn State had a new quarterback, a new offensive scheme, and an entirely new season. But in August, the fans didn’t know that this was necessarily a good thing.
Anecdotal Quote of The Game
I’ve chosen to add the most memorable quote from the game, along with a short explanation, to add a little character to this series. Keep in mind that these occurred during a football game, in the notoriously rowdy (and often inebriated) student section. These are far from being nuggets of wisdom.
“…FIGHT ON TO VICTORY EVER MORE,
FIGHT ON, ON, ON, ON, ON, ON, ONONONONON-FIGHT ON PENN STATEEEEEEEEE”
While this is technically not the best example of my intentions for this section because: (A) It’s part of the fight song, not a quote, and (B) I said it, it does bring up a valid point: How the HELL do you sing the end of the fight song? I love to sing along to the Fight Song, the Alma Mater, and the National Anthem, and I do it loudly and proudly. I see all those “on”s in a row on the Jumbotron and freak out, because when I see them in huge print, trying to read and sing at the same time, it might as well be a million. I once asked the Penn State Glee Club how many “on’s” there were – they didn’t even know off the top of their heads. After quietly singing it to himself, one member told me that it was five, but had no advice as to how to sing it properly. So, like I ended up doing all season, I ended up screaming the word “ON” over and over until I realized it was time to finish with the grandiose “FIGHT ON PENN STATE.” I’m sure during the pre-game rituals, I come off as dangerously drunk, clinically insane, or both. But in reality, I’m just spirited – wasted on Penn State pride, not Captain Morgan*.
Stat of The Game
While I could do a thorough recounting of the game, the reality is that game summaries are available all over the internet. Instead, I’ll use one of these existing sources for one stat that really speaks for itself. Sadly, I won’t let it speak it for itself, and offer a short explanation as well.
Penn State Yards Per Rush – 7.8
The Yards per Rush says it all with this one – Tailback Evan Royster scored two first-quarter touchdowns and never looked back. The team ended up with 334 total rush yards (lightning-fast Stephfon Green gashed the Coastal Carolina D as well) on merely 43 rushing attempts, resulting in a 7.8 yards per carry average. To give you a reference, 5 yards per rush is considered ideal in the NFL.
LOLPSU of The Game
If you have spent enough time on the internet, it’s likely you’ve become familiar with LOLCats. LOLPSU is no different – with the exception of Penn Staters replacing the cats. Not as a adorable, but more relevant for our purposes.
Credit for the idea of combining sports with the internet meme is due to Grimey of LOLJocks.
Don’t get the reference?
Three Obscure Facts
‘Three Obscure Facts’ is your chance to pick up information to lord over people that watch the Rose Bowl with you. It’s you’re secret to making it seem like you’re a better fan than them!
1. While the Coastal Carolina football team isn’t known as a powerhouse by any means, they have recently produced a starting NFL Quarterback – Tyler Thigpen of the Kansas City Chiefs.
2. Freshman Brandon Beachum got 8 carries in the game, effectively eliminating an extra year of NCAA eligibility redshirting would have given him. It was an odd move- considering how good Evan Royster, Stefphon Green, and Brent Carter looked. The Collegian noticed, but as far as I know, nothing else regarding the decision to play Beachum as a freshman came to light.
3. Despite the lop-sided final score, Penn State only had less than one minute more than Coastal Carolina in the Time of Possession Battle. (30 minutes, 29 seconds, to the Chanticleer’s 29 minutes, 31 seconds)
Penn State 66, Coastal Carolina 10
A potent rushing attack smothered any chance of an Appalachian State-esque season opener upset win for the Chanticleers, and Penn State football fans got a glimpse at what was to come during the first season of the Darryl Clark era.
*The Chick in row L, seat 24, who is crying for no apparent reason? She’s wasted on Captain Morgan.