Game Day Observations: Ohio State
Penn State is always a special place before primetime home football games. The mental buildup leading up to a WhiteOut is unlike anything I’ve experienced, and this last week was no different with a record-setting number of Nittanyville campers and a game day atmosphere that only a WhiteOut could induce. Although the score didn’t go the way I would have liked, here’s my observations from this weekend’s game.
- As I’ve already touched on, the week leading up to the game was a fantastic showing of school spirit. The atmosphere was much like many other big games in the past, and if anything, it reassured us all that we aren’t going to let these sanctions get in the way of supporting this team like we always have.
- The in-game pumped in sound was actually adequate. After a “We Will Rock You” blasted over the crowd noise on the first defensive drive, I thought for sure this game would be a mess, but generally speaking, the sound man ended up allowing the atmosphere to prosper organically.
- My favorite part of a WhiteOut is always the Blue Band pregame show. Everyone’s energy is building up for kickoff and all the fans belt out the fight songs. The one awkward part on Saturday, though, was when the team ran through the tunnel before the Blue Band even began “Rock and Roll pt. 2.” O’Brien was ready to go.
- The officiating was frustrating to say the least, especially after watching the replays. Here’s Pete Massaro getting his head ripped off on a Braxton Miller run. No flag. Of course.
- Nearly the entire student section was given shakers, which has been an issue for the entire season.
- Speaking of the student section, it wasn’t completely full at kickoff. There were still a few hundred open seats at the very top, which would end up getting mostly filled in the middle of first quarter. This will be the last game this season that has a student section more than half full, with the remaining two home games (Indiana and Wisconsin) falling over Thanksgiving break.
- You should all still come, though. This team worked hard off all year, in some of the worst conditions possible, so you can give up just one more home cooked meal to give them your support.
- Feature Twirler Matt Freeman busted out the flaming batons, which will always be impressive. Seriously — how?
- The alumni were on the ball this week, spending much of the game on their feet. The entire stadium was rocking.
- The best Halloween costume I’ve ever seen — or at least the one that required the most effort — is the guy who dressed up like the Joe Paterno statue. No, not Joe Paterno. Literally, the Joe Paterno statue. Not only did he paint his entire body bronze, he ruined a suit and tie in the process, and for that sacrifice he should be commended.
- President Rodney Erickson got booed at halftime when he was introduced on the field, which is really quite sad. Imagine dedicating your life to a university that you love for over three decades, you’re thrust into a situation you could’ve never imaged and couldn’t control, and now you’re getting booed in front of 108,000 fans by the same people you dedicated most of your life to helping. It’s really just a shame.
- Coach O’Brien was not a big fan of the postgame alma mater. This face says it all…
- I love Bill O’Brien. I think he has been the strong leader we needed after all that happened. I think he’s a great football coach and a passionate man. I do not, however, know what kind of thought goes into going for it on 4th and 12 at the 25 yard line. I didn’t even mind the fake punt call. But going for 4th and 12 on the 25 is just mind boggling. That just can’t happen.
- The overlying theme for me after watching this game was one thing — we’re going to be alright. Anyone who still argues that the NCAA sanctions are just as bad as the death penalty was not at Beaver Stadium on Saturday night, that much is certain. Standing in solidarity in a sea of white made me as proud to be a Penn Stater as I’ve ever been.