Gameday Observations: Penn State vs. Ohio State

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In a hard-fought clash on the road, the Nittany Lions just couldn’t fend off the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe Saturday. We don’t know about you, but we’re still in the denial phase of coping with this loss. That being said, we’re starting to come to terms with it.

Nevertheless, a lot happened this weekend in Columbus, and we were there to take it all in. Here are our gameday observations from a brisk day at The Shoe.

  • First of all, the tailgating scene at Ohio State was weak. After spending years in State College, it will always be weird to visit a stadium that isn’t surrounded by fields just begging to be tailgated on. Of course there are some paved lots, but an Ohio State fan told us they’re usually pretty expensive or reserved for folks who donate to the school. That being said, there were a surprising amount of parking garage tailgaters. And they seemed to be having a jolly good time despite the circumstances.
  • Other than the bleak tailgating outlook, it was nice to have the stadium so close to other campus buildings. I’m not admitting I went to the Ohio State library to pee, but if I had, I’m *positive* I would’ve seen a bunch of other fans warming up, grabbing coffee at the little cafe, and using the bathroom.
  • A note on security: The next time we visit Ohio Stadium, we’re bringing a whole case of beer inside. Compared to the extensive metal detector screen at Beaver Stadium, Ohio Stadium’s security mandated only a “quick spin” for those entering, so we saw plenty of fans pulling flasks, bottles, and other normally banned items out of their pockets all game long. Had we known, we would’ve came prepared as well, especially since once you get past the novelty of being able to buy beer at a college football game, you realize how steep the $9 price is.

  • Oh, yeah. You can buy beer at a college football game! This was certainly a sight to behold, and a little alarming considering the steep climb to where the Penn State fan/student section was located on the third deck of the stadium. We’re still holding out hope that Beaver Stadium might sell alcohol inside one day, but for now, we’ll just have to hold out for the tailgate pregame.

  • Ohio Stadium truly is one of the best venues college football has to offer, with cathedral-style architecture and stained glass windows. It’s stood still as time has passed; inside the stadium’s hallowed walls, Ohio State’s illustrious football history is perfectly put on display for all to take in. While Beaver Stadium holds a special place in my heart, Ohio Stadium remains my next favorite venue to visit in the Big Ten — except, of course, Lucas Oil Stadium for the Big Ten Championship…

  • The home crowd crowd was pretty disappointing. A week removed from the game with the largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history and the loudest I’ve ever heard a Penn State football game, I was preparing my ears for another evening of deafening sound. Save for maybe three plays during the last five minutes, I could barely hear the Ohio State crowd, even though the attendance was only about 1,000 less than Penn State had for the White Out. Whether it was because of lack of interest early on or just the poor acoustics, I was disappointed by the overall atmosphere.

  • Speaking of poor atmosphere and acoustics, the gameday hits were next to nonexistent. Being used to DJ PJ Mullen’s loud, continuous playlist the lack of music in between plays was pretty unexciting. And when he or she did play music, we could barely hear it. Ohio Stadium DJ, take note. Be better.

  • Thus the only music in the stadium was from the marching bands, which oddly enough played simultaneously for most of the game. I was singing along to the Blue Band, but I could faintly hear the “Best Damn Band in the Land” in the background from the opposite end zone. Oh, and there’s a reason they have that name. The band is so well-run they even gave our football writers in the press box a guide to what each of their formations was. And there was fire. See for yourself:

  • Speaking of fire, nothing can top the 360 fireworks in Beaver Stadium. Give me four sides or give me death! The Shoe’s 180 degrees of fire and fury just didn’t do it for me, and neither did the “Black Out” staged by Ohio State fans. Of course nothing compares to the legendary Beaver Stadium White Out, but I still had high expectations for the Black Out to create a cool effect. There were just too many people wearing red on Saturday to make it work — even in the student section, which was organizing the whole ordeal.

  • Ohio State fans were a mixed bag. Some boo-d when Ryan Bates was down on the field, saying he was faking it and there should be a penalty for that. Some yelled “Penn State sucks” from their car windows after the game. Some told us on the walk out to keep our heads up, because it was a damn good game. If there’s one thing they all have in common, it’s the insufferable repetition of O-H-I-O. Is this how the rest of the world feels when we say We Are Penn State?
  • Storming the field is cool, but not when you’re a home favorite. This one got under the skin of most Penn State fans when the Ohio State crowd took to the field after taking down the then-No. 2 Nittany Lions. Sure, Ohio State was ranked four spots below the visiting Lions, but it’s still a bad look to storm the field despite the big game circumstances. Last year was much different for Penn State, and everybody knows it.

The Nittany Lions hit the road again next week for a dreaded noon kickoff. Michigan State, Michigan State, Michigan State, Michigan State, Michigan State.

Photo By: Alex Bauer
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