Get Ready to Rock (The Beav) and Roll (The Tide)
Let me preface this by saying that if you need the following words to get you excited for tomorrow, you’re doing it wrong.
This is a game that has been talked about since it was put on the schedule, and the fact that Alabama comes in as the #2 team in the country only ratchets up the hype even more. Mix in a little revenge from last season’s (no) contest and add a dash of Whitehouse for the first time in two years, and you’re looking at what could be a perfect storm (figuratively, hopefully not literally) tomorrow.
This week, 950 students in 112 tents (one of them belonging to Onward State!) have been camping outside Beaver Stadium through torrential downpours in anticipation of this game. If the intentsity (see what I did there?) at Paternoville this week is any indication, Saturday’s crowd is going to rival any that we’ve seen at Penn State since the 2005 Ohio State game. That game was also preceded by a week of rainy weather, but that didn’t stop over 108,000 from shaking Beaver Stadium to its core on that magical night in October. That was also the night that Kirk Herbstreit, a Buckeye himself, infamously dubbed us “the best student section in the country”.
A few others and I spoke with Mike Mauti this evening at Paternoville, and one of my friends asked if he meant what he said about the student section being noticeably louder this past Saturday due to the new seating arrangement. Mauti said he absolutely did, wearing a wide-eyed look of amazement on his face as he further explained himself.
While it’s sometimes tough to tell as their heads are covered in those gleaming white helmets, these guys notice, and appreciate, the crowd noise that we bring every Saturday. It’s the reason why Beaver Stadium is known as one of the toughest places to play in college football, and the 21,000+ of us in the student section are a huge part of that.
Alabama is breaking in a new quarterback (or two) who will make his first career road start in front of a raucous Whitehouse in Happy Valley. Ask Jimmy Clausen or Jammal Lord how they did under those same conditions. While Alabama does roll into tomorrow’s game as a heavy favorite (considering that Penn State is ranked and is still an 10 point ‘dog at home), they aren’t the same team as the one we saw a year ago, in my opinion.
Make no mistake, this game is going to test our patience and resolve. “Things will happen,” as my high school football coach liked to say, and it’s our job to make sure that the energy level in the stadium remains at a fever pitch from the time the buses pull up until the clock hits zero.
To put it bluntly, it’s been a long time since we’ve won a game like this. A damn long time. And we’re going to need every single voice at full throat for 60 minutes to do it tomorrow.
Come early, be loud, stay late.