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A Look Back: 2008 Victory Over Ohio State (Oh, and the Riots)

The date was October 25, 2008, three years ago today. Penn State had not won in Columbus since 1978, but carried a surprising 8-0 record and #3 ranking into a primetime clash with the #9 Ohio State Buckeyes. What prevailed was a defensive battle between two of the Big Ten’s best that would come down to who would blink first. In case you need a refresher, or never actually saw the game, here you go…

For many Penn State seniors and recent graduates, this night will always be considered nothing short of legendary due to the game and ensuing riots in Beaver Canyon. With that in mind, we asked for some accounts from the night of 10/25/2008, and here are some of the responses we received.

From the Onward State staff

“I remember hearing ‘We’re all going to Beaver!’ and not necessarily knowing where ‘Beaver’ was yet. I can’t put into words what I saw and how I felt, but I remember standing in front of Coldstone Creamery and looking up at the people screaming from their balconies in Cedarbrook and thinking ‘I’ve got to live there in case this happens again.’ I’ve lived here for 2 years.” – Dennis McNamara

“As a townie, I was, and always have been, here. It was insane. game was crazy, riot was intense. Remember vividly my parents just saying ” God, I hope these kids ( students) don’t tear the town apart….” well, they weren’t far off. I stayed away from the riot.” – Dave Cole

“I was in the Big O. About 20 minutes or so after the game, someone shouted, ‘There’s a riot downtown, let’s go!’ So I went. My friends and I got separated. My one roomie got knocked off a flipped newspaper stand he was standing on and, the last I saw, he followed the kid who pushed him down a sidestreet. Then, I saw some kids steal another Collegian newsstand and take it up into their apartment. I just remember seeing clouds of pepper spray floating around above the crowd and kids running away from it.” – Matt D’Ippolito

Reader accounts

“Watched the game in my dorm room, then was one of the first celebrating outside McLanahan’s before parading down College and up Locust w/ crowd to huge riot in Beaver Canyon, got puked on, maced, and went crazy!!” – @TroyS_psu

“Beaver Canyon. The minimart down there made a killing for milk sales that night. (Helps with mace apparently.)” – @arielsam924

“Went from one of the last rows to the bottom of the horseshoe to watch corso eat his words, put the psu helmet on as we chanted ‘This is our ‘Shoe!’ ” -@AndrewLeibo

“Got maced in the face by a cop at the riot. #suckstosuck” – @Rachel_Wallen

“At the gman, then rioting in the streets with my fellow classmates #greatmemory” – @pennstatekait6

“At game 3 of the World Series watching the PSU game during the rain delay in the concourse of CBP.” – @djgreenley

“I was following a tuba player down College Ave as he played Hey Baby” – @britt_thomas

“I was getting food at the diner when everyone who got maced came running in screaming so we went to Beaver. #ANightToRemember” – @mwatts08

In honor of those of you who survived Beaver Canyon that night, I present the infamous “I Riot For Penn State” video…


As for me, I spent that glorious night celebrating high atop Ohio Stadium, where Penn State students brought the S-Zone from Beaver Stadium, with some of my best friends. I will never forget the madness of camping out just hours after the previous week’s win over Michigan to get tickets to the Ohio State game, five of us piling into a borrowed Volvo the day of the game, scrambling to find a place to stay (thanks, Dad), and witnessing one of the biggest Penn State victories in recent memory. 10/25/2008 will stick with me forever.

Here’s where I was at the end of the game…


Where were you the night of 10/25/2008? Let’s hear some stories!

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About the Author

John Tecce

John is a senior in the Smeal College of Business majoring in Marketing. He currently serves as the President of the Paternoville Coordination Committee and as a THON Chair for Nittany Nation. He tweets a lot.

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