Game Day Observations: Navy
Penn State’s first win of the season — and in the eyes of the NCAA tyrants, the last 14 years — provided for a great game day environment, and one that was therapeutic coming off a rough 0-2 start. We’ll get right into the observations:
- Military Appreciation Day was a great success, and Navy proved to be fantastic guests. Seeing all of the military personnel in uniform around the stadium and town all weekend was awesome, and the flyover after the pre-game national anthem was a nice touch on the military-related festivities. Veterans in the crowd were routinely recognized throughout the game as well. Hopefully Penn State makes this an annual initiative.
- Curtis Dukes is a beast. I’m not sure why he didn’t start the season higher on the depth chart, but if he gets to the line of scrimmage, there’s no doubt he’s getting 4+ yards because he just pushes the defender back on impact.
- I’m not sure why Bill O’Brien didn’t let P.J. Byers play at all. Penn State had the game won by the 4th quarter, and it would have been a nice gesture to get someone like Byers in the game against Navy. Even a handoff on Penn State’s last possession would have meant a lot to Byers, I’m sure.
- The team ran out of the tunnel at the perfect time. At the Ohio game — and even throughout most the last few seasons — there would usually be an awkward pause between the band playing “Rock and Roll” and the team running out of the tunnel. This time, though, the team ran out midway through a loud “P-S-U” chant, which had to get them pumped up.
- Students were expectedly obnoxious to Sam Ficken. Every time Ficken hit a kick during pre-game warmups, the student section would go nuts. It was all very unnecessary, and I’m sure quite embarrassing for Ficken who was looking to move on from last week’s performance. The conversation around me wasn’t exactly G-rated when Ficken missed an extra point attempt, either.
- That being said, the student section showed up on time and ready to go. The official attendance was 98,792, which was even more than the first game against Ohio. That’s pretty remarkable to think about, considering the team’s 0-2 start. The 3:30 kickoff time had something to do with it for sure, but the student body is firmly behind this team, even if they don’t win that many more games.
- The postgame Alma mater went off perfectly, even if most students had already left by that point. Even better was the fact that Penn State sang Navy’s Alma mater as well in front of the Naval Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. As Bill O’Brien said, it felt a lot better doing that after a win.
- Bill O’Brien gives one helluva postgame speech.
- After an unusual hiatus in week one, Zombie Nation was played multiple times on Saturday. They can’t take that one away from us!
- “Some Nights” by Fun. was on the Beaver Stadium soundtrack as well. I like it when they mix it up with some good songs that aren’t ridiculously overplayed. Basically the opposite of what Guido D’Elia used to do.
- Everyone loves a defensive touchdown off of a turnover, especially when it requires lots of running. Mike Hull made that happen on Saturday, as he took a fumble 74-yards to the house. It’s always great to see someone score who usually doesn’t have that opportunity, and Hull was visibly pumped up.
We’ll see you next week for Temple, which is thankfully also a 3:30 kickoff. We can’t lose to Temple. We just can’t.