Game Day Observations: Akron

There’s typically not a whole lot to remember about noon games against MAC opponents, but the home opener tends to lead way for some surprises with the game day experience. A new marketing-obsessed coach made those changes even more palpable than usual. It wasn’t the most fun three hours of football I’ve ever seen, but here are your Akron observations this week.

  • If nothing else, this game gave Penn Staters a vine that will be used for years to come:

  • Corporate sponsorships were much more visible and numerous than in the past. Be it the Chesapeake Energy time out, Pepsi Fan Zone, AT&T Fan Deck, the Penn State Alumni Association replay, the Apartment Store student section (woof!), or the Tostitos two-minute warning, it is clear Penn State has taken the plunge like never before. Sponsorships have always been evident for as long as I’ve been attending games, but there was a noticeable increase this year.
  • The new scoreboard was the biggest vehicle for these new sponsorships. It is clear that the highly touted high-def video boards were installed not for the enhancement of the fan experience, but so Penn State could move on from static ads to consistent moveable sponsorships. This was a major disappointment — the constant replays are helpful, but the video screen size is almost the same as the old scoreboards if you consider the large ad border. Fans are also now forced to squint at a small strip below the video board to see the clock, field position, or anything characteristic of a scoreboard. This was an investment for Penn State — spend the $10 million and run twice as many in-game advertisements. Nothing more, nothing less.
  • On a brighter note, my Verizon LTE worked flawlessly for the entire game. I could actually receive texts, check Twitter, send photos, and do everything I needed to on my phone without interruption. This was the first time that I’ve ever had functioning cell service in Beaver Stadium, so someone did something right.
  • My seats were under the overhang in the student section, which made anything said over the PA system totally inaudible. I couldn’t hear announcer Dean DeVore, and I could barely hear any of the music (which means I can’t complain about PJ, my favorite part of these posts). Most disappointingly, I couldn’t make out the words to the new pregame video until I got home. As it turns out, the new video is just as awesome as usual:
  • Like most first games, many of the student section chants were way out of sync. Every clapping cheer (including the Rock and Roll entrance) devolved into a slow clap. It’s not so difficult to clap along — just look at the cheerleaders hands and clap when they clap. Since Football Eve became defunct, it seems like student section chants have become much less cohesive.
  • And why don’t we consider some “We Are” chant regulations? The awkward fadeouts are a huge letdown after a powerful cheer. Here’s one suggestion from Twitter:

  • The biggest “rush” for me came with Franklin’s tunnel entrance. After running down the middle of the field he stopped, turned around, and gave high-fives to the team while it ran by him. It was a different approach than we’re used to, but a coach’s first team entrance is always a special moment.
  • The game stuff has already been covered in-depth by smarter people than I. All I’ll add is that when a 22/36, 316 yard performance by Christian Hackenberg is considered poor, we are in good hands.

Sorry for the quick (and late post) and see you next week after Rutgers, which is shaping up to be quite interesting.

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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