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The 24 Best Things To Come From No. 24 Penn State’s Thrilling Win Over Ohio State

Last weekend was indescribably special In Happy Valley. If you somehow didn’t get the memo, Penn State pulled off an improbable victory against the No. 2 ranked team in the land (at the time): Ohio State. Now, the Nittany Lions are ranked No. 24 in the nation — their first appearance in the AP Top 25 since 2011. In honor of that 24 spot, we’ve compiled a list of the 24 best things we experienced throughout the madness of the weekend:

24. There Was A Rally Downtown And It Was Crazy

Some students – particularly of the crazier variety – might have placed the rally downtown higher on the list. The police certainly wouldn’t have included the rally on the list. We’re taking the middle ground. Maybe you thought the rally was the time of your life or maybe you think that college students need to get a grip. Either way, it was quite the sight.

23. These Dinosaurs

Six dinosaurs made it into the student section for the Saturday night showdown. Here they are, roaring in unison. We don’t really get it, but we definitely enjoy it.

22. Chris Godwin’s Godly Catch

Chris Godwin’s great one-on-one touchdown catch meant Penn State was right in the game heading into the half. The offense struggled for the better part of the first half, but the ever-reliable Godwin came up clutch.

21. “Worst State Ever” Shirts

Shirts with the state of Ohio (yes, that’s what Ohio looks like) and the simple phrase “Worst State Ever” were fan-favorites this weekend. Simple yet elegant.

20. Beaver Stadium Concert Announcement

During the game, Penn State Athletics announced that Beaver Stadium will hold its first-ever concert on July 8, 2017. With more information to come soon, students and fans can only guess who will take the stage.

19. Garrett Sickels’ Second Half

Garrett Sickels was suspended for the first half of the game, but his second half more than made up for it. Sickels racked up nine tackles (3.5 of which were recorded for a loss) and 2.5 sacks. He was a nightmare for the Buckeyes’ offensive line. Garrett Sickels Penn State Football vs. Maryland 2016

18. Chicken Baskets Were Discounted For Those Who Arrived Early

Beaver Stadium chicken baskets are among the most satisfying gameday foods known to man. For those who got to the stadium early, they were sold at a discounted price. Not only did this policy help fill up the stadium early, but it also made eating this Beaver Stadium delicacy even more special.

17. Blake Gillikin Saved A Touchdown

The freshman punter Black Gillikin was backed up to punt, but the snap was high and forced Gillikin into a foot-race with OSU WR Terry McLaurin – a former 4-star recruiting prospect – for the ball. Gillikin fell on the ball in the end zone, saving Penn State five points. This play showed the Nittany Lions’ determination and poise. Despite the bad snap, Gillikin made a tremendous play. Stay tuned for more from Gillikin in this countdown.

16. James Franklin Got His Signature Win

This should probably be higher on the list, but the essence of this post basically captures this whole point. Franklin has spent a good portion of the season on the hot seat. Losses to Pitt and Michigan were enough for fans to begin clamoring for his dismissal, but he silenced most critics with important wins over Minnesota and Maryland. Still, Franklin still lacked that “signature win” and it hovered over his entire tenure at Penn State.

Well, he got it. This is it. Franklin was visibly emotional after the win, much like the rest of us.

15. Grant Haley’s Return That Changed My Life

Grant Haley returned the blocked field goal Marcus Allen got his hands on in what was the most exciting and important play of the game. Haley’s return was pure magic, which is just what Penn State needed in this matchup. A video of Haley’s return can be viewed further down in the countdown (so keep reading!).

14. Men’s Hockey Upset No. 3 Notre Dame In South Bend

The young Penn State hockey team – a team that didn’t even exist five years ago – went on the road to visit a very talented Notre Dame squad and came out with a 3-2 overtime win. They announced the result during the football game and the #107kstrong crowd roared. Notre “Lame,” indeed.

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13. Penn State’s Veteran Linebackers Returned In A Big Way

Jason Cabinda and Brandon Bell both returned to the field and played a huge role in the Nittany Lions’ win this past weekend. Bell led the team with 19 total tackles against the Buckeyes, followed by none other than Cabinda, who recorded 12. They also both tallied sacks, but perhaps most importantly, defended Ohio State’s run-option offense tremendously well.

12. Rutgers Lost. Again.

What more is there to say?

11. A Call Went Penn State’s Way

On the final drive of the game for the Buckeyes, there was a no-call on a deep ball thrown downfield by J.T. Barrett. Jordan Smith was on the coverage and there looked to be some contact, but no call was made. For many Penn State supporters, this no-call felt like justice for a few (highly) questionable calls in the 2014 White Out against Ohio State, including an interception call (referenced below), and what appeared to be a delay of game before a Buckeye field goal.

10. Marcus Baugh Flexed In Front Of The Student Section Then His Team Lost

Marcus Baugh scored a touchdown in front of student section and decided to show off his strength after breaking a few tackles. This celebration is truly funny in retrospect.

marcus-baugh

9. The Crowd Showed Up Early

One of thing things that set the White Out environment apart from some other games this year was timing. The crowd got there early and supported the team from the start. Penn State emerged from the tunnel to a loud and ready crowd that kept it up all game.

8. Recruits Loved The Environment

For the average Penn State fan, being loud and rowdy is just the norm. Recruits, however, notice these things – Penn State commits and recruiting targets certainly did on Saturday.

“That was hands down the best atmosphere I have ever experienced in a stadium,”  said Blaine Scott, the No. 17 prospect at offensive guard in the country. “The electricity and juice was off the charts. It will be hard for any team in the country to top that performance for any recruit that was there. Unbelievable.”

7. Penn State’s Defensive Line Looked Tremendous

Penn State had a huge turnover after last season, losing most of the defensive line (including Anthony Zettel and Carl Nassib) to the NFL. The defensive line dominated the best, tallying six sacks on J.T. Barrett. Barrett’s ability to escape pressure kept the Wild Dogs from getting even more sacks.

6. Jordan Smith Reacts To LeBron James

Ohio State fan LeBron James was not happy with the refs after the Buckeyes’ first loss of the season. Jordan Smith didn’t hold back in telling King James how he felt about the NBA star’s plea for a pass interference call.

5. The Scenery

The White Out is always a sight to behold and Saturday was no exception. More than 107,000 fans packed into the stadium wearing white. The fireworks also were on a whole new level, and the pyrotechnics team must have been hard at work all week.

4. Penn State Students Stormed The Field After The Victory

The win was paramount in every sense of the word, so Penn State students did what they do best: coalesced into a huge and unstoppable mass. ESPN seemed to like the aesthetic:

3. Blake Gillikin Roasted Some Buckeye Fans On Twitter

Blake Gillikin had some fun with Ohio State fans on Twitter following the victory, much to the delight of the Penn State faithful in the Twittersphere.

2. Marcus Allen’s Block

I could watch this over and over. Marcus Allen’s block led to Grant Haley’s long touchdown return, and it was easily the play of the game.

1. We Are…Nationally Ranked!

Penn State football is ranked in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since 2011 and spirits are high in Happy Valley. Everyone in the stadium could sense it. The game felt like a turning point for the program – a program that has fought through an incredible amount of adversity. This win just felt good, and the national recognition doesn’t hurt either.

About the Author

Derek Bannister

Derek is a junior majoring in Economics and History. He is legally required to tell you that he's from right outside of Philly. Email Derek compliments and dad-jokes at [email protected]

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