Gameday Observations: Penn State vs. Purdue
Penn State’s 62-24 romping of Purdue was one of the program’s most dominant victories in years. However, West Lafayette had plenty to offer, and stood out as one of the most intriguing places in the Big Ten. Take a look at some of our staff’s Gameday Observations.
Purdue fans are incredibly nice: Maybe we had a few isolated incidents, but Purdue fans were extremely nice folks. A few instances that come to mind are the Penn State couple whose son now attends Purdue and the man we met in Denny’s the next morning. As we sat awaiting our breakfast before embarking on our eight hour trek home, a man sitting adjacent from us approached our table. He then dropped four 20 percent coupons onto the table and told us to have a wonderful day. Sure, it wasn’t much, but it was the simple act of kindness that stood out. The people of Indiana are good people, and they certainly left their mark on us.
Purdue’s symbols are odd: So, Purdue lays claim to the World’s Largest Drum — one that literally cannot be dwarfed by any else around. Personally, I found the drum to be an odd novelty that didn’t really fit in. Why a drum? Why make it so big? More importantly, why not use it more? The sparingly-used instrument spent more time sitting idle than it did being used, I don’t know. However, I do know that Purdue Pete is also the most frightening mascot in the entire country. His stone-cold gaze peers deep into your soul; Purdue Pete cannot speak, but his eyes do all the speaking. Everybody please be thankful Penn State’s mascot isn’t a muscular figure with an oversized head and large eyes.
Penn State and its fans need to understand they are really lucky: The complaints in Beaver Stadium aren’t uncommon. “Students would rather tailgate than come to the game on time, “the student section is never filled by kickoff,” “our 107k stadium sometimes is missing capacity by a few thousand,” etc. What if these students never showed up or the stadium was half empty every week. 33,157 was the announced attendance (more likely tickets distributed than actual people in the seats) in the 57,236 seat Ross-Ade Stadium and the student section had maybe a couple rows filled , which were all but vacated by the fourth quarter. The story I was told is that the students tailgate/go to the bars before the game, skip the game to nap, and continue their gameday festivities after it’s over. Be happy that’s not Beaver Stadium. Be happy that’s not Penn State’s fan base or students. Be happy that’s not your team. That would be deflating to walk into every week.
Ross-Ade Stadium is pretty sweet: Forget about the lackluster crowd and just take in the stadium, and I think it would be a really cool place to play college football for a decent recruit. I imagine this is what Beaver Stadium was like before all the renovations and those two upper decks were hacked up. Like most stadiums in the Big Ten, the problem is filling the place. You see the difference in atmosphere between a regular game at Beaver Stadium and the White Out. If the Boilermakers improve and the fans come, Ross-Ade Stadium is not going to be an easy place to play.
Purdue’s tailgating environment is unique and awesome: While walking from the media lot at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Course to Ross-Ade Stadium, we came across maybe a hundred tailgates set up directly on the course. Folks were even throwing footballs around on the fairway of one particular hole. How can you beat that? At one of the houses right next to the stadium, there was a Purdue fan casually chilling on a Segway in his driveway. Imagine cruising from tailgate to tailgate on that thing. Now that’s the life.
The press box was really neat: On top of the cups of popcorn, which were awesome, Purdue also had a bunch of cool things scattered throughout its press box. There were even replica models of all the Big Ten stadiums in a glass case. Photos from decades of Boilermaker history lined the walls outside the elevators. I can’t wait to make the long drive back to Indiana in two weeks to check out Bloomington.