Gameday Observations: Penn State vs. Wisconsin
Saturday’s Big Ten Championship felt like a dream come true after the Lions secured their spot in the Rose Bowl with a win over Wisconsin. Our crew seemingly had just as much fun as the players in Lucas Oil Stadium. Check out our gameday observations from Indianapolis.
Indianapolis Has A Fun Vibe: Having never been to the city before Saturday, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect of Indianapolis. Truth be told, I was blown away. The vibe near College GameDay was incredible, and the bar scene was vibrant and fun. Our crew stopped by the city market for what might’ve been the best breakfast I’ve ever had. A breakfast bowl with multiple types of cheese, potatoes, egg, and chorizo gravy — all of which was locally grown and raised. Overall, it was an incredible experience that we won’t soon forget.
Success In Indiana: The trip to Indianapolis was our third trip to the state of Indiana this season. Despite the long car ride, I’ve come to love the bonding experience that comes with it. Nothing can beat those trips, and they’re memories that’ll last a lifetime for me. It helps that the Lions went 3-0 in the state this season.
There’s Simply Nothing Like The Penn State Fanbase: From College GameDay to the approximately 5,000 folks lined up for the pregame pep rally in the Convention Center, it continues to blow me away how large the Penn Stage community truly is. The line was probably 100 times the length of the Phyrst wait on Saturday nights after a home game.
Seeing Friendly Faces: We ran into Nittany Lion alumni and students at literally every single one of our stops on the ride home. We even saw former Onward State managing editor Alex Robinson on the highway back.
Saturday In Indianapolis Conjured Strong Memories Of The 2006 Orange Bowl: Both the 2005 and 2016 Nittany Lions had tremendous odds stacked against them, yet each team beat Ohio State in Beaver Stadium and pulled off spectacular postseason wins that stretched late into the night.
Arriving At The Perfect Time: Coincidentally, we pulled into our hotel at exactly 4:09 a.m. We got home to State College almost 24 hours to the dot from kickoff. It was unequivocally one of the most incredible experiences of my life, and being able to go down on the field for the postgame celebration was unreal. Lucas Oil Stadium was almost as loud as Beaver Stadium on a White Out fourth down. Maybe even louder.
Saturday Night Was Surreal: I still can’t put to words what Saturday night was like. But two scenes keep recurring in my mind: the torn Penn State, dealing with the biggest scandal in the history of college athletics, without hope or direction for a future – essentially left for dead. And then the Penn State beaming with pride as its players and fans chant the alma mater so loudly you could feel Lucas Oil Stadium shaking. The moments on the field immediately following the win will stick with me the rest of my life, even if 24 hours later, I’m still speechless trying to describe it.