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Gameday Observations: Penn State-Akron

This is a special season for Penn State — that much is undeniable. After an unexpected Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl run to end the 2016 season, the hype train for Penn State football hasn’t stopped. Despite the deadly combination of rain and a noon kickoff, the home opener against Akron just felt good.

While the 52-0 shutout certainly didn’t hurt, it’s more than that. Here are our game day observations:

  • I have to say that nearly 102,000 fans coming to Saturday’s game was quite impressive given the weather and I think that speaks volumes about how excited fans are for this season. Last year, on a much more beautiful day, just over 94,000 fans attended. This week was the first home opener where Beaver Stadium was at least #100kStrong since 2010; the hype for Penn State football this season isn’t like anything we’ve seen in recent years.
  • The crowd got there relatively early (probably unrelated to Penn State’s early stadium entrance incentives) and was absolutely into it from the start. The stadium was about as full as it was at any point last season and the first half atmosphere was pretty awesome.
  • My only complaint from Saturday: For some shameful reason, “Closer” was only played once and it didn’t come on until the third quarter.

  • Speaking of The Chainsmokers, it seems Beaver Stadium music man PJ Mullen hasn’t yet chosen a new song akin to last year’s “Closer” de facto college football anthem. I’ll be listening all season for the debut of the Saquon Barkley hype song, though.
  • I couldn’t help look past the fact that about a quarter of the crowd left at halftime, and another quarter left with still about 10 minutes left in the game. The moral of the story is that it’s not easy trying to attract a crowd. If you’re too good, no one will stay through the game. If you’re not very good, no one will show up in the first place.
  • Maybe it was because I was lucky enough to sit under the overhang in the student section or maybe it’s the magic of a home opener, but I was surprised to hear little to no complaining about the weather during either tailgating or the actual game. Both the student section and the entire stadium were much fuller than I’ve seen for any other sub-par weather game early in the season.

  • Shakers from the Blue & White Society seemed to run out pretty quickly this week even though I entered the game at my usual half hour before kickoff. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to the janky stepped-on shaker I found in the tunnel on my way to the student section. It got the job done.
  • That being said, it’s interesting the university is going to such lengths to get people to enter the stadium earlier. For me, one of the most exciting pre-game activities is chanting in the tunnel watching the team walk through before they run onto the field. But I get it.
  • A mid-game wave was more successful than any of last year’s attempts, so  it’s safe to say the Penn State family is especially in-sync (not to be confused with *NSYNC) this year.
  • While we’re on the topic of ’90s boy bands, the Nittany Lion’s skit as a member of the Backstreet Boys connected to four dummies mirroring every movement of his was a pretty interesting and entertaining way to get across that “Penn State’s back, alright.”
  • As if to illustrate the reach of the (literal) Penn State family, new Blue Band Drum Major Jack Frisbie landed his first signature flip this week, following in the footsteps of his brother Jimmy.

  • Concessions raised the price of legendary Beaver Stadium chicken baskets to a steep $10, but they did seem bigger. Also I might just be imagining that part. From this limited concessions experience, I didn’t see anyone around with pizza kones or Creamery ice cream.
  • To pay homage to the glory days of game day observations, it’s worth noting no one marked my student section ticket with a sharpie this week. Refreshing.


Next week will be interesting as Penn State will unveil the 2016 on the Beaver Stadium suite facade and will honor the 1982 National Championship team at halftime. Enjoy your #PittHateWeek shenanigans, Penn State!

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