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Gameday Observations: Penn State vs. Indiana

The hype train for Penn State is still running hot as Nittany Lions continue into Big Ten territory. With a lot of hype comes a lot of expectations, and while Saturday’s matchup against Indiana wasn’t a pretty one, the Nittany Lions still impressed fans with another historic showing.

Even after an ugly win, the “Generations of Greatness” throwback theme brought a lot of great memories back to Happy Valley. Here are some other things we noticed on gameday:

  • The Neil Diamond impersonator was an…interesting guest. Everyone in the student section was either unsure of whether it was the real Neil Diamond or just in a happy, drunken daze, thrilled that some man in an uncomfortably low-cut shirt was leading them in “Sweet Caroline.” These moments certainly don’t happen every day.

  • The retro scoreboard with the retro logos was a nice — an unexpected touch to the “Generations of Greatness” theme. Any day that the classic “S” logo is used is a great one because of the nostalgia it conjures and the uncertainty if it stands for State or Saquon. The diamond pattern in the end zones also reminded me of a Penn State grandpa’s argyle socks. Needless to say, it all fit in well.
  • Saturday was already the second home game with more than 107,000 fans and we haven’t even gotten to the White Out yet. It was really awesome to see so many people packed in for an unexciting opponent like Indiana, and is a testament to the excitement this team is creating.
  • The Blue Band’s halftime medley from iconic movies from each decade was pretty entertaining and a great way to emphasize the theme. I bet it was even better for the people who could actually hear it. Alas, my heart must go on.
  • The yellow pediatric cancer ribbon, though well-intentioned, looked like a blob to the rest of the stadium at times. Any time any yellow shirts left the game or went to go to the bathroom, it only made it look worse. After the game, I had a some people ask me what it even was. Maybe next time, they should contrast the yellow with blue or some other dark color.
  • PJ Mullen finally played the Saquon Barkley song! Though it was brief, it was well worth the wait. My only wish is that they start playing it when Barkley does something unbelievable instead of when he’s walking off the field after a rough play.

  • The 3:30 p.m. kickoff time isn’t everyone’s favorite, but it provided a picture-perfect aesthetic as fans walked into the stadium. On a day that was forecast to be mostly overcast, the clouds opened up in the few minutes that I went into the stadium and walked through the terminal to the student section. My first game at Penn State two years ago was a rainy one, but walking into Beaver Stadium as the sun beamed for the first time all day made me wish I was a freshman experiencing the magic all over again.
  • There was a buzz around the stadium as news started to spread that DaeSean Hamilton was one catch away from breaking Penn State’s all-time receptions record. No one knew when he would do it, but the moment before he did, I almost felt the stadium collectively tighten. As much as we love to celebrate, there’s nothing like anticipation hanging in the air as everyone waits together in Beaver Stadium.

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