Gameday Observations: Appalachian State

College football is back, baby, and so is Gameday Observations. We’ll bring you into the stands for every Penn State football game during the 2018 season. From the Beaver Stadium student section to Heinz Field to the Big House, we’ll cover what you can’t find in game recaps or box scores.

Let’s kick things off with Penn State’s home opener against Appalachian State:

  • Throughout the weekend, I was impressed by the number of Appalachian State fans who turned out in Happy Valley. There’s something to be said for a fan base that travels so well — especially more than eight hours away from campus.
  • The weather was nearly perfect for a 3:30 game, although maybe a touch warm. The clouds made it seem more like nighttime and helped create a pretty intense atmosphere in Beaver Stadium. By the end of regulation, it was dark, loud, and felt like an important Big Ten matchup in the middle of the season. Maybe that also had something to do with the score, but I digress.
  • Cell service somehow seemed better in and around the stadium than it has in the past, though no one seems to have a very good explanation for how or why. Our staffers unanimously agreed they were able to drop and receive pins and send even photos and videos, which is usually a struggle. I was even able to send this video to our sports editor in the press box during the game:
  • There were somehow no shakers for the student section beyond the S-Zone and the first 20 or so rows of every other section. This seems to happen for every home opener, but it was especially bad this year. Cheering without a shaker, especially during a close game, feels weird.
  • Blue Sapphire Gillian Brooks was a little underwhelming during her halftime show debut — maybe because she mostly stayed on the west side of the field and din’t really venture into the South End Zone. After only two weeks on campus, I’m sure she’ll grow into the role, but she’s no Rachel Reiss or Matt Freeman quite yet. Or maybe I’m just prematurely old and nostalgic.
  • Speaking of the halftime show, I love the Blue Band as much as the next person, and they were outstanding as per usual. However, it seemed hard for the student section to really get into the Ella Fitzgerald theme.
  • Three things in life are inevitable: death, taxes, and Beaver Stadium Music Man PJ Mullen playing POWER at least 50 times in a single football game. Oof, POWER never gets old, but it might by the end of this season. We didn’t really hear any other new songs, “Closer” was back by popular demand, and the “new ‘Closer'” didn’t come out until we were all exiting the stadium. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Nittanyville showed out in full force as per usual, but seemed to have fewer signs and banners than in previous years. I personally am already missing the Lion Ambassadors “Bees are dying at an alarming rate” banner from last year.
  • The rest of Penn State’s fan base showed up, too, with a game attendance of more than 105,000 people. Comparatively, last year’s home opener vs. Akron garnered about 102,000. Beaver Stadium hasn’t been #105kStrong for a home opener since its 2008 win over Coastal Carolina.
  • Big news: Athletics changed the format of the student tickets. No need to deal with all the extra numbers and info — all you need now is a section and a side. Hallelujah!
  • It’s not my job to get into the scores or any technical football jargon in this post, but oh boy was there one frustrating thing about the Mountaineers: Their cleats look exactly like penalty flags on the field from afar.
  • Plenty of folks from the student section started to file out during and after halftime, but those who stayed got loud. And it was necessary.

That’s it for this week! We’ll be back next Monday with observations of the Pitt game, which is bound to be an all-around shit show.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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