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Gameday Observations: Maryland

Penn State clobbered Maryland 38-3 to put a red exclamation point on the careers of the team’s beloved seniors in their Beaver Stadium finale. Small but mighty, the student section was still the place to be on Saturday. Let’s get right down to it with our observations from the game.

  • The student section turnout was disappointing at best and embarrassing at worst. Sure it was Thanksgiving break. Sure the weather was not ideal. Sure the game was relatively meaningless for Penn State. Maybe I’m old and crotchety now that I’ve been to my last home game as a student, but in one, or two, or three years, you’ll wish you had gone to that one game you missed…especially when it’s the game where Trace McSorley got his curtain call. If nothing else, our seniors deserved better.
  • Not to dwell, but the empty student section had some additional consequences. The S-Zone was a mess, and at no fault of Lion Ambassadors. For the first few minutes of the game, it seemed like they may have abandoned all hope of even putting together the S-Zone. I personally didn’t think there were enough people, either. But sure enough, a little while later, the blue and white shirts and shakers were handed out and painstakingly stuffed on over coats and ponchos. We made a brief cameo on the big screen, but it wasn’t pretty. All hope was lost when the crowd shifted around after halftime.
  • The lack of bodies to float over didn’t stop the Nittany Lion, though.
  • Another consequence of the lack of students in the student section was the abundance of non-students in the student section. I counted at least a dozen younger siblings in my general vicinity, plus what appeared to be someone’s grandmother. Talk about senior day, eh? This phenomenon also gave me war flashbacks to my first game freshman year (shoutout Buffalo), when I had the pleasure of standing behind a middle-aged couple making out in the student section. *shudders*
  • Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, the Blue Band wasted no time smashing the “Christmas music” button and giving us the true halftime show of the century. You just can’t beat Mariah Carey.
  • I can’t write gameday observations without including something about the music. Beaver Stadium Music Man PJ Mullen made some interesting choices this weekend as always. Here’s a power ranking:

1-10: Sweet Caroline (finally!)
11: All I Do Is Win (At first the student section was confused when this song continued to play as we waited for the alma mater to start, but then we realized we were waiting on Trace McSorley to jog back to the team and all was right with the world.)
12: I Gotta Feeling
99: Somewhere Only We Know (PJ, are you trying to rip our hearts out?!)
100: Five More Minutes (see above)
10,000: Baby Shark

  • The most emotional part of the game itself was when Trace McSorley headed for the sidelines, replaced by Tommy Stevens. The standing ovation that ensued was well-deserved.
  • I don’t think I can do what happened after the game for this year’s seniors justice, so I’ll just leave you with these:

Thanks for following along with the South end zone this season. We’ll catch you on the flip side of the pillow for Penn State’s bowl game.

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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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