Chris Fowler: Beaver Stadium’s ‘Unity And Passion’ Made Me Fall In Love With College Football
ESPN’s Chris Fowler has worked in sports broadcasting for more than 30 years, but it was his first college football game at Beaver Stadium back in 1974 that made him fall in love with the sport.
Fowler is in town to broadcast the Penn State-Pitt game this afternoon and posted a video on Twitter Friday night, recalling that fateful day at Beaver Stadium. The game was Penn State vs. Stanford on September 14, 1974, which the Nittany Lions won 24-20. After a back-and-forth game to open the season, Penn State running back Woody Petchel scored a game-winning touchdown on a one-yard rush.
“Most people pointed to an electrifying play made by a guy or team that eventually became their favorite. Mine was different,” Fowler said. “It was unity and passion on a scale I hadn’t seen before. It wasn’t a great Penn State team. It was a very vanilla Paterno offense.”
Fowler remembered how this game was his first after moving to State College when his father, a professor, took a job at Penn State. At the time, Fowler said, faculty’s children could get season tickets for $6. They used to pass stubs back through a chain-link fence and four people would get in on one ticket.
One thing Fowler emphasized throughout the video was how different Beaver Stadium looks now than when he first took in a game. However, the atmosphere doesn’t seem to have changed much.
“There was pandemonium and such optimism like you only get on opening day,” he said. “I was just caught up in it. I had never seen anything like it before. I was addicted to college football from that time. It was a game on this field in 1974 that I think sparked something and set me on a path to a career in college football.”
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