Gameday Observations: Pitt 2019
From the temperamental weather to the non-stop trash-talking to the game itself, Saturday was an ugly, ugly day at Beaver Stadium, which is very fitting for the end of this storied series (for now at least). The close game certainly made things exciting, which is more than you can say about the first two games, but nothing seemed “fun” about watching each team try to let the other win.
Here’s what we observed from the 100th iteration of the Keystone Classic:
Beaver Stadium closed the gates truly moments after I crossed through the turnstile. I hadn’t even picked up my shaker before someone over the loudspeaker alerted us to take shelter for a potential delay.
Although I was pessimistic at first, there are lot of things worse than waiting an extra 40 minutes for a game to start. Hell, Iowa State and Iowa had two separate delays this weekend, and one lasted two hours.
The delay, while annoying, was handled pretty well, and crowd control in the stadium seemed to work fine. No real complaints on this end, even if visions of Michigan State 2017 flashed through my mind.
I have heard stories though that once the gates were reopened, fans waited in line at Gate A for well over an hour. Side note: my Gate A experiences this week went much better than the first two weeks. I didn’t need to use the resolution booth, and it seemed like there were much fewer people there this week. Yay for assimilation.
Pitt Highlights To Start The Game
Even after the weather delay, I was charged up for the game, thanks to a second hype video added to Beaver Stadium’s pregame routine. In addition to the usual “Black Shoes, Basic Blues” video, a compilation of highlights of everyone from Todd Blackledge to LaVar Arrington to Marcus Allen got me ready to run through a brick wall and do my best #FREEKODAK impression.
Too bad the game itself didn’t live up to the hype — although you might as well add Jordan “Legatron” Stout’s record-setting boot to that video if this series ever continues.
Jonathan Sutherland: On-Camera Talent
Can we retire Pat Chambers yelling on the big screen and hitting his cowbell and just replace him with Jonathan Sutherland full-time?
The mid-game cameos where pre-recorded players talk to the stadium (I get there’s no good way to do this) and do things like announcing the attendance are normally corny and seem pretty stodgy. But Sutherland had such an engaging presence while “looking” around the stadium and asking for those in blue to cheer and then for those in white to cheer. I’d love to see him back up there.
I Wanna Know…Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
I’ve been to plenty of Penn State games where a pregame shower turned into a sunny second half. And where you second-guess that decision to wear shorts at halftime as soon as the temperature drops 15 degrees, but I’ve never seen a game like Saturday, weather-wise. The weather had no idea what it wanted to be — kind of like Penn State’s identity-less offense that wants to ground and pound but also throw the ball deep on first down.
At first, it was really cloudy but also muggy, so people took off their rain jackets and sweatshirts. Then it misted, so the outerwear went back on. Then the sun came out, and it got hot. Then a cloud came and made it chilly. Then the cloud disappeared, leaving most of the stadium exposed and most-likely not lathered up in sunblock. This intermittent pattern of weather continued throughout the game and was just very bizarre.
Despite the fact that a handful of games are played in the rain every season, Saturday also marked a second first for me. When the student in front of me waved his shaker, I got splashed with a face full of water. Had this been 20 minutes later when the sun was beating down on us, it would’ve been a welcome refresher, instead of just a really weird feeling.
Stripe Out Waves >>>
I do not like the wave one bit, but it looks awesome at Beaver Stadium during the White Out and Stripe Out. The change from blue to white as fans attempt to stand in synchrony truly looks like a current rolling through the ocean and is a sight to see.
The Stripe Out in general always looks really cool, and it was no different on Saturday, even with a smattering of rain jackets mixed in.
The Nittany Lion Doesn’t Like “Eat Shit Pitt” Cheers
Penn State fans seem pretty split on the “Eat Shit Pitt” cheer. Some walk around with it on t-shirts and mix it in with “Sweet Caroline” even when the Panthers aren’t in town, while others hold the moral high ground about only cheering positively for their team. The Nittany Lion is in the latter camp.
Every time the student section broke out in jeers of “Eat Shit Pitt” (and there were a lot of them), the Lion, dressed in striped overalls, made motions to quiet the crowd. Most fans didn’t seem to either notice or care as they continued and grew more boisterous as the game continued, but the Lion showcased once again what it truly means to be the Symbol of Our Best.
Tape Don’t Lie
Official review was a hot topic of conversation at the game — whether it was Dan Chisena’s near-circus catch that was overturned or Taysir Mack’s acrobatic snag on the sideline to keep Pitt’s hopes alive on the last drive of the game.
One area of the game that could’ve used review is that segment in between possessions where a fan runs out to the 50-yard line, grabs an exercise ball from the Nittany Lion, and sprints back to the end zone within a set amount of time (I believe 20 seconds). That fan did NOT make it back to the end zone in time and seemed to be at around the four-yard line when the clock expired. Let’s run the tape and send this one upstairs…
Bo Nickal Is Forever A National Treasure
Pretty much every home game features a team, athlete, or org being honored on the field for some time of accomplishment. But we’ve never seen one like Saturday when the Penn State wrestling team was honored.
Three-time national champ and all-around badass Bo Nickal took the microphone, shouted out his girlfriend, and gave a version of his legendary interview following the 2018 NCAA Championships. Take a look for yourself:
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About the Author
Michigan’s ninth-ranked pass defense is clearly the strength of this year’s edition of the Wolverines.
It’s White Out week, and East Halls is back at it again with witty window messages made out of sticky notes.
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