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Let History Repeat Itself: A Look Back At The 2017 White Out

With College GameDay coming for the White Out game against Michigan this weekend, it’s not hard to get excited. Sure, there’s a certain buzz rushing through campus during every week leading up to a home game, but there’s something about the days leading up to a White Out that just hits different.

College GameDay’s presence for the third year in a row just adds on to that. After a heartbreaking loss in the White Out against Ohio State last year, it’s important to look back on the last time the White Out brought a victory under the Beaver Stadium lights: the 2017 White Out against Michigan, which ended in a head-turning 42-13 win over the Wolverines. 

Setting The Scene

The arrival of College GameDay to the 2017 White Out game marked the first time that the show had made an appearance in Happy Valley since 2009, and it began what is now a three-year streak of showing up to Penn State for the White Out. At the time, the AP ranked the Nittany Lions at the No. 2 team in the nation, second only to Alabama, while Michigan was sitting at No. 19.

Saquon Barkley was also in the middle of putting together a very convincing Heisman campaign, ultimately rushing for almost 4,000 yards by the time he was drafted by the New York Giants in the NFL Draft at the end of the season. 

College GameDay began filming at 9 a.m. that Saturday morning, with Penn State football legend and member of the ‘94 team Ki-Jana Carter on hand as guest picker. After pretending to choose the Wolverines as his choice to win, Lee Corso chose the Nittany Lions for only the fourth time in the history of College GameDay. 

The First Half

On the opening play of the game, Saquon Barkley ran 69 yards, which was ~nice~ enough for a touchdown and set the pace for the rest of the smackdown. 

Michigan ended up punting on its next possession, but when the Nittany Lions got the football for the second time, Saquon scored again. Coming into the game, he only needed 81 yards to surpass Blair Thomas for fourth-place all-time in rushing yards at Penn State, and this touchdown officially put him in the history books.

Then Michigan scored. There’s no need to relive that, and I will not be linking any sort of video to watch it again. However, when the Wolverines lined up to make the score 14-7, former Penn State commit and certified Jim Harbaugh cuddle buddy Quinn Nordin missed the point after for the first time in his career.

Shortly after, Michigan scored again, but to end the first half, Trace McSorley ran the ball for a touchdown to make it 21-13. Mike Gesicki displayed some incredible hops as he quite literally leapfrogged over McSorley during the celebration. Somewhere, Pat Chambers was writing his recruitment offer for the tight end.

The Second Half

McSorley scored again early in the second half before throwing a 42-yard touchdown to Barkley to extend Penn State’s lead to a comfortable 35-13. But because Barkley couldn’t just make it easy, he bobbled the football for the last ten or so yards before finally making it into the end zone. Were you not entertained?

For the last touchdown of the game, McSorley took it himself again — when will this man quit?- – to make the final score 42-13. The Nittany Lions went all out under the lights to a then-record breaking crowd of 110,823. Out of the 12 Penn State possessions, six of them resulted in a touchdown. That’s a touchdown 50% of its possessions, if you’re not so good at math.

Clearly, though, this beating struck a cord in some Michigan players, because after the game, Michigan cornerback Lavert Hill was seen flipping the bird to Beaver Stadium, which he later apologized for.

Alex Bauer | Onward State

To put it simply, the 2017 White Out game was fun. McSorley and Barkley were a two-man machine that couldn’t be stopped, and it was so loud it seemed like Beaver Stadium was shaking. This game was the epitome of Penn State football and showed just how dominant the Nittany Lions can be.

Some things have changed since the 2017 White Out, but 2019 is sure to be just as special. Until then, though, here’s a video of the 2017 crowd belting out Sweet Caroline to their hearts’ content. It still gives me chills.

See you Saturday, Penn Staters.

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About the Author

Katie Moats

Katie Moats is a junior majoring in English, and although she says she's from Chicago, she could spit and it would hit Wisconsin. One time she studied abroad for about a minute and decided to get an entire tattoo on her body about it. If you like seeing Penn State-themed retweets and other stupid memes, you can follow her @k_moats24 on Twitter. All email inquiries must be written in the form of a poem and may be sent to [email protected]


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