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Gameday Observations: Ohio State

Penn State football made its long-awaited return to Beaver Stadium this weekend ahead of a spooky Halloween matchup beatdown against Ohio State.

Although the 38-25 loss didn’t go the way Nittany Lions fans would’ve liked, it wasn’t all for nothing. In fact, the game was pretty damn fun all around.

Here are a few things we noticed from the couch, computer, and (virtual) tailgate lots.

College GameDay Returns To Happy Valley

Once again, ESPN’s flagship college football show returned to Penn State ahead of the team’s clash with the Buckeyes. In fact, Penn State is the only school in the country to host College GameDay for four straight years.

Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit and David Pollack set up shop inside Beaver Stadium for the three-hour broadcast Saturday morning. I particularly enjoyed their Halloween-inspired set that incorporated cobwebs, hay bales, and pumpkins into the fold.

Former Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley joined the broadcast later on as its weekly guest picker. In fact, he stayed true to his blue and white roots and was the lone analyst to choose Penn State to win Saturday’s game.

Although it’s unlikely we’ll see Herbstreit and the fellas back in Happy Valley this fall, GameDay could run into Penn State again when the Nittany Lions face Michigan in Ann Arbor. We’ll need to wait and see, though…

Beaver Stadium Experience Persists

Although only a few hundred folks were in attendance, Beaver Stadium stayed rocking during Saturday night’s game thanks to music man PJ Mullen. In the background, the stadium’s staff made sure to keep pumping in crowd noise, classic jams, and cheers to keep the Buckeyes on their toes.

Although the background noise was there, the Blue Band’s absence was palpable. Athletics recorded it playing third down cues, fight songs, and more, and made sure to play them at the right times, but it all felt a bit artificial in the end.

Despite Penn State’s best efforts, the stadium’s desolate stands couldn’t be ignored, especially when the camera panned around them after any score or big play.

While we’re on it, ABC/ESPN’s use of archived White Out footage was simply sickening. Just put us out of our collective misery instead of reminding us of the good ol’ days, OK?

Cardboard Cutouts, S-Zone Banner Debut

Penn State unveiled a new S-Zone banner this week that featured a touching and subtle addition: the names of recent graduates and current seniors, all of whom missed out on their last football seasons as students.

Via @PennStateFball

Beaver Stadium’s highly anticipated cardboard cutouts also made their debut to rousing applause (or silence?). Although there’s no great way to explore them yet (my money’s on a 360-degree camera sometime soon), a few shots of the stadium gave us a glimpse at the chaos.

Via @PennStateFball

Here, we can draw a few quick conclusions. First, thERE IS A DOG ROW!? Incredible. I also spy (with my little eye) a blue and white Master Chief helmet (Mjolnir Mark VI, for you gamers out there), a Blue Band member, and a few babies. Adorable!

Blue Moon Serves As Perfect Backdrop

Once in a blue moon, Penn State is treated to perfect football weather. Even rarer is having both great weather and a blue moon.

Halloween’s big and bright full moon was a delightfully spooky backdrop during the Nittany Lions’ big game. In fact, its ominous glow helped a matchup against a terrifying(ly good) team feel far scarier than imagined.

A blue moon occurs during the second full moon of a calendar month, which doesn’t happen quite often at all. Hopefully, the next one we see will bring Penn State a little more luck.

Campus Was A Ghost Town

Perhaps it fit Saturday’s Halloween theming, but campus felt like an absolute ghost town this weekend. Without the nation’s No. 1 tailgating scene to fill the lots, Beaver Stadium’s surroundings were essentially desolate.

Of course, that’s not to say some students didn’t make the best of an eerily quiet gameday. We spotted a few slinging the pigskin and hanging out a few hours before kickoff.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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