Seniors Reflect On Their Final Penn State Football Season As Students

Man, what a year.

After a season with no fans, students were eager to get inside Beaver Stadium and stand for hours to watch Penn State on the weekends. Although it might not have been the season we hoped for, seniors certainly cherished every moment.

Now that it’s come to an end, seniors have nothing to look forward too can always come back as an alum, but it won’t be the same. In a time of reflection, some of our seniors on staff took time to look back at their last season as Penn State students.

Will Pegler

I’d be lying if I said football wasn’t a major reason I chose to come to Penn State. I’ve loved Penn State football for my whole life, and it’s pretty crazy I’m done with it as a student. I’m so glad I got to spend my last game in the student section, but I’m also excited for all the memories I’ll get to make as an alum.

My younger brother, Charlie, and all my friends who’ll be students next year can expect at least a couple of visits from me next season and beyond. Going to games in Beaver Stadium has been a part of my entire life so far, and that’s not going to stop anytime soon.

Hope Damato

I’ve been going to Penn State football games for as long as I can remember, but the most recent home game most certainly won’t be my last. In all seven games, I was surrounded by so many friends and enjoyed every moment in the student section. Of course, I was upset that it was my last season standing on the metal bleachers, but I couldn’t help but be thankful that we finally had a normal season in the stadium.

I definitely cried more than once during the season — not just because the team let me down, but because I’ll truly miss everything about being in the student section. Getting up at 7 a.m. for noon games and not getting home until after 1 a.m. for night games might seem exhausting, but these moments created so many memories that I will hold onto. Grace and Colleen, you better save me a seat next year.

Charles Reinert

Watching the clock wind down on the final minutes of the last game of my student career was one of those moments in my life that I will never forget. I was lucky to be on the field and get a unique view of my last game, and I just told myself to take a deep breath and take it all in. I’ve been a Penn State fan since I was small, and everything I’ve done in my life has been working toward me graduating from this great university.

The end is now in sight, and last Saturday was a painful yet happy reminder of that. We cannot stop the passage of time, but we can control what we do and who we spend it with. In these last months as a college student, I am only living in the now and enjoying the company of amazing people that I will not see very often in just a few short months. While I may never go to another game at Beaver Stadium as a student, I will always hold those memories dear, and they mean the world to me. Those memories will hopefully live on long after I’m gone.

Matt DiSanto

I’ve always been a sentimental guy, and that’s usually manifested by holding on to little keepsakes and saving every scrap of paper with any sort of meaning. Naturally, it shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve got nearly two dozen student section tickets saved up from my time in Beaver Stadium.

I’ve marked each and every ticket with that game’s score and ultimate outcome. And as I look through them from time to time, it’s hard not to think back on all the highs and lows. I didn’t grow up a Penn State fan — and I never really imagined I’d wind up here — but I’ve enjoyed the ride nonetheless. Maybe that says something about how special this stadium really is.

Sarah Sacker

There truly is nothing better in the world than Penn State football. We have our ups and downs for sure, but the experience in Beaver Stadium as a student is something that I will miss the most about being a student at Penn State.

The feeling of cheering with our friends, singing the Alma Mater, and watching our football team is a different experience in the student section that is magical. I will miss it, and I treasure the experience I have had as a Penn State student. All the love to the boys in blue for making my past four years as a Penn State football fan the best experience.

Michael Tauriello

This season, I was fortunate enough to be a photographer on the field of Beaver Stadium for every game. Thinking back to when I was in the stands, and when I had photographed games from the stands of an empty Beaver Stadium, it’s safe to say that this season was a season like no other in my eyes, one I’ll never forget! The perspective you get from the field is quite different from the one you get from the stands, especially for events like the White Out and Stripe Out.

So, what about the team itself? Well, at the end of the day, I guess I just don’t really mind if they win or lose. A 7-5 record was below expectations for a lot of folks, myself included, but you can’t argue with the fact that the Nittany Lions played exciting games this season, win or lose. They never lost by more than ten points this season. Some see that as a failure with the number of times that they lost, but I guess I just shrug and smile when I read that stat back to myself.

However, if you’re more interested in what happens during the game rather than the outcome like I was, you’d say it was a fun ride. While I enjoyed capturing Penn State pulling out a big win against Auburn in front of 109,958 fans, there was something so intensely fascinating to me about running from end zone to end zone with all the other photographers as they went down to the wire against Illinois. I had loads of fun this season, win or lose.

Mackenzie Cullen

As a senior, my final football season was bittersweet. I wanted to take in each weekend as much as possible. The first two games of the season were by far the most exciting and best games I’d been to. However, I didn’t attend the last two home games against Michigan and Rutgers because I’m a wimp who didn’t want to stand in the cold. All in all, I have no regrets about this season.

I’ll miss the excitement and experience of gamedays, but I definitely won’t miss freezing my ass off in the student section halfway through the season or waking up at the crack of dawn for noon games. I look forward to coming back as an al*m and throwing bomb tailgates and getting drunk with all of the friends I’ve made here.

Ryen Gailey

After being away from Beaver Stadium for just about two years, my final football season felt surreal and bittersweet. I had waited for quite some time to finally get my chance to be a student in the student section, and now that my final game in the stands has come and gone, it feels like time has flown by.

I’ve cried out of anger in the stands when Penn State lost to Ohio State in 2018, I’ve hidden in the bathroom just to give my feet a break from standing, and I’ve stood in the freezing cold rain just to watch a football game. But for me, Penn State football has always been about more than just the game. It’s been something that’s brought me and my family together and also given me the best weekends on this earth with my best friends in the entire world.

To my family who raised me to bleed blue and white and who drove six hours to come up for my final game as a student, to my friends who put up with me crying during our final alma mater and obsess over Beaver Stadium’s fry cups with me, thank you for making my time in the student section about more than just football. Beaver Stadium, I’ll be back. But this time, I’ll actually get to sit during a game for once.

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