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Gameday Observations: Michigan State

That’s a wrap, folks.

Penn State football’s 2022 regular season is in the books. The Nittany Lions captured their first 10-win season since 2019 with their 35-16 win over Michigan State on Saturday. More importantly, they reclaimed the precious Land-Grant Trophy and brought it back home to Happy Valley.

While Penn State awaits its bowl destination, let’s take a look back at some of Saturday’s Senior Day action at Beaver Stadium.

Senior Day Festivities Dominate Pregame

Saturday saw 22 Penn State football players honored prior to the game as part of the program’s annual Senior Day ceremony. Sean Clifford, Ji’Ayir Brown, and Jonathan Sutherland were among the players recognized prior to kickoff.

Brown and Clifford each ended their Beaver Stadium careers in fitting fashion, as Clifford tossed four touchdowns and Brown led the team with seven tackles.

Student Section Was Kind Of Empty

You could certainly tell this was the “Thanksgiving break game.” To their credit, some students made the trip back to State College a day or two early to support the Nittany Lions on Senior Day. However, in terms of attendance, it wasn’t the best showing from the student section.

I don’t really blame students who decided to stay at home for a couple of extra days. The game wasn’t the most exciting, and it’s always nice to spend some extra time at home with the family.

Welcome To Happy Valley, Brian Daboll

This sure was a surprise.

New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll was in the house to see Penn State’s regular-season finale. Daboll’s son is a member of James Franklin’s staff (which many people, including myself, didn’t know), so the NFL Coach of the Year candidate made the trip to Happy Valley to show his support.

It’s a shame Daboll didn’t bring Nittany Lions Saquon Barkley and Cam Brown with him, though. That would’ve been cool.

Daboll’s Giants currently boast a 7-4 record, which puts them in third place in the suddenly competitive NFC East.

Nittany Lion Reveal

After three years, the Nittany Lion’s identity was finally revealed. During the first half of Saturday’s game, the Nittany Lion took off the headgear and revealed himself as senior Michael McDermott, which was met with a roar from the crowd. Then, a “We Are!” chant ensued.

In an interview with Penn State Athletics, McDermott called it the “most rewarding job on the planet.”

Shaker Snake

You gotta love Penn State students, folks. They’ll do anything at football games but watch the actual game.

To cure their boredom, they created a snake with the shakers. No, like actually.

That thing was really long, so I can’t help but be impressed. Nicely done.

The Land-Grant Trophy Is Back Where It Belongs

Ahhh, now this is what you’ve all been waiting for. The most beautiful trophy in college football is back where it belongs in Happy Valley. Welcome home, Land-Grant Trophy.

The team hoisted the 50+ pound trophy in the air to celebrate the Senior Day victory. My goodness, that trophy is just so gorgeous.

Sean & Liam Clifford Share A Moment

This was incredibly wholesome.

After the game wrapped up and Sean was done with media, the Clifford brothers shared a moment together out on the field. They had a catch in a near-empty Beaver Stadium.

After probably having a catch hundreds of times in the backyard growing up, the brothers took the field to do it once more. Talk about a full-circle moment, folks.

Sean leaves Penn State as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in program history. Despite the constant criticism he receives, there’s no denying his career accomplishments.

Onward State’s Senior Day

While Penn State football recognized its seniors, it was also Senior Day for Onward State. All five staffers who covered the game for the blog on Saturday did so for quite possibly the final time (fifth-year possibilities, aside).

Writers Ryan Parsons, Sam Fremin, and Frankie Marzano covered the team all season and sat in the Beaver Stadium press box for one final time as members of Onward State. For Frankie and Sam, it was their first year on the beat, and for Ryan, it was his third. Personally, I can’t begin to express how proud I am of each of them for all their hard work this season.

Our two photographers from Saturday — Alysa Rubin and Kyra Cunningham — are also seniors and like they always do, captured the game through their lenses as well as anyone. Alysa photographed Penn State football for us the past two seasons, and Kyra stepped in this year and did a terrific job. One other senior, Teagan Staudenmeir, photographed games for Onward State this year and did an awesome job.

I’m extremely proud of the three of them for the excellent content produced all season long. Our coverage wouldn’t be the same without our talented visual staff.

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About the Author

Gabe Angieri

Gabe is a senior majoring in journalism and is Onward State's managing editor. He grew up in Lindenhurst, New York, and has had the absolute misfortune of rooting for the Jets, Mets, and Knicks. If you want to see his bad sports takes, follow him on Twitter @gabeangieri and direct all hate mail and death threats to [email protected]

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