Gameday Observations: Northwestern

Still undefeated.

Penn State football went out west for the second time this season to take on Northwestern in the Nittany Lions’ third Big Ten game of the season. James Franklin and his team pulled off what was supposed to be an easy victory, but what ended up being briefly in doubt, 41-13.

Our writers and photographers drove out to Evanston, Illinois, to capture the sights and sounds of Penn State’s fifth win of the season.

Chicago Is Nice…

If everyone on our football beat was being honest, a few would say they weren’t interested in going to Northwestern for the football. We just wanted to see Chicago. 

While Northwestern says that it’s “Chicago’s Big Ten school,” it’s a 40-minute drive from the downtown area of the city and isn’t that close to the city proper border, either. That being said, we got up early Sunday morning to see downtown Chicago before the long drive home. We saw the famous Bean, but sadly there was too much construction around it to get up close and personal. Still, the rest of Chicago was great, and it quickly became one of our favorite cities.

…But It Doesn’t Care About Northwestern Football

Remember how Northwestern says that it’s “Chicago’s Big Ten school?” Someone tell Chicago that because it might not have gotten the message. 

Northwestern reported an attendance of 25,064 for Saturday’s game, but if you’re just counting people wearing purple, that number gets cut in half.

Penn State fans were everywhere in the stadium Saturday and made more noise than the home crowd when it mattered. Admittedly, Northwestern football isn’t in a great place right now. The team is terrible and in the midst of a pretty rough scandal, but Northwestern is justified in trying to lower stadium capacity when it renovates Ryan Field in a few years’ time.

Deep Dish Pizza Rocks

Everyone’s heard about Chicago-style deep-dish pizza, but none of our football writers or photographers had ever tried the delicacy until Saturday evening. We grabbed some of the famous pie with former Onward State cocktagon advocate and current Northwestern graduate student Adam Babetski (don’t worry, he’s just getting his master’s degree and was wearing Penn State gear), and we were amazed. 

This stuff isn’t a pizza. It’s a cake. And we love cake here at Onward State. 

Welcome Back, Sean Clifford

After playing on Thursday night, former Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford had the weekend off from NFL action. He decided to take the time to make the trek from Green Bay to Evanston to witness his former team defeat Northwestern. We’re sure he’s a big fan of watching Chicago teams lose these days.

Chicago Bears’ GM Ryan Poles was also in attendance and may have been at the game to try and make sure that Clifford wasn’t ready for the Bears’ second game against the Packers this coming January. But he was probably just there for the football.

Where’s The Campus?

Saturday’s game was another lesson for how spoiled Penn State fans are. Ryan Field wasn’t a great stadium and lacked both a comfortable concourse and good gameday eats.

Additionally, the stadium was a bit of a hike from the campus itself. We parked in a parking garage about a 10-minute walk away from the stadium, but that parking garage itself wasn’t close to the campus. In all, there was about a mile’s distance from the edge of campus to the stadium. In between were residential areas, a religious building, and a hospital affiliated with the University of Chicago.

In addition, we weren’t able to see any tailgating near the stadium. There was one medium-sized lot near the stadium, but most of the tailgating seemed to be further away down the stadium. Most of the tailgating was Penn Staters, anyway.

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About the Author

Joe Lister

Joe is a junior journalism major at Penn State and Onward State's managing editor. He covers Penn State football, among other Penn State sports. He also listens to Mac Miller more than you. If you want to find him, Joe's usually watching soccer with his shirt off or at the gym with his shirt on. For dumb stuff, follow him on Twitter (iamjoelister). For serious stuff, email him ([email protected]).

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