Gameday Observations: Michigan
Beaver Stadium was a tough place to be Saturday when Penn State football fell 24-15 to Michigan, and history so gracefully repeated itself.
There was plenty of fallout after the hard-to-swallow loss in Happy Valley, including irate fans, tears in postgame media, and the ultimate firing of offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.
Let’s take a peek at the chaos that unfolded as the Nittany Lions’ road to the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff came to a dead end.
Beaver Stadium Hits Second-Highest All-Time Attendance Record
There are few things quite as special as hanging out with 110,856 of your closest friends.
Beaver Stadium reached its second-largest audience of all time as 110,856 folks piled into the home of the blue and white. The noon kickoff outshined the Penn State—Iowa attendance on September 23 by just 26 people.
The Nittany Lions’ 2018 White Out matchup against Ohio State still takes the cake with 110,889 fans in attendance.
With great attendance, though, some sacrifices had to be made. Late-arriving students cast to the heights of the student section were without shakers, a critical part of the gameday experience.
The student section was packed to the brim for the majority of the game, perhaps right up until Michigan’s fourth-quarter touchdown that left the Nittany Lions trailing by 15 with 4:09 remaining on the clock. Upon exiting the stadium en masse, students were denied the ability to depart at times in order for security to maintain a safe exodus. This created fairly large backlogs which caused some panic among students simply trying to leave.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro Makes A Stop In Happy Valley
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro took a break from bridge infrastructure to make an appearance at Beaver Stadium for the Nittany Lions’ battle with Michigan.
Happy Birthday, Big Ugly!
There was reason to celebrate in Happy Valley on Saturday.
One of the Big Uglies sported a pink birthday sash on gameday, causing the birthday ugly to get some extra love on the jumbotron. While the Big Ugly didn’t get his birthday victory, we hope he had a good day.
Hometown Hero Honored For 500th Penn State Football Game Attended
Schuylkill Haven resident Ed Sirianni was honored as the game’s “Hometown Hero” for his service in the United States Air Force and dedication to Penn State football. Sirianni has attended every Penn State football game since 1982, home and away.
Saturday’s game was Sirianni’s 500th, and the veteran and Nittany Lion diehard led Beaver Stadium in a meaningful “We Are” chant.
The Stripe Out Is Cool As Hell
In Penn State football’s eighth annual Stripe Out, the vibes and stakes were higher than ever before. Despite the Nittany Lions tallying their second strike in the loss category, the Penn State faithful showed out for the Stripe Out and turned Beaver Stadium into a spectacle on the chilly November afternoon.
As part of the day’s pregame festivities, two F/A-18F Super Hornets flew over Beaver Stadium, too.
Nittany Lion Face Plants During “Napoleon Dynamite” Skit
The Nittany Lion had his first major blunder of the football season during a media timeout against Michigan.
The Symbol Of Our Best debuted a “Napoleon Dynamite” outfit which included a blonde afro and the iconic “Vote for Pedro” shirt. The Nittany Lion electrified the somewhat somber crowd with a rendition of Napoleon Dynamite’s dance to “Canned Heat.” Unfortunately, the Nittany Lion didn’t stick the landing of his attempted backflip and ate grass. It was tough to watch.
Luckily, though, the Nittany Lion recovered and pulled off a few other stunts throughout the afternoon.
Fans Throw Trash Onto Field, Show Little Grace Following Loss
In what turned out to be an ugly loss for Penn State, its fans took it just as hard. Folks in the student section began tossing trash, shooters, shakers, and more onto the field as the Nittany Lions entered the tunnel.
Penn State hoops alum Myles Dread called out the student section’s behavior, in which he reported racial slurs were yelled from the bleachers.
Penn State Football Team Saddest Of All
In a sobering performance of the Alma Mater, the Nittany Lions couldn’t hide their feelings while singing toward an emptying student section.
James Franklin stood along at the 35-yard line for almost a minute, nearly in a daze, before collecting himself and regrouping to join the team for its postgame tradition. Meanwhile, Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics Pat Kraft comforted some of the Nittany Lions before entering the tunnel.
In an emotional exit from the field, Penn State students above the tunnel chirped Franklin and Nittany Lions departing the stadium, but offensive lineman Vega Ioane responded passionately.
Franklin and Kraft intercepted Ioane from the interaction and guided him back to the locker room.
Other fans remained in the student section to let the game and loss soak in with just one matchup remaining in Beaver Stadium this season.
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