Seniors Reflect On Final Penn State Football Season As Students
Thanks for the memories, Beaver Stadium.
Penn State football played its final regular-season game on Black Friday, ousting Michigan State 42-0 behind 586 yards of total offense.
However, before students hit the road for Thanksgiving break, most seniors experienced their last home matchup as students when the Nittany Lions battled Rutgers to close out their seven-game homestand.
For the Class of 2024, their era at Beaver Stadium arguably began more uniquely than any other previously graduated class of students. With general admission bans administered by the Big Ten in 2020, students who began their Penn State journeys during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic missed an entire campaign of home bouts located just steps outside East Halls.
Now, with 21 games at Beaver Stadium in the rearview mirror, most of our senior staffers are leaving the iconic concrete and steel structure feeling more grateful than sad.
I’d be lying if I said Beaver Stadium’s gameday atmosphere didn’t play some role in my decision-making process when deciding what school I would attend.
There’s absolutely nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and making your way to Beaver Stadium. The atmosphere, from downtown to tailgating lots to the actual game, is truly one-of-a-kind.
Football Saturdays have been the highlight of my four years here, and it still doesn’t sit right with me that we were unable to attend any games during freshman year.
Overall, this season was full of highs and lows. I swear, it rained for almost every game, and there were way too many noon games. However, I still had the privilege of watching one of the best teams in the country in the greatest atmosphere in college sports with some of my closest friends.
Beaver Stadium, I will miss you.
Growing up, I always wanted to play football for Penn State. It was my dream school, as who wouldn’t want to play in a stadium packed with over 100,000 people?
But, as I got older, I realized that that dream was most likely not going to happen. Instead of opting to play football for a different school, I decided to focus on academics and still attend Penn State.
I still had the opportunity to be a part of the Penn State football experience as a fan, and after not being able to attend the first year due to COVID-19, I made it my mission to make the most of the next three seasons.
At my first game as a student against Ball State, I was blown away at how loud the stadium could actually get. The following week, it got even louder at my first White Out. I was hooked, and I couldn’t miss a game. I only didn’t attend one home game over the rest of my time at Penn State.
From a nine-overtime game to seeing Jim Harbaugh’s pants catch on fire, I’ve experienced it all. While I’m going to miss stressing out about this team in person, I’m excited to do it from the comfort of my home.
Goodbye, Penn State football. Thank you for the memories.
Sarah Lynn DeCarlo
Bittersweet. Emotional. Electric. Three words to describe senior year football.
This season was still as fun as all the rest. The White Out was still as incredible. Tailgating was still as crazy. The hardest part was trying not to think that this was all the first of many lasts.
But I did as much as I️ could, went into the majority of the games, screamed, cheered, sang, and shed a few tears at the end of the Rutgers game. Penn State football will be a newfound love I️ will have for the rest of my life.
I have to admit, I’m no football expert. When I accepted my offer to attend Penn State in the middle of a pandemic, football wasn’t really on my mind, for more than one reason.
However, as the years went by and I was lucky enough to attend games each season, I grew to love the atmosphere. Whether I was freezing my ass off at a late-season game or experiencing the pure magic of a White Out, there really is nothing like Penn State football.
Sure, waking up for noon games or enduring the consistent rainy days wasn’t my favorite activity ever, but what kind of Penn Stater would I be if I didn’t brave those conditions at least once in my time here?
My friends and I made some really amazing memories at Penn State football games, and I’ll always be grateful for that.
My last football season was pretty textbook, in my opinion.
With the flurry of back-to-back noon games and late weekends, I wasn’t able to tailgate as much as I was able to in the previous years. Not to mention, a quick, personal stint with a sinus infection mixed with pink eye put me out of commission for the entirety of the UMass weekend.
However, I still made it my mission to make the most of my final student football season. I was luckily able to score the coveted season tickets (for the first time in four years), and I had a solid crew to attend the games with.
My favorite memory was during the Indiana game. My friend John and I splurged on the Beaver Stadium grape ciders and thoroughly enjoyed cheering a little too loud and generally meandering about the stadium.
The last home game was also a perfect way to end the season with crispy fall weather and a more tight-knit crowd. It was bittersweet, to say the least, and yes, I shed a few tears during the Alma Mater. To any current underclassmen reading this: learn the fight song, cheer loud, and tailgate early. You’re lucky to be a Nittany Lion.
It’s been a really good time, folks.
While many students pride themselves on representing in the student section, I spent most games in the seats with my family. Being far away from home never gets easier, and reuniting each Saturday is my favorite part of the week.
Many of our best moments occurred right in section SBU, in seats closer to heaven than the field. While I may no longer be a student come May, I know I’ll never forget these memories and look forward to making more as an alum.
After dealing with COVID-19 my freshman year and losing the fight to Ticketmaster sophomore and junior year, I finally got student section tickets for my senior year, and they did not disappoint.
Well, maybe the Michigan game sucked, but overall I got my $246 worth. I sat in the S-Zone three times, collected 19 shakers, and got a nice picture up front with the field for my mom on senior day.
The overall thing I’m sad about is that I feel I missed out on all the years to be a student in the section and that the next time I enter Beaver Stadium, I’ll be an alumna.
I did make the most of it and enjoyed every minute of it, so as I go on in my journey in life, maybe the next time I enter that beautiful stadium the refs won’t be blind bats that make terrible calls. Anyway, I can’t wait to come back. Love you, Beaver!
Where do I start?
For years, I’ve coined Beaver Stadium as my home away from home, and having the opportunity to actually call it my home for the past three years has been more special than I could’ve ever imagined.
To me, Penn State football is more than just a team. I grew up a product of a Penn State family, and ever since I could walk, Saturdays were meant for family, friends, tradition, and cheering on the blue and white.
Fittingly, my first-ever game at Beaver Stadium happened to be the Nittany Lions’ infamous 6-4 victory over Iowa in 2004. My first formidable stadium memory came when Sean Lee hoisted me up on the field during Blue-White Weekend in 2009. Now, I can confidently say my most memorable moments in the stadium occurred in section SF, row 1, seats 1, 2, and 3 with Michael Forcina and Cole Koffler.
As an executive board member of Nittanyville for the past three seasons, I built two of my closest friendships on campus through Penn State football Saturdays and festivities throughout home game weekends. From sleeping in a tent in sub-freezing temperatures all to watch Penn State fall in nine overtimes, to dressing up in dog masks in representation of the squad’s underdog persona against Ohio State, my most cherished memories as a student all surround Penn State football.
This year, I enjoyed home games from a higher vantage point with all of my friends. Having the opportunity to view most contests from the first row, a few in the press box thanks to Onward State, and the rest with my friends in section SK is more valuable than I could’ve ever asked for as a freshman.
I never missed a home game as a student, and if you’re planning on attending Penn State as an incoming freshman, I urge you with everything in me to do the same. Maybe, in four years, you’ll bawl during your last Alma Mater as a student, too.
Beaver Stadium, you’re one of a kind. So long, friend. I hope to see you at least once a year for as long as I’m able to.
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About the Author
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