Top Five Whiteouts in Penn State History
Penn State is known across the country for having some of the most loyal fans in college football and having the loudest student section in the nation. Penn Staters love all game-day traditions, from tailgating and watching the blue busses arrive, to the drum major’s flip and replying as loudly as possible to every “We Are” chant heard across Beaver Stadium.
But there is one tradition that every Penn State football fan holds near to their heart---the White Out.
The student section at Beaver Stadium will forever go down in history for creating one of the most unique home-field advantages in all of sports. In October of 2005, 109,839 Penn State football fans packed Beaver Stadium dressed in all white. After an extremely loud student section and distracting crowd of white helped the Nittany Lions score a win over Ohio State, the White Out became an essential tradition for all big time games to come.
Although the White Out is a fairly recent tradition, we believe there are five White Outs that will go down as some of the most exciting games in Penn State history.
No. 5 September 10, 2011, Alabama 27-Penn State 11
Unknown at the time, September 10th, 2011 would mark the last White Out game for Joe Paterno. This game would denote the first time the Crimson Tide visited Beaver Stadium since 1989 and the second time these two teams met in ten years. E
van Lewis completed a 43-yard field goal during Penn State’s opening possession and quarterback Rob Bolden recorded 144 yards and a two- point conversion. Although the Nittany Lions finished the game without a victory, the visit from Nick Saban and the SEC elite created a lot of hype in Happy Valley leading up to the weekend.
No. 4 October 30th, 2010, Michigan 31-Penn State 41
It was Halloween weekend and one week before Joe Paterno’s 400th win in Happy Valley. Matt McGloin got his first career start as quarterback and recorded 250 passing yards and a touchdown. Running back Evan Royster had a record-breaking day, running for 150 yards and scoring two touchdowns.
That night, Royster broke the school career rushing record of 3,398 yards, held for nearly three decades by Hall of Famer Curt Warner. Penn State’s defense shutdown the Wolverines early with a loud and electrifying crowd at Beaver Stadium. The intensity from the crowd helped the Nittany Lion offense record a 10-16 3rd down efficiency. Penn State controlled the ball for over 37 minutes and came out on top 41-31.
No. 3 September 27, 2008, Illinois 24-Penn State 38
Conference opener, national TV, and a sea of 110,00 fans dressed in white, what more could a college football player want. Illinois became the first team that season to score against Penn State in the first quarter, but Daryl Clark and the Nittany Lions used their wide spread offense to tie the Fighting Illini early in the game.
Both teams continued to answer one another with touchdowns and they finished an electrifying first quarter tied 14-14. The offense scored on three straight drives and the defense was able to shut down quarterback Juice Williams with the help of loud White Out crowd. Wide receiver Derek Williams scored three touchdowns (1 receiving, 1 rushing, 1 on the return) and opened the 4th quarter with a 94-yard punt return touchdown. Penn State continued to answer Illinois’ comeback and came out with a 38-24 victory.
No. 2: September 8, 2007, Welcome to the White House, Notre Dame 10-Penn State 31
It was the second game of the 2007 season and Penn State was ranked 15th in the country. Every Penn State fan in attendance was decked out in all white and freshman Jimmy Clausen was scheduled to make his first start for the Fighting Irish.
The Nittany Lions had been looking forward to this game for almost an entire year, after a difficult 41-17 loss against Notre Dame in 2006. This rematch featured a 75-yard punt return touchdown by wide receiver Derrick Williams and exciting leaping touchdown by running back Austin Scott. The Penn State defense and a loud White Out crowd dominated rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen and beat the Fighting Irish, 31-10.
No. 1: October 8, 2005, First White Out in Penn State History, Ohio State 10-Penn State 17
ESPN College Gameday surrounded Beaver Stadium as the second largest crowd in Penn State history rushed into the gates on a cold and rainy October evening.
109,839 Penn Staters created a sea of white as the Nitanny Lions took on the Buckeyes for the Big Ten battle of 2005. The cheers from student section were off the Richter scale and to say future Heisman winner, Troy Smith was flustered is an understatement. Smith and the Buckeyes were forced to call several timeouts during the game and the noise from the crowd helped the Nittany Lions recover a fumble and intercept a game- changing pass late in the 4th quarter.
Penn State beat Ohio State 17-10 and proved to the nation that home field advantage does in fact exist in college football.
This Saturday, the Nittany Lions will look for a win against the University Michigan and to score a few extra points with the help from their 110,00 close friends dressed in white.
Maddie Brightman is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email email@example.com.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Spanish
Maddie Brightman is the General Manger of ComRadio and a reporter and producer for the Centre County Report. A member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism, Maddie was recently a part of reporting trips to Cuba and Super Bowl 50. At ComRadio, she also serves as a producer for multiple Penn State sports has done play by play for Penn State football, baseball and lacrosse.