Back In Beaver Stadium - With Fans!
The Penn State Nittany Lions competed against the Ball State Cardinals at Beaver Stadium in front of fans on Saturday for the first time since 2019. There were 105,323 people in attendance that showed their allegiance and support for their teams. Four of CommRadio’s sports contributors will detail and analyze their gameday experience with fans back in Beaver Stadium.
The Penn State football experience has been dubbed by some as the “Greatest Show in College Football.”
Penn State’s victory over Ball State along with the events paying remembrance to those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, created a memorable day for fans. However, there might have been
some slight disappointment from experienced students and fans.
The majority of Penn State’s first-year and second-year students attended their first Penn State football game and there was a definite learning curve. The issues I had were with the students.
The major issue regarded Penn State’s mascot, the Nittany Lion. Traditionally, students chant “We want the Lion!,” which is followed by the mascot choosing a section of students who will carry him to the top of the bleachers. This time, the students dropped the Nittany Lion in the front row, leaving him to walk to the top himself.
The failure of this major tradition along with a general lack of energy and engagement at times is worrisome. This does not create an intimidating environment for teams such as Auburn or Michigan. Perhaps the students were more relaxed because of Ball State’s level of competition, but we will not truly know until next week.
I’ve been a Penn State football fan for a bulk of my young life and one of the largest selling points of coming to Happy Valley was the heralded atmosphere of Beaver Stadium. Despite my fandom and interest in attending, yesterday was my first experience in the illustrious stadium. One thing is for certain, it did not disappoint.
The truth is, regardless of the game being a blowout, from the kickoffs to the extra points the crowd was on the edge of their seat for every play. The team executed and put on a show for the crowd, and the halftime show was a beautifully done tribute to the heroes of 9/11 and the pandemic.
The moment that I will forever remember is the alma mater at the end of the game. For a moment, the team, the students and the fans were one, and the gravity of the moment and the anticipated reunion finally hit. It was a great game, but more importantly, WE ARE back.
This was my first ever Penn State football game and it was nothing short of amazing. As a first-year student, this game showed me what it truly means to be a Nittany Lion. I felt at home. The energy in Beaver Stadium was electric from the military flyover to the Blue and White Band until the signing of the Alma Mater. Penn Staters old and young joined once again to enjoy a Saturday tailgate. A blowout win was the icing on the cake.
The tailgate spirit was also out of this world. Everyone treated me like family. There were plenty of games of cornhole and Spikeball to be played, laughs to be shared and photos to take. Nothing compares to a Penn State tailgate.
This game made the anticipation for my first White Out game this Saturday greater than I could imagine. Penn State football is back!
Penn State football is back home and so are its fans.
The homecoming game was a stellar one for not only the win but the pure joy to have fans back at Beaver Stadium. With half of the tailgate being wild college kids partying and living their best lives, and the other half being alumni and families just enjoying being back outside the stadium made the feeling of Penn State football is back and at full swing.
Seeing the entirety of Beaver Stadium packed shoulder to shoulder with fans is a true sight to behold. The student section brought an electric energy when the Nittany Lion told them too or just when the game was going their way is always an amazing feeling.
Most importantly, having a game, even though a blowout win, is a fun experience with a crowd as energetic as this one is when they have their team return home.
Neil Conley is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dylan Price is a first year majoring in journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.
Alyssa Wagner is a first year major in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ethan Hetrick is a first year majoring in communications. To contact him, email email@example.com.