Can you believe it’s been 651 days since we gathered together in Beaver Stadium? 651 days since we sang along with the Blue Band and the cheerleaders hyped us up during pregame. Coach Franklin spoke emotionally in his post game conference about seeing the RVs roll in on Thursday. The feeling of electricity on campus on Friday. The joy of fans welcoming the blue buses on Saturday as they arrived at the stadium. These ordinary game weekend rituals now feel even more cherished.
The 105,323 fans in attendance were the most at a home opener since 2008 and the most jubilant and energetic at a home opener maybe ever. The atmosphere inside Beaver Stadium is extra special and the impact we the fans have on home games is clear. Even those of us watching at home experience the dynamism of the Penn State community.
The 44-13 victory against Ball State was the 300th win in Beaver Stadium history. Beating the Cardinals may not go down in history as the most exciting-- it’s obviously no White Out against Ohio State-- but the victory holds its own as a triumphant return to a mostly normal Beaver Stadium. The first win in Beaver Stadium took place on September 17, 1960 against Boston University; prior to that the team played at Beaver Field and in ancient history Penn Staters competed on Old Main’s lawn. If only those early Nittany Lions could see what we’ve been through in the last few years and how far we’ve come.
We’re only two games into this season and there’s already so much to celebrate.
Sean Clifford became the 10th Penn State quarterback with 5,000 passing yards. He joins the likes of Tony Sacca, Kerry Collins, and Trace McSorley.
Jesse Luketa scored his first career pick six. His position on the team was uncertain leading up to this season, but he’s trusted his coaches and the program. His success thus far shows his hard work and commitment are paying off.
Marquis Wilson is the first Penn Stater to play both sides of the ball since Justin King. The two already shared a bond because King was involved in recruiting Wilson. Justin King also happened to be in attendance this weekend.
And did we all notice the quarterback sneak from under center? James Franklin said he thought the stadium would erupt when they lined up, the heavens would open and the crowd would collectively “aaaaaah” like angels. He didn’t get that reaction, but he sure did get the full Penn State game day experience.
After 651 days, we are finally home, together at Dear Old State. And we get to do it all over again next week with a White Out against Auburn. Go State! Beat the Tigers!