First up was the Nebraska game in 2002 with highest attendance ever 110,753, one of which was me and many of which were members of the 1994 team. It was absolutely hair-standing-on-end electric. It wasn’t technically a White Out but it was the first rumblings of the matchless tradition to come. Students and fans set out to settle the score for ‘94 against a seventh-ranked Nebraska team. And settle it they did with a 40-7 route.
Many people also mentioned the 2005 Ohio State game. A classic Penn State defensive battle. Tamba Hali had a huge hit at the end of the fourth quarter that forced a fumble and sealed the deal in a game that goes down in history as a turning point for our football program. The lean years were over and we were on the road back to being a national powerhouse.
Rounding out the best White Outs ever is the 2013 Michigan quadruple overtime game. I watched that one on TV with my tiny baby sleeping in my arms because I dared not set him down and risk missing even one scintillating second. My dad, my husband, and I cheered our hearts out in the most excited silence in the history of the world, and still ended up speechless for a week over that epic win.
These three Whites Outs rank among the top Penn State games of all time. All three games featured a team that, after years of trial, rose up to show the nation we’ve still got it. I believe it all began with the White Out-- a movement of solidarity, an outward sign to each other and the nation that we are one team. Even Urban Meyer said he wished we’d pick another team to White Out.
And so our attention turns to this weekend. How will our White Out answer the horseshoe’s last season Black Out? Where will this game rank among the greats? I think that’s kind of like asking if you’re an optimist or a pessimist.
Regardless of whether you find yourself on the bright side or not, it’s time to show up. We need some serious positive energy directed toward our stadium on Saturday night.
In an article this week, Coach Franklin said, “We’re going to need the fans. We’re going to need the alumni. We’re going to need everybody for this challenge that we have that we’re facing all together. We’re going to need the stadium to be the most difficult environment in the history of college football come Saturday night.”
That sounds like a challenge to me. Can you top Nebraska in 2002? Ohio State in 2005? Michigan in 2013?
This is why we’re the Greatest Show in college football. We show up and give everything we’ve got. This is why students and players continue to flock to our university. We’re the total package: brains, brawn, and beautiful white apparel.
Ohio State may be highly ranked, but we thrive as the underdog. Let’s remind Ohio State how we do things in Happy Valley. Let’s remind Ohio State who WE ARE.