Posts tagged ‘Paternoville’
Got a great email this morning from Janice Fink, our counterpart at the University of Alabama alumni magazine, who was incredibly helpful last year when we were looking for some guidance on things to see and do in Tuscaloosa. Janice is a central Pennsylvania native who used to work at Penn State, leaving her with happily mixed loyalties in the football rivalry that renews Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Here’s what Janice wrote:
Wishing everybody in Happy Valley an exciting football weekend! I can’t be there in person, but many, many of my friends and co-workers are on their way—sure hope they make it through the floods. It’s hard to describe the level of excitement leading up to our visit to Joe’s House. When he stepped onto our field last year, the roar from the crowd was the loudest I’ve ever heard. As you might remember, I’m from central Pa. and worked for Penn State in marketing for a couple of years. Who do I cheer for? Well to attend last year’s game I sewed together a two-sided jersey combining a UA shirt with a PSU one, carefully configured so that it reads “Pennbama.” Although I’ll only be joining y’all via the airwaves this year, I’ll be rooting for everybody on the field, wearing my crimson and blue. :)
The loyalties of most of us watching Saturday won’t be so ambiguous, of course, (more…)
I was one of about 50,000 Penn Staters who spent a beautiful fall Saturday in Landover, Md., to witness the Nittany Lions’ 41-24 win over Indiana at FedEx Field. You most likely know the highlights: Quarterback Matt McGloin threw for a career-best 315 yards and the Lions returned a blocked punt for a touchdown late in the third quarter to spark the victory. I took a couple of photos that seem worth sharing:
That’s the view from the press box, watching the Lions start what proved to be a 99-yard, first-half touchdown drive on their own one-yard line. Fullback Mike Zordich (No. 9) opened the drive with a four-yard run.
That’s senior center Doug Klopacz leaving the field after the game. Klopacz suffered an ankle injury in the first half and did not return. Lovely as the day was, I can assure you he had no interest in being dressed for beach weather on Saturday afternoon.
Among the Penn Staters who left FedEx Field in a much happier mood were undergrads Alex Cohen and Rachel Wallen, who had front-row seats near the corner of one end zone.
I know Alex from his gig as president of Paternoville. He and Rachel came down to catch the game, then celebrate her 21st birthday with friends in Washington, D.C. The gloves she’s holding? A birthday present from Nittany Lion running back Stephfon Green, who handed them over as he passed their seats after the game.
The regular-season ends Saturday when Michigan State—still in the hunt for a share of the Big Ten championship—visits Beaver Stadium. Kickoff is at noon. We won’t be counting on weather this good, but a similar result would be just fine.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
Hardly. Campus is buzzing for tomorrow’s nationally televised visit of Ohio State. Penn State-OSU games increasingly feel like a Really Big Deal, both because they’re often such close games, and because the Big Ten championship is often on the line. The league title isn’t exactly up for grabs tomorrow—somebody will have to knock off somehow-still-unbeaten Iowa first—but it’s still huge for both teams’ hopes of a BCS bowl berth.
The buzz this week has been kicked up a few notches by a mini-controversy surrounding some student-designed T-shirts mocking Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor, the Western PA prep legend who spurned Penn State as “too country” for his taste. Pryor took his team’s home loss to Penn State last year particularly hard—as he should have—and his postgame emotion inspired a Terrelle “Cryer” shirt that was being sold on campus this week. The ensuing uproar led to the shirts being pulled, but won’t do anything to diminish the mood among Penn State fans (and especially students) when Pryor steps onto the field Saturday afternoon.
Speaking of not diminishing the mood: Paternoville was shut down Thursday night due to the weather—the wind chill here made it feel like it was in the 20s overnight—but the students are back out today. Not that these kids need any help getting fired up for game day, but just in case, one of their own, Jeff Lowe, put together this hype video for the occasion…
Two more things to know about this one: It’ll be the first football game—not this season, or even in college, but first ever—that anyone in Jack Crawford’s family has been able to see the sophomore defensive end play in person. The Daily Collegian has the details.
And… Ryan Seacrest will be at Beaver Stadium! Or so he Tweeted yesterday…
Hey any of you going to the penn state ohio state game in happy valley? I will be there sat!!
Apparently his dad is Gary Seacrest ’68. Wikipedia tells us that the younger Seacrest briefly attended the University of Georgia, but it’s good to see he has his football priorities in the right place.
Ryan, if you’re reading this, feel free to stop by our tailgate.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
I had plenty of leg room Saturday in section NAU, row 90, the nosebleed section above Beaver Stadium’s north end zone. And I wasn’t the only one: There were plenty of open seats throughout the stadium, the freak weather keeping many returning alumni from an actual homecoming, and keeping many locals from venturing into the stands.
The section that looked the emptiest, of course, was in the opposite corner of the field from mine: the student section, where the first-come, first-served seating arrangement makes it obvious when the students don’t all show up. Disappointingly for a 3:30, nationally televised Homecoming game, the student section never filled up last week. Seeing how many seats sat empty throughout the stadium, I couldn’t be too annoyed at the students; but then, remembering that none of those students had to fly in from out of town or brave the mountains on Route 322 — and that more than a few of them spent part of the first half chucking snowballs at their own cheerleaders — I couldn’t help thinking otherwise.
All of which led me, when I got back to the office Monday morning, to “tweet” sophomore John Tecce, the Paternoville vice president, with a 140-character version of the following: Is it harsh to ask if “The Best Student Section in College Football” only applies to 8 p.m. kickoffs that the students deem to be “big” games?
I think I already knew the answer, but I was really happy to see both Tecce and senior Patrick McDermott confirm it, both for me and their fellow students. On Tuesday, The Daily Collegian ran a letter to the editor from Tecce chastising the minority of his classmates who showed up late (or not at all) for the game against Minnesota, as well as those who spent more time flinging hard-packed snowballs at each other and onto the field than they did actually watching the game.
Today came a column from McDermott, making many of the same points, and reminding me how many of these students take their responsibility — both as representatives of the University to a nation-wide audience, and as supporters of the team — incredibly seriously. (The organization and commitment that goes into running Paternoville, which I experienced first hand last fall, is ample proof of that.) It also offered a nice dose of perspective: as a Collegian sportswriter 15 years ago, I was fired up enough to write this silly little column offering behavioral advice to students whose fandom didn’t meet my standards.
At the same time, I was also one of those student-ticket holders who threw his share of marshmallows at Beaver Stadium before that sort of thing was outlawed…
My point? Ice-chucking no-shows aside, Tecce, McDermott, and most of the rest of these kids are alright. And I have no doubt that when Ohio State rolls into town in a couple of weeks, they’ll be at their best.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
…and all was pretty calm at Beaver Stadium tonight. No rain—yet. And while the stadium was lit up like it will be at this time tomorrow night, it was a little empty, as were the parking lots. This is a view from the south end zone/club seats area near Gate B. (Click to see a larger version.)
Around the corner from that, near the student entrance, Paternoville was all lit up, but pretty quiet. Some students were just lounging on their sleeping bags inside their tents; others were standing around talking.
I heard a few Penn State students talking to two Iowa fans who had happened by; the Penn State students were advising the Iowa fans to be careful about where to go downtown and how much to flaunt their Iowa status. “Not everyone will be as nice about it as we’re being,” the one Penn State student cautioned.
I asked a student who was just hanging out in his tent why he wasn’t at the pep rally over at Rec Hall, and he said, “I never go to the pep rally. This [meaning Paternoville] is like a week-long pep rally.”
How long had he been camped here? “Since 5:30 Monday morning.”
Tina Hay, editor
Even die-hard fans have had some trouble getting excited about Penn State’s first three opponents, but there will be no such issues this week. The visit this Saturday of Big Ten rival Iowa ticks all the boxes need to get the Nittany Lion faithful amped. The build-up is well underway:
-Paternoville is hopping. My Twitter feed tells me that, as of midnight Monday, the student encampment had registered 110 tents—meaning some 900 students had set up camp and locked in their seat locations for Saturday’s game.
-ESPN has announced its popular College GameDay show will broadcast live from campus, and the students promise to be more ready than ever: There’s a Facebook group encouraging the fans to bring blank white signs to the live GameDay broadcast, while also aiming for the biggest live crowd in the show’s history. I’m not putting either past these kids.
-Did I mention this is one of those “White-Out” games? Maybe you’ve heard about them. They’re pretty awesome. I can’t wait.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
I was on my way out to Wegman’s this evening to pick up a fruit tart for a tailgate tomorrow morning, and I passed by the stadium and Paternoville, the student campout that starts several days before the game.
It’s a clear, pleasant evening with temperatures in the low 70s, and the students were feeling good. Three of them were at the fence, cheering lustily at every car that went by. So I pulled over and took their picture with my iPhone.
From left: Alex Weiner, Cody Miller, and Josh Perreault. Alex told me he’s had about three hours of sleep in the past couple of days.
On my way back from Wegman’s, I passed by the stadium again, just in time to see two or three police vehicles parked along the road, with an officer unloading a police dog from one of the vehicles. I’m hoping that turns out to just be a routine visit.
Kickoff against Temple is noon tomorrow, with the Big Ten Network providing TV coverage.
Tina Hay, editor
I don’t use this word lightly, but it is a perfect Friday afternoon in State College. As I posted on my Facebook status a little while ago: 80 degrees and sunny. Kickoff less than 24 hours away. There’s no place on the planet I’d rather be.
Football season starts tomorrow, if you didn’t know. Here are a couple of stories to get you in the mood.
-A lot of the media covering Penn State has jumped on the story of Jerome Hayes’ inspiring return from injury. I chose this one because it offers a look at what kind of kid Hayes is beyond the football field (and because I know the author).
-Most preseason coverage of the Nittany Lions has been pretty optimistic, with one big exception: The consensus that Penn State’s non-conference schedule is laughable. The Philadelphia Inquirer gives the University’s athletic administrators a chance to explain — and defend — the line-up.
No doubt, there are (and will be) a few million more storylines as the season goes on. I’m just glad it’s here.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
If you weren’t there, I hope you watched the game on TV, or at least saw the highlights (ESPN has a terrific game wrap-up here). If you were at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, you know what a great night it was. In front of what might as well have been a home crowd, Penn State won its first ever postseason championship, beating Baylor 69-63 for the National Invitational Tournament title.
I was not aboard one of the 35 or 36 buses that left State College on Thursday afternoon, but I did make the trip by car. It was well worth it, particularly since I was able to blur the fan/credentialed-media line during the game. In the first half, I sat in my baseline press seat and tried to act like a professional (read: no cheering). Here’s the view from my courtside perch; all those white t-shirts should give you an idea of the terrific fan support. (click for larger view)
At halftime, I hooked up with some friends in the crowd, tucked my credential in my shirt pocket and switched to fan status — I’m not taking sole credit for Penn State turning a four-point halftime deficit into a six-point win, but, you know…
I did keep the camera handy, though — novice photographer that I am, the quality of some of these is dodgy, but you get the idea. Here’s the view from our seats:
Another guy who I assume didn’t take the bus to Manhattan was native New Yorker Joe Paterno. Just as he did during Tuesday’s semifinal, JoePa sat a few rows behind the Penn State bench. He was also the game’s biggest halftime attraction, being mobbed by well-wishers and folks with cameras during the intermission.
The student support was the real story in the stands. Official attendance for Thursday’s final was 10,254, close to 9,000 of whom were cheering on the Nittany Lions. The students who made the trip — and most of them made two SC-to-NY roundtrips in the space of 48 hours — were their usual rowdy selves. Among the most loyal members of Nittany Nation are a bunch of the Paternoville regulars I met while reporting the cover story for our Jan/Feb issue. I saw a few of them Thursday:
I’ve been to hundreds of games at the Garden, and I don’t ever remember the stands shaking. But last night, when the students bounced to “Zombie Nation,” I found myself worrying about structural integrity. Very cool.
It’s probably impossible to overstate how cool it was to see Jamelle Cornley end his Penn State career with a title. The burly but undersized power forward led the Nittany Lions all season (and, really, throughout much of his career) with his toughness and intensity. After finishing with a game-high 18 points and seven rebounds, he was the obvious and thoroughly deserving choice for tournament MVP:
A couple more low-quality shots of ’Mel, worth including (I thought) to give a sense of just how happy everyone was to see him go out on such a high note. He’ll be missed next season.
Postgame, somebody handed Joe an NIT Champs t-shirts, which he put on over his sports coat. (Bonus points if you can ID the bearded gentleman to Paterno’s left — not too many bonus points, though. This one should be easy.)
Pretty close behind Cornley on the people-to-be-happy-for list is head coach Ed DeChellis ’82 Edu. No one knows Penn State’s success-starved hoops history better than Ed — Sports Illustrated recently called his job the toughest in the Big Ten — and while it’s not the NCAA Tournament glory he and his players were hoping for, it was a huge moment nonetheless. Postgame, he looked happy, tired, and proud.
And just when Ed thought his night couldn’t get any better: Taran Buie, the younger brother of star sophomore Talor Battle and one of the top high school juniors in the nation, put the cherry on top Thursday night when he verbally committed to attend Penn State beginning in 2010. Rumor has it that Buie (read more about him here) joined his big brother and their mom on the team bus after the game and announced his plans to the team.
Even in New York City, the stories don’t get much better than that.
Ryan Jones, senior editor
I was one of many Penn Staters who made the trip to California over New Year’s, though maybe the only one who didn’t go primarily for the Rose Bowl. I did go to the game — I had third-row seats directly behind the end zone, which didn’t offer much of a view, but did allow me to smell the grass, which was cool. Mostly, though, I went to visit family (my roots, not to mention a whole lot of relatives, remain in Southern California), eat some great fast food, and enjoy the weather.
Check, check, and check. A few highlights:
-Stopping for dinner at Pie N Burger, the neighborhood greasy spoon recommended by occasional Penn Stater contributor Paul Levine ’69 in his pre-Rose Bowl primer on PSU Live. Both the pie (banana cream) and burger (cheese-) were terrific — although, if I’d known the place was owned by an SC grad, I might have passed…
-Getting up early to attend the Rose Parade, where my four-year-old sat on my lap with a $7.00 program, keeping track of which floats were coming next (his favorite: the giant hat-tipping robot named Asimo), and waiting for the delayed B-2 bomber fly-over (it also flew over the stadium that afternoon — scary stuff). The let down, and another bad omen for the game, came when the Blue Band marched past without playing a note. I guess they were in between songs, but that didn’t make it any easier to rebut the SC fans nearby who mocked us for having a band that didn’t actually play.
-Walking to the parade Thursday morning and seeing a couple of the Paternoville regulars, who I got to know while working on the feature in the magazine’s Jan/Feb 2009 issue. They’d apparently gotten a hotel near Disneyland, stayed up all night Wednesday, then taken a $100 cab ride to Pasadena early Thursday to catch the parade and the game. Between the lack of sleep and the game’s outcome, I imagine their Thursday night was not fun. Sorry guys.
-Most of the SC fans we encountered during the week were polite enough, but there were a few exchanges that, shall we say, reflected poorly on the broader Trojan fan base. A selection:
“Good luck Thursday. I’m predicting 52-0.” From some guy who felt compelled to slap me on the back while I had lunch with my family on Tuesday afternoon.
“You guys came all the way out here for nothing.” From a guy we passed walking through the pregame tailgates. A wasted trip? He obviously wasn’t aware of the weather back east.
“C’mon baby, check me out — I’m in a higher tax bracket!” My favorite, offered by a not-entirely-sober young man to my sister, with whom I was walking through the tailgates. Locals (particularly UCLA fans) like to joke that USC actually stands for University of Spoiled Children, a line that is itself sort of childish, though not entirely unfunny (nor, in this particular case, inaccurate).
For the record, my sister declined to check him out.
-The game itself didn’t offer much worth remembering (although the crowds trying to squeeze through the antiquated tunnels were hard to forget), but it was cool seeing Ki-Jana Carter ’95 waving a towel on the sidelines to rouse the crowd just before kick-off. Like anyone who was a Penn State fan back then, I’ll never forget Carter busting a huge touchdown run to open the scoring in the ’95 Rose Bowl. That game left Penn Staters frustrated at the injustice done by the pollsters. This game just left us humbled.
Ryan Jones, senior editor