Our inaugural College Football Tour Northwestern tailgate took place with Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions charging into Evanston. A variety of Big Ten fans were represented as we set up a few blocks from Ryan Field to experience a perfect autumn afternoon tailgate. After a few footballs and bean bags were tossed, dusk began to take effect and the temperature took a dip. We walked over to an brightly illuminated Ryan Field ready for this Big Ten clash.
Joe Pa coached from the press box due to an ailing hip, but those classic white uniforms made his presence felt on the field. Northwestern unveiled shiny new uniforms for this game under the lights, and as the stadium began to fill, anticipation rose. A win for Penn State would tie Joe Paterno with Grambling’s Eddie Robinson for most all time Division 1 victories. The Wildcats have been on the receiving end of two other recent Paterno milestones: win #400 last season and win #323 which tied Bear Bryant. The scoreboard operator would earn his keep in the first half as the two teams traded punches for a 27-24 halftime lead for the Lions. But Penn State’s defense would bring this game to a screeching halt in the second half keeping the ‘Cats out of the endzone and giving JoePa his landmark victory. Starting this battle in such an exciting fashion made the second half seem like a snooze cruise. It sucked all the energy out of Ryan Field, much to the delight of PSU fans. This win keeps them on pace for a shot at the Big Ten title. The ‘Cats, on the other hand, are running out of lives and chances to impress bowl representatives.