Game #339: #9 Penn State @ Northwestern

A summer of tumult in Evanston set the football program on shaky ground. Hazing allegations resulted in the ousting of legendary head coach, Pat Fitzgerald and the hiring of interim coach, David Braun. However, the Wildcats have already exceeded expectations. After suffering a 12-game losing streak, Northwestern has notched impressive victories over UTEP and Minnesota. But, highly ranked Penn State stood as a formidable obstacle on this Saturday.

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Friendliness comes to mind when mentioning Penn State and Beaver Stadium. Happy Valley is a joyous place for the home team, and outside of a few conference rivals, it’s a welcoming spot for visiting fans, as well. Perhaps it’s because Nittany Lion fans know that wherever these fans came from, they must have traveled a tremendous distance. State College, Pennsylvania is hidden in a valley amongst the Allegheny Mountains and the famous Mount Nittany. Lion fans arrive days before kickoff parking their RVs in the many open grass lots around the 100,000+ seat arena. Tailgating at Penn State is tops in the Big Ten conference. Fans start early and celebrate late.

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Game 325: Minnesota @ #14 Penn State

Known as the greatest show in sports, the white out at Penn State is a dizzying display of school spirit. Typically, invites are reserved for traditional powerhouses such as Michigan or Ohio State. On this night, Minnesota would be making its first trip into the lion’s den for the famed white out. As it often has in the past, the decibels reached such deafening digits in Beaver Stadium that the Gophers were unable to get the snap off on their first offensive possession. Being forced to function with a backup quarterback set the Gophers with an additional disadvantage.

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Game 189: #21 Penn State @ Northwestern

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.

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Game 150: #6 Penn State @ # 24 Wisconsin

A week after the Badger band was suspended from playing at Camp Randall Stadium, the fire and excitement returned as “On Wisconsin” blasted proudly while the Badgers entered the stadium. For this prime time contest with white towels waving, fans foaming at the mouth, and the band high stepping again, that fire would be put out quickly by a powerful Penn State squad.

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Game 137: #19 Wisconsin @ Penn State

The wheels have come off the Bucky Wagon and Penn State holds the lug nuts. On homecoming weekend in Happy Valley, the Badgers played like they ate too much Peachy Paterno ice cream over at the Berkey Creamery. From the first play, it became clear to those wearing red that this Saturday would be a long one. Star tailback P.J. Hill fumbled on the opening play for Wisconsin and Penn State only needed three plays to capitalize. The 109,754 that crammed inside Beaver Stadium would enjoy a stunning blowout of the ranked Badgers and looked to be turning a major corner on their season.

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Game 107: Penn State @ Northwestern

Usually, when legendary head coach Joe Paterno brings his Nittany Lions to a stadium, tickets are sold out weeks in advance. Add a Big Ten opener to the mix and you may as well set up camp on the couch. But, not unless it’s Penn State at Northwestern. Ryan Field has to be the only team that wouldn’t fill even half their stadium in such a situation. Northwestern’s fan base is extremely fair weather. The slightest cloud in the way will keep them home. A large portion of the fans traveled from Pennsylvania, as well. Wildcat fans have their good moments, but this day certainly was not a day to allure new recruits. Seriously, some fans actually stretched out on their bleachers and grabbed a few snoozes at halftime. Ridiculous.

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