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October 3, 2005

Everyone loves a nice Beaver: (PSU vs. Minnesota Recap)

I took advantage of the UGA offweek and took a roadtrip to State College, PA. While in Happy Valley, I saw Penn State beat the ever living dog piss out of Glen Mason's Minnesota Golden Gophers.

[Photo: It was a day game, but we left the camera in the car. So I went with this pic instead]

My hosts provided the massive ticket hookup...45 Yardline..49 Rows up. Thoughts on the game, the stadium and the environment are below.

The Game:
Normally, when I attend a game not involving Georgia, I'm hoping for a close battle. However, given Georgia's past history with Glen "Flip Flop" Mason; this was a particularly enjoyable beat down. As most Dawg fans remember, Mason was Georgia's coach for less than a week in December 1995 before returning to Kansas and making us look ridiculous. Seeing him eat a Nittany Lion Turd Burger was a blast.

This isn't your typical PSU team. There are freshmen playing everywhere. Freshmen playing multiple positions. Freshmen playing both ways. Freshmen scoring touchdowns on reverses in the redzone. Freshmen jerseys for sale in the bookstore. Basically, Joe Pa is partying like it's 1976! Penn State mixed a hard hitting defense, a solid running game from the gun and I formation and a nice short range passing game to humble the Gophers. It seemed like each of the PSU touchdown drives was 9 to 13 plays. Defensively, the Gophers vaunted running game was put on blocks as Mulroney was held to under 50 yards rushing.

[Photo: Mason thanks Joe for not running it up in the 4th quarter]

Penn State has an excellent team, and it is very much a legit Top 15 team. Unfortunately, their schedule is the anti-Purdue schedule. This year Purdue avoids the Big 10's heavy hitters. PSU gets them all.

The Stadium:
It is HUGE. I've been to 11 SEC venues, 3 ACC venues and 6 neutral/bowl site stadiums, and I know a big stadium when I see it. This place is massive. It seats around 106,000. If the seats were as narrow as Neyland Stadium, you could put 130,000 in it with no problem.

Outside it looks like Neyland Stadium with erector set style exposed steel beams. Do you remember those mobile trailer class rooms that elementary schools use to handle overcrowding? From outside the stadium, their sky boxes look like someone bolted a few dozen of those trailers to the top of the stadium. Underneath the bleachers, it looks like Legion Field or the old Gator Bowl. But, inside it's very sharp with amazing scenic views of the Pennsylvania mountains. I actually liked the stadium a lot.

The Fans:
I was warned by several PSU fans that the gameday vibe would be different, but the complete lack of standing in my section threw me for a loop. Granted, I was in the big contributor section on the shaded size of the field so there's going to be some old fuddy duddy "Down in Front!" types. But, there weren't 20 people that stood to cheer on 3rd downs within 2 sections of me on 90% of 3rd Downs. They would stand after a great play, but otherwise it was like they were GLUED to their seats. What flipped me out...they sit the entire game, but STAND the ENTIRE halftime.

[Photo: Gotta love the 3 foot tall Joe Paterno bobble head]

Outside of my section, I was expecting more noise. It never got that loud; although you could argue that Minnesota's lack of a game plan or effort had something to do with the noise. The crowd got loud for a few Minnesota 4th Downs. But the non-student volume was limited.

The PSU student section on the other hand is as good as almost anyone's other than LSU. Loud and vocal. Cool thing: PSU students start the "WE ARE" cheer, and the rest of the crowd answers "Penn State". This goes on for 5 to 10 times and then the students cheer "THANK YOU!" the crowd answers back "You're Welcome." This cracked me up. I also liked the one of the seating areas for students was all dressed in white except for the students wearing blue in to form a large S in the crowd.

The ladies:
We have it very, very good in the SEC. Mississippi State is sort of the low end of the totem pole in he SEC when it comes to ladies. MSU has PSU two to one on eye candy.

With its combination of speed and power, PSU is a 9-2 or better team if it protects the football. That would put them in the Citrus or Outback vs. an SEC team like UGA, UF, UT or Bama.

I had a blast, and I would definitely go back.



we_are said...

I am glad you enjoyed the trip Paul! One thing about the co-eds. We might be a bottom type team compared to the SEC (which I know from experience!), but we're in the Top 3 in the Big Ten.

Anonymous said...

Paul, you are spot on with your comments. You're right about the lack of "eye-candy" and the fans not standing for the game.

I've been living in Atlanta for 8 years and I still have not made it over to Sanford Staduim yet, but I will, heard it's great.

Anonymous said...

PSU is hotter than YOU!

Stefan Suchanec said...

Hey! Glad you loved PSU. I'm a student and i've been begging our fans to stand up the entire game. You're right that if we sat as close as UT or UMich we would get about 120-130,000. If you want a loud game Go to PSU/OSU this weekend. Gameday will be there hopefully. And the co-eds...all in the student section man. We got 20,000 Girls here.. so you myave have missed some. Plus We're in the North. Everyones dressed warmer ;). Glad you had a good time in HV. take care

Anonymous said...

I think you may be off about the eye have to take into account the temperature during game time. What was it 50-60s? Probably in the 40s by the end of the game. Maybe come out to campus on a nice warm afternoon and take in the eye candy there. Other than that, I am glad you had a good time in Happy Valley - come back anytime!

paulwesterdawg said...

I'm not saying that the women were "ugly".....just a lot more "sturdy" than I'm used to.

BTW -- to the BWI guys who are clicking over here. It wasn't me in the Georgia jersey. I was only in a UGA hat and a white t-shirt.

nittanyfan said...

Glad you enjoyed the trip. Living in Atlanta I have been to Sanford stadium and like the atmosphere. UGA is the best real mascot. Damn fine dawg!

Coeds, You must have missed the dance team and the 4th ranked womens volleyball team that was introduced. They are all babes.

Anonymous said...

I went to undergrad at PSU and law school at UGA, so I know both places. Your comments are right on. Fans in PSU are generally more sedate; it's been a problem for years. But that's what years and years of winning will do. This weeks game will be rocking, and louder than any game they've ever had. As for eye candy, PSU doesn't even come close to the SEC schools, or LA where I now live. The girls at PSU are already putting on there winter weight! By the way, if it comes down to it, a lion always beats a dawg.

mhentz said...

I've spent some time south of I10 and, hell, even U of South Alabama has better looking girls than PSU (or any other B10 school for that matter). I think the longer growing season might have something to with it ;-)

Glad you enjoyed the trip and hope you'll come back some day.

dawgpeach4714 said...

As a Dawg Peach girlfriend of a Nitt Man, I know that the south has better girls to offer! We traveled 16 freakin' hours last year: TWICE! (Still donned my Pollack jersey) But I loved it when the whole "We Are" " Penn State" chant came along. Still doesn't compare to UGA's kickoffs......Go Dawgs! Sic' Em!

Anonymous said...

I have to echo others comments here - you are right on target with this review. I'm a PSU alum that spent 6+ years in Athens - even getting to enjoy the private boxes at Sanford Stadium as a corp leasee for 3 years... UGA was great but Penn State is an experience. I'm surprised you didn't mention our tailgates... that was the biggest thing I missed at UGA, they just didn't compare.

BTW, totally agree w/ the eye candy comment... I've always said that if I knew then what I know now I would have gone to an SEC school for the weather & the women (but I probably never would have graduated).

Glad you enjoyed your visit to Penn State.

paulwesterdawg said...

Not sure what year you were in Athens, but our tailgating has come a LONG, LONG, LONG way in the past 5 years.

Admittedly, I have a skewed view on this topic. My tailgate involves 30-60 people and more food than a Southern Baptist Church Homecoming Covered Dish Dinner on the Grounds.

Anonymous said...

It's been almost 10 years -- but, although you may have 1 heck of a personal tailgate, the overall atmosphere just does not compare. There is nothing like the acres & acres of tailgating surrounding Beaver stadium.

Note that I think Penn State just beat out LSU on the best tailgate school poll!

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