Saturday, September 29, 2012

Penn State vs. Illinois: Bursting Champaign's Bubble

This week’s Citizens Bank button declared “Burst Champaign’s Bubble”.  It was a very clear message when often the buttons issued at Penn State are ambiguous and can be read either way.  

In front of us a man had made his own button that said:  “Crucify and Deny the Cowardly Illini.”  That more aptly described our mood.  We didn’t want the Penn State team to just burst Illinois’ bubble.  We wanted them to crucify the Illini! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Penn State vs. Temple: Did the Rainbows Send A Message?

It was appropriate that my 300th Penn State football game would be against Temple.  Temple has been Penn State’s most consistent competitor, year in and year out, through the twenty-five years I have been regularly following Penn State.  And every one of those Temple games that I have witnessed has been a win. 

The NCAA would differ, but in these awkward days of describing past games that were wins but not really losses either, something called “vacated”, I know what I saw each year.  And since 2005, I have the scoreboard photos to prove it.

In fact, we haven’t lost to Temple since 1941, other than those vacated wins. Yes, Temple is an in-state rival, of sorts.  Yes, there have been some close games, including last year at Lincoln Financial Field, when Penn State barely got away with a 14-10 win.  Temple made all Penn State fans nervous when they led most of the game.  But Penn State prevailed at the end.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Penn State vs. Navy: A Perfect Day for an Historic Win

Yesterday’s Penn State vs. Navy game was sorely needed.  On a perfect fall day at Beaver Stadium, the Navy Midshipmen were soundly defeated 34-7 in front of a crowd of 98,792.   The Penn State team earned their first win under Bill O’Brien’s tenure.  I’m being very deliberate in my choice of words, because I believe that wins belong to the team, not so much to the coaches.

So congratulations to the Penn State team.  It was a well-played and well-deserved win.

Bob Evans, a Penn State alumnus who sits behind us, travels to Penn State with his wife Mary to every home game from North Carolina.  He told me yesterday that the Penn State-Navy atmosphere was one of the best he has seen in years.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Penn State vs. Navy: "Fumbles" Donchez and a Shaky Chris Bahr

Let me first say I wasn’t a Penn State fan in 1974.  I was clueless about college football, and didn’t know anything about the Penn State Nittany Lions. 

But my husband Terry was a fan. In 1970 he moved from Missouri to Pennsylvania to work at Air Products and Chemicals headquarters in Allentown, PA.  His first Penn State football game was actually at the Orange Bowl in Miami, and he was very upset when Penn State won that game.  He was rooting for Missouri.  Before that, he was an Ohio State fan.

But then he moved to Pennsylvania.  Always college football fans, he and his former wife were convinced by the realtor who sold them their house that they should buy Penn State season tickets.  And so they did. 

Terry has held those tickets ever since, and has attended a total of 435 Penn State games since 1970.  The last 272 games he has seen are in a row, and include all home, away, and bowl games played since September 1990.  Terry was at the last Navy vs. Penn State game played in 1974.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Penn State at Virginia: NCAA 1, Penn State 0

There is no way you could have predicted that Penn State would lose Saturday’s game against Virginia, not the way the defense played for most of the game. The defense forced four turnovers and held the Cavaliers to 32 yards net rushing. In addition, Virginia had ten penalties for a net loss of 70 yards.  Penn State had only three for a net loss of 24 yards.

But despite those stats, Penn State was vulnerable. Our kicker missed four field goals, the longest a 42-yarder, and suffered a blocked extra point.  The missed points on the kicking game cost Penn State 13 valuable points. Plus, the defense, despite forcing turnovers, gave up first downs at crucial moments on third and long, on the last winning drive for Virginia.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Penn State vs. Ohio: A Tough Challenge for the First Game

Today’s football game was a first in so many ways.  It was the first game of the 2012 season.  It was the first game played after Joe Paterno passed away.  It was the first game of a new era under Coach Bill O’Brien and the first game ever in Penn State athletic history where a Penn State team is subject to onerous NCAA sanctions.  It was also the first football game since Jerry Sandusky was put behind bars.

I was apprehensive about this first game, as I imagine many fans were.  I just wasn’t sure how it would feel to be in Beaver Stadium again after the horrible events of these last nine months.   Tears welled up in me as the team entered the field at the Pep Rally on Friday night.