Gutted. Heart-broken. Speechless. Frustrated. Those are just a few words to describe how I felt after Penn State’s terrible loss to Virginia. And trust me, being there was a lot worse than watching it on TV. The opportunities were there time after time after time but Penn State just couldn’t do enough to make it out of Charlottesville with the win. In a game where a win was much-needed, here are my observations from the first road game of the Bill O’Brien era:
- The turnout and support of Penn State fans at Scott Stadium was incredible. Obviously Virginia is a big state where a lot of Penn Staters come from, so this was expected. In the tailgating lots, there were almost as many Penn State fans as Virginia fans.
- There were also a decent amount of students that made the trip from State College to Charlottesville. Some went on Friday and stayed somewhere overnight, and some (such as myself) woke up when it was still dark and hit the road at 4:30 a.m.
- Since I participate in Nittanyville, this was my first time as a legitimate tailgater. Granted we started a little later than most of the other tailgaters, but it was a fun experience regardless. The smell of hamburgers, hot dogs, and spicy Italian sausages on the grill is a great smell indeed. One Penn State alum even gave us some extra potato salad and macaroni salad that he had.
- Just like the only other PSU away game I’ve been to (Ohio State last year), the majority of the students sat in the upper bowl of the stadium. It was pretty cool how all the students banded together and sang the same songs and tried to keep the Beaver Stadium traditions alive on the road. Also, during Ficken’s last field goal attempt for the win, we all put our arms around each other, like a soccer team does during penalty kicks. That was pretty neat.
- You would’ve thought that Guido D’Elia was working for Virginia now. Zombie Nation was played before every kickoff and, as custom, we Penn Staters did the only thing we know how to when we hear that song.
- Virginia’s student section was very weak. The only time they got noticeably loud was when the Penn State offense started the final drive of the game. And as McGloin was moving the offense, they got quieter and quieter.
- The Virginia fans were very nice and respectful. Now maybe I just didn’t hear anything personally, but no inappropriate jokes or comments regarding the obvious topic were made.
- I’m not going to get into the fine details of the game because we all know what happened. I’ll just say that I’ve never been more frustrated watching a football game.
- Despite all that happened, this team never stopped fighting and Bill O’Brien had them playing much better this game than the first game. They forced turnovers, rushed the quarterback better, were more consistent on offense and just looked more focused.
- In a nutshell, Penn State should’ve blown Virginia out of the stadium. They clearly outplayed them, but the obvious problems just cost the Nittany Lions too much.
Check back next week when Penn State welcomes the Naval Academy to Beaver Stadium.
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