Wow. Now that was some game. I still have no voice and my body still aches from going crazy, especially in the fourth quarter (wouldn’t want to have it any other way). I’m currently a junior and this game is definitely up there as one of the best I’ve been to in Beaver Stadium. It was definitely the best Homecoming game I’ve attended. Let’s get to my observations:
- Kudos to Nittanyville president Troy Weller and whoever else for the “Whiteout Northwestern” idea. I thought the student section looked great and it was awesome to see so many students comply.
- Whoever operates the video board during pregame might have fallen asleep. When the board was running through various messages, one of them was “Welcome Temple Owls.” I guess they forgot to change that from the last home game.
- Throughout the week leading up to this game, Bill O’Brien stressed numerous times how important it was for the student section to be filled by kickoff. This was one thing that I was very unhappy about regarding yesterday’s game. There were a lot of empty seats during the pregame festivities and for kickoff. Since I’m in the front row, it was also really annoying when all the people who came late were constantly walking behind me and trying to squeeze through during the first few minutes of the game.
- As disappointing as that was, the student section really came alive when the team needed it most. When Northwestern was up 28-25 and got the ball by our end zone, it was probably the loudest I’ve ever heard the student section since Alabama’s first few offensive possessions last year. It was obvious that the players were feeding off of the student section’s energy and O’Brien even motioned to us to crank up the noise at one point in the fourth quarter. It’s not hard to get fired up when you have guys like O’Brien, Michael Mauti and other players waving their arms up and asking to pump up the volume.
- Now regarding the game itself, Mauti seemed very quiet in the first half. But he, along with the rest of the defense, really picked it up in the second half. Northwestern only had one offensive touchdown in the second half and I give a lot of credit to Ted Roof and the defensive coaches for making the necessary adjustments.
- All the students were extremely upset with the questionable pass interference call on Penn State cornerback Stephon Morris that led to Northwestern’s second touchdown. When the refs ran to the tunnel for halftime they received a lot of loud booing (and a lot of words that I can’t say) from the students.
- I might be wrong here because I was so caught up in the moment, but I’m pretty sure Zombie Nation started a split second before McGloin dove for the end zone to score the go ahead touchdown.
- When the players ran over to the student section after the game to sing the alma mater, you can see how much this win meant to them. I probably sound redundant from past observations, but a win like this considering the unusual circumstances is extra special for this team. This is an extraordinary group of young men and they truly deserved this win. A bunch of players came and gave high fives to us students in the front row and the smiles on their faces were priceless.
The Nittany Lions have a bye next week and then head to Iowa City the following week for a primetime matchup with the Iowa Hawkeyes. The week after that is arguably the biggest home game of the season, as the Ohio State Buckeyes come to Happy Valley for a Leaders Division showdown. The Nittanyville campout for that game is a whole week long and should be very eventful. Even though it’s a few weeks away (sigh) be prepared for a lot of good stuff from that week.
Follow Eric Sion on Twitter!