Growing up, the Penn State football Whiteout was a dream. Watching from home, seeing the excitement, and hearing the noise brought me goosebumps.
How lucky I was to be a Penn State football fan and to watch this team every year. I felt like I would never be able to experience the Whiteout until I was much older, but I was wrong.
My first Whiteout experience was in 2013.
Penn State was taking on No. 18 Michigan in a year that Penn Staters won’t soon forget. I sat at the very top of Beaver Stadium, across from the student section with my dad and brothers. Little did I know that game would be one of the most memorable games of my life.
Penn State was down by seven with just under a minute left in the game. The crowd was silent but then Christian Hackenburg led a drive that I’ll never forget. Allen Robinson clutch catches and the quarterback sneak to tie the game.
But as we know, this isn’t where it ended as the game would go into overtime, but not just one overtime but four overtime.
Penn State would win the game off a Bill Belton run that he bounced to the outside at the goal line. The stadium was shaking and for the first time, I felt that Whiteout crowd road and I wanted to feel that every year I went.
Since that 2013 Whiteout, I attended every Whiteout except for the 2017 and 2019 games against Michigan, but the game I’ll remember the most is 2016.
Penn State was taking on No. 2 Ohio State, but this was the first game I wasn’t attending with my family, instead three of my buddies and I went.
The day starts off with my one friend not showing up so of course we head to his place and wake him up because, hello, it’s gameday! Once he’s awake we head for Happy Valley but halfway there I notice he isn’t behind me.
He ran out of gas and was stuck on the side of the road. Luckily, a house was nearby and they had some gas that we used and went to fill up for them.
While at the gas station, my friend says, “This has to be an omen that Penn State wins today, right?”
The rest of the day was full of tailgating while trying to keep warm.
Finally, it was game time.
How crazy was the Penn State football Whiteout in 2016?
We sat up near the play-by-play booth where Kirk Herbstreit and Chris Fowler were calling the game right near the 50-yard line.
In the fourth quarter, Penn State is down 21-17 when Ohio State lines up for a long field goal to make the game 24-17 but instead, the field goal is blocked resulting in a play that gives me goosebumps anytime I talk about it or watch it.
This led to a Penn State upset over the number two ranked team in the country and the field being stormed by Penn State Nation.
The Penn State football Whiteout isn’t just a game.
To me, it’s a day where 110,000 plus Penn State faithful come together and cheer on these student-athletes.
It’s a day where friends play cornhole, kan jam, or hammerschlagen while drinking a beer or even wine from a box.
It’s a day where you hop from tailgate to tailgate and make new friends no matter where they are from or what they believe in.
It’s a day where the world stops and from dawn to dusk, from sunrise to sunset (and through the night) Penn State takes center stage in the sports world and the best environment in sports takes center stage.
What does the Penn State Whiteout mean to me?
The Whiteout to me, means I get to make more core memories that I get to pass to my children and one day get to take them where they can make core memories.
The Whiteout in one word, memories.
Want your voice heard? Join the Victory Bell Rings team!