After visiting the largest stadium in the country, I’ve come away with a great perspective of Penn State and State College. The fan support is amazing and I knew that going in. But seeing more than half the cars on I-80 West having Nittany Lions decals helped prove that. I understand that most of the fans are out of town (the college enrollment is more than the town population), but these fans travel in droves for the games. The tailgating was awesome as just about everyone had something going with some pretty impressive feasts. What I really loved though, was that it was not a bunch of obnoxious drunks, just about EVERYBODY was cool. It was a lot more tamer than the last college stadium visit (UNLV). I’m not sure if this was because of the early Noon start, or the quality of the opponent (Eastern Illinois) With that being said, just because they were tamer, does NOT mean they were not loud and passionate, because the atmosphere inside was tremendous. I was incredibly impressed with the turnout and noise for a mid-season, meaningless game. I really wish I could have seen a Big Ten game as it was loud in here and fans were nowhere near full-throat. The chants were grant (We Are…Penn State specifically) and the Penn State Blue Band was awesome with a great halftime show. Kirk Herbstreit’s comment about the Penn State Student Section is right on too as they excellent. Though, I don’t have much to base this on as this one of the few (5) Division I-A games I’ve seen. The students pulled off an awesome wave, where they slowed it down into slow-motion when it got to them.
As for the stadium, I wasn’t all that impressed by the outside as it was just a lot of beams, winding stairwells and windows for club seating or football offices. However, it did not look old and had a modern appearance. I was very impressed with the inside and thought it was wonderfully designed, despite the fact that pieces have been added on through the years. It did not look like a 100k plus stadium, which is a good thing and it had a very intimate feel inside. All-in-all, we had a great time there despite the blowout and I really liked Beaver Stadium.
A quick note on the town name for Beaver Stadium. All of the Penn State facilities are in University Park as opposed to State College. I generally use the postal address town name for the location of the stadium. However, in this instance University Park is just an unincorporated place and is only confined to the area of the Penn State campus (basically, it was just created for Penn State). So its not a town per se. That’s why I labeled all my files at State College. I think the only other time this happens is at Stanford University, where the town is Palo Alto, CA but the campus is in Stanford, CA.