Last Saturday, it was off to one of the more scenic places in this great country on a fall day; Central Pennsylvania. The rolling hills were bright with color and though the thick overcast kept the temps in the 40s, it was still a great day for football. My first stop was Lewisburg and Bucknell University. This was my second trip to the area and I love Lewisburg and it’s quaint, walkable Market Street with a lot of good places to eat. However, I hate driving around campus as sporting events at Bucknell have no direction or indication on where you are supposed to park…plus parking is quite limited. After getting situated, inside the small stadium is a seating bowl that is a partial horseshoe which is filled in with wonderful landscaping in the South end zone as Bucknell is spelled out in the shrubs. They also do a nice job of honoring important people in the Bucknell program, like Christy Mathewson and some famous Bison Coaches. The on-campus location provides a nice feel, however the lack of atmosphere and fans was disappointing as fellow Patriot League rivals Lehigh and Lafayette do much better in that category. The Bison played Holy Cross in a mid-season game and the Crusaders prevailed in a 16-13 defensive battle. Bucknell frustratingly had seven positions to try and at least get into field goal range but had to punt on six of those and then had a loss of downs (with three sacks) on their final possession. Ugh, the loss dropped home teams to 3-11 this year when I visit for a game. For much more details on the stadium, here’s the full review: #111 Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium. Also, a special thanks to Eric McCabe on the visit!
After Bucknell, I had just enough time to get back on I-80 and head a little further West down to State College, PA. A new sport for me was on the docket: volleyball. Penn State plays at Rec Hall, a building that was built in the 1920s and designed by the same guy who built The Palestra (Charles Klauder). You can certainly see some Palestra characteristics, especially with the look of the exterior. What was really cool about this visit was that Rec Hall is situated much more closer to the downtown area of State College, as opposed to all the other athletic facilities which are quite a ways away to the North. This gave me a chance to explore the town a little bit and it really is awesome with tons of local restaurants, bars and shops. Definitely a college town with most everybody walking around under 25 years old. Plus there was a huge buzz as the football team was playing on the road and starting in a few hours. Back to Rec Hall and volleyball, the arena was ok, it featured a lot of pull-out bleachers in its rectangle design as its multi-pupouseness showed. Loved the terrific videoboards here. It was great to see a program that is in the upper echelon of the sport as PSU has won four straight National Championships. They went on to beat Michigan in this tight match, 25-22, 25-21 and 25-23. An impressive crowd showed up considering the football game was going on at the same time as it was a legit 2,578 for the attendance number. Great atmosphere too, led by their pep band who had some various chants. For the detailed overview on the stadium experience, click here: #112 Rec Hall. All in all, it was a successful trip with two stadiums visited at two vastly different, but equally great colleges.