Once Again, Lou Prato Writes the Book on Penn State Football

 

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For Nittany Lion fans still finishing their holiday shopping, Lou Prato ’59 has the perfect gift. The eminent historian of all things blue and white recently published his latest book, 100 Things Penn State Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die. As the title implies, it’s loaded with both information and advice that’ll make any even the most dedicated Penn Stater a smarter fan.

Featuring a forward from Adam Taliaferro ’05, Lou’s book covers an incredibly wide array of Penn State sports territory. There’s plenty of history, going back to the roots of the program with chapters on legends like Joe Bedenk and Levi Lamb, up through dozens of entries on teams, players, and unforgettable moments fom Joe Paterno’s tenure. And then there’s the to-do list, ranging from the the obscure the obvious. It’s a perfect mix of nostalgia and knowledge, from a guy who has probably forgotten more about the Nittany Lions than the rest of us will ever know.

And the best part? There’s still time to order for delivery before Christmas.

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Sneaking into Legend

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Twenty years after one of the craziest days in Beaver Stadium history, we catch up with the unlikely hero of the “Snow Bowl.”

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The snow was the story. A mid-November nor’easter brought nearly a foot and a half of snow to central Pennsylvania just days before Penn State’s 1995 game against Michigan. If you were there, you’ll never forget it: So much snow that most of the stadium parking was closed, so much snow that hundreds of volunteers, and eventually inmates at local penitentiaries, were called on to try to clear the Beaver Stadium bleachers. So much snow, in fact, that by the time the Nittany Lions and Wolverines took the field on Nov. 18, 1995, the best that could be done was to pack much of that snow under the bleachers.

At kickoff, it was an open-air igloo for 80,000 shivering fans.

The fans who toughed it out that day witnessed one of the most memorable afternoons in Beaver Stadium history. Continue reading

Jordan Lucas: An Appreciation

 

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Each issue of The Penn Stater magazine features a short profile of a current Penn State student-athlete, but back in the fall of 2012, we tweaked that formula ever so slightly, interviewing Lucas during his post-grad year at a Massachusetts prep school, months before he had actually arrived on campus. We felt like Lucas was a fitting exception: Continue reading

One Step Away

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For the 1985 Nittany Lions, an unbeaten regular season was tarnished by an Orange Bowl loss, and overshadowed by a perfect season in 1986. Thirty years on, we look back at one of the great—but largely forgotten—teams in Penn State history.

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As Massimo Manca remembers it, the pivotal moment in Penn State’s 1985 season came rather early.

On opening day, to be exact.

“I think the turning point was that very first game against Maryland,” Manca ’87 says now. “Nobody had us picked to win that game. That’s when we realized: We could beat anybody.”

The Nittany Lions’ long-awaited return to Maryland this week brings to mind Continue reading

Ki-Jana & Saquon, In Stride

It was one of those Twitter moments that even folks who spend a lot of time on Twitter might have missed, a brief conversation between two guys 20-some years apart, but with more than a little in common.

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The first tweet came from Ki-Jana Carter ’95, a name that anyone reading this blog should be familiar with. The second came from Saquon Barkley, a young man Penn State fans—and a couple of unfortunate defenses—have learned all about the past two weeks. If one reminds you a bit of the other, you’re probably not alone. Continue reading

A Drone’s-Eye View of Beaver Stadium

By day, Jesse Brown is an IT consultant in Penn State’s Division of Development and Alumni Relations—one of the go-to guys on an incredibly helpful and friendly tech staff that we’re lucky to have. But by night (and on certain mornings and weekends), Brown is an amateur drone pilot who has compiled some very cool footage of Beaver Stadium, all controlled via an app on his iPad.

With the Nittany Lions’ home opener this Saturday, we recently caught up with Brown Continue reading

John Black and “The Blood Bowl”

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As he starts his 40th season in charge of The Football Letter, we look back at the time John Black starred on the field in Penn State’s biggest rivalry.

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It was a legendary performance made all the more impressive given the injury that almost kept him out of action.

According to the pregame write-up in the Nov. 25, 1958 issue of The Daily Collegian, quarterback “Joltin’ Johnny” Black suffered—and we warn you, this is difficult reading—an “acute hangnail on the third finger of his throwing hand.” Continue reading