Starting with today’s season opener against Wisconsin, we’re introducing a new weekly feature on the blog: The Roaring 20. We’ll share 20 quick observations from the game, and when we’re on the road, we’ll also include insights from our alumni mixer and pep rally.
Hope you enjoy. And if you feel like we missed something or noticed something particularly noteworthy, please reply to us on social or leave a comment on the blog.
As always, members will continue to receive The Football Letter email on Monday (or in next week’s case, on Tuesday) that recaps the Nittany Lions’ game featuring editor John Black’s letter and a full photo gallery from Steve Manuel.
1: Major thanks goes out to Madison Chapter President Phil Bower ’99, ’01g for being such a wonderful host this weekend, which included Friday night’s alumni mixer. We know a lot of work goes on behind the scenes, and we can’t thank our dedicated volunteers enough. Bower was a guest on this week’s season premiere episode of Football Letter Live. You’re welcome to watch the entire archived episode, and you can see Bower’s appearance starting around the 44:10 mark.
2: I have a lot of Penn State memorabilia and also a lot of Nittany Lion clothes, though I don’t have a cheesehead. Not even sure which of those two categories a cheesehead fits into, though I know I want one.
3: Penn State letterman Miles Dieffenbach was so gracious to stop by our game day pep rally and fire up the crowd. Dieffenbach stayed with Penn State when he could’ve transferred without penalty (his career spanned 2010-14), he beat cancer, and he’s now a successful investment analyst at Carnegie Mellon. Miles: You’re welcome at any Alumni Association event anytime. Just let us know, and we’ll take care of you. Jump to the 10:00 mark to hear Penn State Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford intro Dieffenbach and also to hear the letterman speak.
4: Former mic man Eric Gaspich and former Nittany Lion mascot Zach Sowa are two Penn State graduates who love their alma mater. This weekend, the Penn State Cheerleaders and Nittany Lion unfortunately couldn’t travel, and the duo stepped in at our pep rally to fire up the crowd. For anyone wondering, Sowa can still do one-handed pushups, evident by the 21 he completed at the pep rally. The crowd loved it and cheered him on. You can jump to the 12:25 mark of our archived live stream to see them in action.
5: Alumni Association President Kelley Lynch ’87 enjoyed her first away game trip in her new role, and she spoke with Penn Staters at Friday night’s mixer and welcomed everyone at today’s pep rally. You can jump to the 3:40 mark and watch Lynch’s welcome.
6: Penn State VP for Intercollegiate Athletics Sandy Barbour also stopped by the pep rally, and we’re always grateful for her time and her enthusiasm for the Penn State Alumni Association. She routinely touts the power of our alumni network, and you can hear her greet the crowd starting around the 6:40 mark.
7: James Franklin is an emotional guy. He acknowledges it, and he embraces it. Check out his postgame celebration with fans on our Twitter account.
8: You can also see the players and coaches celebrate on the field following today’s win. There are even backflips. As we said on social: Trust us, it’s worth the watch. You can also view that video on our Twitter account.
9. It was good to see Noah Cain back on the field today, as the running back battled back from an injury last year. He helped with the victory by leading the team in rushing with 48 yards and a TD on eight carries.
10: I was walking around Madison after the game and overheard a conversation between Penn State fans and Wisconsin fans. The Wisconsin fan says: “Yeah, that’s when Pete Lisicky and Dan Earl were there,” referencing two Penn State basketball all-timers. That made me smile. Almost stopped to ask if I could join the discussion.
11: State Street is a cool Madison attraction. There’s a farmer’s market and some funky joints. We talked with a few alumni this weekend who said this was their first time here and that it was a bucket-item destination. Penn State visits Madison in three years, for a game on Oct. 19, 2024. It’s never too early to start planning.
12: Penn State’s defense, especially in the red zone and at the goal line, was superb Saturday. Quarterback Sean Clifford called the defense “stout” after the win. Totally right.
13: Speaking of Clifford, he explains how the offense found its rhythm in the second half, and you can hear his insights on our Twitter account.
14: PJ Mustipher is one of my favorite players to talk to, and you can see some of his postgame interview on our Twitter account. We’ll post our entire video, which is more than nine minutes, to our YouTube channel this weekend and share the link on our Twitter account. The senior defensive tackle and team captain is always insightful, funny, and leaves you with a smile after you’re done talking.
15: It was wonderful to hear some “We Are” chants throughout Camp Randall Stadium during the game.
16: It was also nice to see several former Penn State Alumni Association presidents in attendance during the mixer and pep rally, including Randy Houston ’91 and Steve Wagman ’82.
17: Wisconsin cheese curds are good.
18: We’re excited for our next away game trip to Iowa (Oct. 9). We hope you join us, and you can find info for the mixer on our Iowa Chapter’s Facebook page and register for the game day pep rally on our site.
19: We’re also especially excited for Saturday’s home opener against Ball State. Will be sweet to see the Lion Ambassadors’ S-Zone among the 107,000-plus crowd. Kickoff is set for 3:30 on FS1.
20: Go State. Beat the Cardinals.
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