The Roaring 20: Penn State-Villanova

Here are 20 quick observations/notes from another successful Saturday at Beaver Stadium, where Penn State improved to 4-0 with a 38-17 win over Villanova.

1. We’re starting off with a non-football related note, though an important one. Penn Staters led the way during the Big Ten’s recent One Big Week, which focused on supporting the student emergency fund. Alumni and friends made more than 2,900 gifts resulting in raising $214,000. Collectively, Big Ten universities raised over $600,000 from more than 5,800 gifts. Penn State supporters drove overall event success, contributing half of the total gifts and more than a third of the total dollars raised. You can read full details on Penn State News, and sincere thanks to everyone who contributed a gift.

2. Team arrival was packed. We took this photo a few minutes before the Blue Buses pulled up to the stadium.

Thousands of Penn Staters welcomed James Franklin and the Nittany Lions on Saturday morning at Beaver Stadium. If you want to attend team arrival this season, it’s usually 2.5 hours before kickoff and features performances from the Blue Band, Nittany Lion, Penn State Cheerleaders, and Lionettes. Photo credit: John Patishnock

3. We also captured the full team arrival, and our video includes seeing James Franklin and the Nittany Lions greeting the fans.

4. Two of my favorite signs spotted at team arrival read: “Hey Nittany Lions, it’s my first game. Please help me have a ball” — double meaning since players hand out autographed football on their to the stadium during team arrival — and “#14 Sean, I’m open.”

5. A few years ago, I started a new tradition of taking my own pregame lap at the stadium after arriving early. Not sure if it’s something I started doing because of James Franklin’s traditional pregame lap, though I’ve found it’s a good idea to take a few minutes, breathe deeply, and both appreciate and get ready for the opportunity ahead of me that day.

6. The Blue Band, Nittany Lion, Penn State Cheerleaders, and Lionettes truly make game day feel like game day. We captured a nice sequence before the game, with the Mic Man asking the crowd if they’re ready for Penn State football. Guessing you already know the answer.

7. While it looked a little different with a noon kick than at night, the team entrance prior to kickoff still looked and felt electric. See the team making its way through the south tunnel with our video.

8. Hearing the Blue Band play the alma mater is always great. Watch our video to go onto the field at Beaver Stadium and see the Nittany Lions sing along after the game.

9. The Nittany Lions rang the Victory Bell following Saturday’s win. See the action up close, including Sean Clifford, Arnold Ebiketie, and James Franklin celebrating with fans.

10. The Nittany Lions won their eighth straight game, with an announced attendance of 105,790. Some fans might grumble that Penn State only won by 21, though a quick look at yesterday’s national scoreboard will show Wisconsin, Minnesota, Clemson, Texas A&M, and USC (among others) all losing as favorites. Like James Franklin says, it’s all about going 1-0 each week.

11. Onward State posted a nice photo of the crowd. As the post states, not bad for a noon kickoff.

12. Two-time Super Bowl champion Stefen Wisniewski was at Beaver Stadium on Saturday to serve as honorary team captain. Penn State football posted some nice photos to Instagram.

13. The S-Zone looked great. So did the THON gold ribbon, which students organized to the direct right of the S-Zone. Shoutout to Lion Ambassadors for their tireless work, and you can learn more about the Alumni Association group and the S-Zone with our story. Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford snapped this photo Saturday.

14. I rode the elevator with Matt Millen as the Penn State All-American and four-time Super Bowl champ made his way to the press box to call the game for BTN. It was nice to see Millen, who received a heart transplant a few years ago as he was in the hospital battling amyloidosis, a rare disease that attacks the heart. 

15. With about a minute left in the game, Sean Clifford obliged a young fan asking for an autograph. Clifford signed a football and handed it to the youngster who was sporting a Penn State hat and Saquon Barkley jersey. Clifford threw for a career-best 401 yards and tied his best one-game mark with four passing touchdowns.

16. Similarly, senior defensive end Arnold Ebiketie stopped for a photograph with a fan after he wrapped his media session on the field. Ebiketie finished with three tackles and a sack.

17. Let’s keep the good vibes going: As I left the stadium Saturday, I saw Parker Washington posing for a photo with a fan. Washington caught two touchdowns and totaled five catches for 148 yards. 

18. Lots of tailgates were still going strong after the game. Including one that was rocking to Tom Petty. 

19. This week’s clash with Indiana is set for a 7:30 p.m. kick on ABC. A lot of people will play up the revenge angle after last year — though I don’t think that tired cliché plays a role for this year’s team. Penn State has higher goals than avenging a loss to a middle-tier team, unranked team. 

20. Go State. Beat the Hoosiers. 

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