The Roaring 20: Penn State-Michigan State

John Patishnock/The Football Letter

Time for this week’s Roaring 20, looking back at a snow-filled weekend in East Lansing as Penn State dropped its regular season finale to Michigan State, 30-27.

1. Tough end to the regular season for the Nittany Lions in a game that was dominated by the snow. It started to come down about an hour before our Pep Rally on Saturday and didn’t seem to stop. As a native Michigander myself, it was a fitting homecoming.

2. Hope everyone had a safe and happy Thanksgiving. I certainly enjoyed getting back home here to Michigan to enjoy time with friends and family. It’s not something anyone should take for granted.

3. Shoutout to the field crew at Spartan Stadium, who worked hard all day and evening to keep the field lines cleared off as best as they could.

4. Another shoutout to our alumni in Michigan. Was great seeing Penn Staters come out to our final Pep Rally of the regular season. It’s been a blast traveling around the Big Ten this season and seeing how many Nittany Lion alumni and fans come out to support Dear Old State.

5. The weather conditions didn’t stop plenty of Penn State support from invading Spartan Stadium, either.

6. Great video from John Patishnock for Penn State’s team entrance.

7. Obviously, a disappointing day for Penn State. Jahan Dotson was once again a bright spot for the Nittany Lions, though. His two touchdown grabs brought his season total to 12.

8. Jahan is going to be an exceptional player at the next level. He’s had a historic season and career for the blue and white. One (likely) final act to come in the bowl game.

9. DaeQuan Hardy’s pick-six in the third quarter was Penn State’s third of the season.

10. Penn State now has a takeaway in 18 straight games.

11. Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III is a heck of a player. The Doak Walker Award favorite toughed out a nagging ankle injury to once again help lead his team to a win. Walker III finished the day with 30 carries for 138 yards and a touchdown.

12. Nothing equals Happy Valley, but Michigan State’s campus was quite pretty, especially with a layer of snow covering the ground, trees and buildings. If you ever get out to a game in East Lansing, spend some time and take in the campus sights.

13. Penn State’s bowl game destination will be announced Dec. 5. The Nittany Lions look as though they’re headed to one of three postseason games: The Pinstripe Bowl, The Las Vegas Bowl or The Music City Bowl.

15. Michigan could be the Big Ten’s representative in the College Football Playoff if the Wolverines take down Iowa in the Big Ten Championship. That one should be an old-school defensive battle.

16. This week’s Football Letter will be delivered to members on Tuesday of this week, highlighted by John Black’s letter, game photos, videos, and other Alumni Association tidbits.

17. Thanks to everyone who followed along with us, whether that be reading the letter, checking out the blog or following us on Twitter. Your interest and support is much appreciated.

18. We’ll have plenty of coverage leading up to and at the bowl game — wherever that may be — so stick with us as we close out the 2021 season.

19. The winter sports season is also ramping up, with wrestling, hockey, basketball, and other sports all in action. If you’re in Happy Valley at all over the next few months, get out to a game or two if you can.

20. We Are!

The Roaring 20: Penn State-Rutgers

The Football Letter editor John Black (center) was recognized during a special pregame ceremony Saturday in the press box. John’s name is included on a commemorative plaque honoring members of the press corps who have covered Penn State football for 25-plus years. Photo credit: Steve Manuel.

Check out this week’s Roaring 20 to see, hear, and feel what it was like to be at Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon for Senior Day and the Military Appreciation game against Rutgers. We’ve also embedded a few extra videos and photos for you.

1. Saturday was a special day for John Black, author of The Football Letter for the past 45 seasons. John’s name is included on a commemorative plaque that was unveiled in the press box during a pregame ceremony, and you can see a video of the recognition on our Facebook page. We’ve also got photos on our Twitter page.

2. John didn’t have any idea the recognition was happening, and his family helped facilitate the surprise. His son, Brian, secured a press box pass to ensure John was in the press box early enough, and his wife, Veda Kay, apparently told John that she was heading to McConnellsburg on Saturday. John even got up at 5 a.m. Saturday to fill up the car with gas and check the air pressure in the tires. You can see John’s surprise starting around the 45-second mark of the video.

3. It’s worth noting Football Letter creator Ridge Riley’s name is also engraved on the plaque, along with a dozen or so additional reporters.

4. Special thanks to Penn State Associate Athletics Director Kris Petersen and Associate Director Greg Kincaid for leading the ceremony and honoring John and Ridge.

5. Jahan Dotson caught his 23rd career touchdown Saturday and the first from freshman quarterback Christian Veilleux. The score places Dotson in third place all-time at Penn State, breaking a tie with Deon Butler, whose single-game record for receiving yards Dotson broke earlier in the month against Maryland.

6. After the game, Dotson said Veilleux looked poised, and “poised” is the perfect word to describe the freshman’s performance. Veilleux was solid, made the right pass at the right time, and located receivers downfield. On his 67-yard touchdown pass to Malick Meiga, Veillex confidently stepped up in the pocket, something that isn’t always a given for a first-year player.

7. Going back to Dotson, he celebrated with fans afterward, with some encouragement from James Franklin. We captured the entire sequence, and there’s something about those tunnel lights that make the footage pop.

8. Watch the latest clip to the end to see Sean Clifford embracing both Dotson and Franklin. Clifford was among the group of nearly three dozen players who caught a virus this week, and he came out of the game after the offense’s first few series. Speaking to the media after the game, Franklin said he went to Clifford and said he was pulling him for Veilleux, and Clifford responded by saying he understood. Tough week and a tough season for Clifford, who hasn’t backed down at all. Hopefully, he’ll be healthy enough to go Saturday against Michigan State.

9. Undoubtedly, one of the best stories this season for Penn State is Arnold Ebiketie. The senior transfer from Temple has become a defensive force and fan favorite for the Nittany Lions. Ebiketie’s recorded a tackle for loss in seven straight games, and he increased his team-high sack total to 9.5 on Saturday.

10. Following the alma mater, Ebiketie celebrated with fans and autographed the sign that members of Nittanyville had made for him this season. You can check out that sequence on our Twitter page.

11. We also spoke with Ebiketie after the game, and you can see that video on YouTube. Ebiketie discussed his emotions on Senior Day and that shortened clip is available on our Twitter page.

12. Experience the sights from game day by seeing the alma mater, team entrance, and James Franklin ringing the Victory Bell.

13. For the clip with Franklin, we again encourage you to watch until the end. The guy’s got hops.

14. Malick Meiga and Parker Washington have the very real potential to provide one heck of a 1-2 receiving combo in the years to come. Meiga is 6-foot-4, and Washington has made tough catches in clutch situations all season. Those two will be a lot of fun to watch next season.

15. The announced attendance Saturday exceeded 106,000, which helped Penn State averaged 106,799 fans in seven home games this season. That mark is the seventh-highest average in program history and best season average since 2009, per Penn State Athletics. A year removed from no fans at Beaver Stadium, and the economics, social, and community impact of those numbers can’t be emphasized enough.

Shoutout to the tailgating crew across from parking space No. 5219. Pictured are: David, Ashley, Mallory, Mark, Juli, Matt, and Rebecca.

16. Last week, I mentioned the tailgating group right across from me. I chatted with them again Saturday, and the photo above shows the entire crew. They asked me to take a group photo of them, which I was happy to do. They’re moving to a new lot next year, though they’ll still be within easy walking distance. I may have to make my way over sometime next season and take them up on their offerings of food and conversation.

17. Penn State letterman and former NFL standout Garry Gilliam joined us last week on Football Letter Live, and here’s the episode link. Gilliam’s appearance is right after we speak with Bruce Apgar, president of our Naval ROTC Alumni Interest Group. The conversation was so good, the hour flew by. I looked at the time, thinking we had at least another half hour, and instead, we had less than 10 minutes left. That’s when you can tell the show is going well. Thanks to everyone who continues to tune in Thursday nights at 7.

18. We want to make sure we mention the passing of former Penn State and NFL fullback Steve, Smith, who died over the weekend after a long battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. The Raiders, with whom Smith played seven seasons, announced his passing Saturday, calling Smith an inspiration. Smith was drafted in the third round by the Raiders in 1987 after starring at Penn State, where he helped the Nittany Lions win their last national championship in the 1986 season. You can read more on ESPN.com.

19. For anyone attending Saturday’s pep rally at Michigan State, you’ll hear from Detroit Lions linebacker and fullback Jason Cabinda. The Nittany Lion standout will attend, and he’ll be part of the livestream that we’ll share. Tune in on Facebook on Saturday starting around 1:30 p.m.

20.  Go State. Beat the Spartans.

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The Roaring 20: Penn State-Michigan

The Penn State Cheerleaders joined in the celebration after Penn State scored on a Tyler Warren touchdown catch and Jahan Dotson 2-point conversion reception to tie the game at 14 in the fourth quarter against Michigan. The Wolverines notched a late touchdown to escape with a 21-17 win. Photo credit: John Patishnock

Check out this week’s Roaring 20 to see, hear, and feel what it was like to be at Beaver Stadium on Saturday afternoon for the Big Ten clash against Michigan. We’ve also embedded a few extra videos and photos for you.

1. On a defense full of superstars, Arnold Ebiketie might be the most valuable. If he’s not at the top of the list, he’s definitely in the top two or three. He not only makes plays, he also makes them at the most clutch moments. His sack and forced fumble on Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara late in the fourth quarter put Penn State in a position to seize a 17-14 lead.

James Franklin leads the Nittany Lions onto the field at Beaver Stadium. You can see the entire sequence on our Twitter page. Photo credit: John Patishnock

2. Linebacker Ellis Brooks tallied a career-high 16 tackles Saturday, boosting his team-leading season mark to 85. Brooks also led the Nittany Lions last season with 60 stops during the shortened schedule.

3. Tyler Warren’s touchdown catch in the fourth quarter was clutch and came with Michigan defensive back DJ Turner’s left hand around his waist. Not sure if it was interference (no penalty was called), though either way, that might’ve been Sean Clifford’s best throw of the day into tight coverage. And credit Warren, a freshman tight end, for stepping up when needed.

4. After the game, we spoke with Ebiketie and Warren. You can see both videos on our 2021 YouTube playlist.

“Don’t drop the Lion!” The Nittany Lion jumped into the stands for some afternoon crowd surfing. Students were happy to pass the Lion — and he wasn’t dropped. Photo credit: John Patishnock

5. Senior receiver Jahan Dotson shows up to play every single week. It’s impossible (and a little silly) to try and compare players from different eras, though two players who jump to mind when thinking of Dotson are both Bobby Engram and Deon Butler. More on Butler shortly.

6. Speaking of Dotson, the team’s sports information director, Greg Kincaid, shared this impressive stat today: Dotson is the only Big Ten player ever to have at least 80 receptions, 990 yards and 9 touchdowns in the first 10 games of a season. Like we said, he shows up every single week.

7. It was nice to see all-time great Paul Posluszny back in Happy Valley to serve as honorary captain. It had been years since he’d visited Happy Valley, and as he shared earlier this fall on Football Letter Live, the wait had been too long. You can see Posluszny’s appearance on our playlist and a photo of him with James Franklin on the football team’s Twitter page.

8. Anthony “Spice” Adams, Deon Butler, and Daryll Clark were among the turnout of former players at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. You can see photos of Adams and Butler and Butler and Clark on our Twitter page.

9. We chatted with Butler for a minute or two, and he and Clark were genuinely thrilled to be reunited. Butler said he met Jahan Dotson earlier in the week and that he hoped to speak with him after the game. Earlier in the month against Maryland, Dotson broke Butler’s program record for most receiving yards in a single game (242), besting Butler’s mark (216) against Northwestern in 2006. Butler spoke to the crowd and led a “We Are” cheer. You can see the on-field scene on our Twitter page.

10. In addition to all the lettermen mentioned, we also saw Michael Mauti and Mark Rubin, both guests this season on Football Letter Live. Similar to Butler, we briefly spoke with Rubin as he was taking in the action behind the south end zone. He’s a fan favorite whose appearance this season was popular among our audience. Again, here’s the link for all the season’s episodes. Mauti, meanwhile, watched the team entrance right by the goal post at the south end zone. He said it was the best seat in the house and that he’s never seen the Nittany Lions take the field from that angle. Glad he had that opportunity Saturday.

11. One more letterman note: Chafie Fields joined us for last week’s episode of Football Letter Live. You’ll want to check it out to hear stories of what it was like playing for Joe Paterno. Fields even shares his JoePa impressions. Here’s the link for the episode, which also features Hampton Raods (Va.) Chapter Vice President Jackie Eury and Secretary Tom Forrest.

12. Keyvone Lee finished with one of the best performances by a running back this season. The sophomore from St. Petersburg, Florida, totaled 88 yards on 20 carries.

13. We captured the usual game day sights at Beaver Stadium. Visit our social channels to see the Blue Band’s pregame performance, the Nittany Lion looking cool, the alma mater, and the team entrance in slow motion.

14. When leaving the stadium, I sometimes exit out of the south tunnel doors, which I did Saturday. That’s where the players exit, and there’s usually a crowd of fans and youngsters waiting for autographs. So, every time that door handle clicks, everyone gears up with excitement to see who’s leaving. When they saw me exiting Saturday, there was an instant look of disappoint. Really can’t blame them. I’ll have to write myself a note that says to leave another way.

Very few stadiums in the world compare to Beaver Stadium and the incredible attendance numbers we have. Saturday was the latest example. Photo credit: John Patishnock

15. There’s a group of 20- and 30-somethings that park across from me in my spot, in the lot across the road from the soccer practice field. I usually arrive early — anywhere from three to four hours before kickoff — and without exception, they’re always there before me and stay after. We finally chatted for the first time a few weeks ago. And we talked against yesterday. They were nice enough to offer me some coffee and food. I politely declined (I don’t drink coffee), though I totally understand how friendships are formed and last for years or decades between people who didn’t know each other before being tailgating neighbors.

16. Each week, we ask Penn Staters to share something about their fan experience that we feature on Football Letter Live. This week, we’re asking you to share photos of your Penn State fan caves and memorabilia collections. Visit our Facebook page to be included on the show.

17. With two games left in the regular season, it’s fair to say this year hasn’t gone the way coaches and players wanted. But the Nittany Lions will stay play in a bowl game. And more immediate, the team will celebrate Senior Day and Military Appreciation Day on Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon against Rutgers.

18. Following the home tilt against Rutgers, Penn State travels to East Lansing to finish the regular season against Michigan State. The Spartans have had a much better season than anyone could’ve predicted — we doubt even their fans felt like this year’s squad would’ve been ranked in the Top 4 of the College Football Playoff rankings. But it’ll be a legitimate challenge for Penn State.

The Blue Band always transforms game day at Beaver Stadium into a memorable experience. One of their several performances includes their pregame rendition of fight songs, pictured here. Photo credit: John Patishnock

19. If you’re heading to the game at East Lansing, we hope to see you at our game day pep rally. There won’t be an alumni mixer Friday night, so you can get some extra rest for Saturday.  

20. Go State. Beat Rutgers.



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Not yet an Alumni Association member? Click here.

Follow the Football Letter on Twitter for more videos, photos, and features.

The Roaring 20: Penn State-Maryland

It wasn’t always pretty, but Penn State is back in the win column and snapped a three-game skid with a 31-14 win over Maryland on Saturday. Here are 20 insights from this past weekend.

1. Jahan Dotson is special. Hands down the biggest takeaway of this weekend was the play of No. 5. There have been some great WRs in Penn State’s history: Bobby Engram, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson II, KJ Hamler, Kenny Jackson, OJ McDuffie, DaeSean Hamilton, etc, etc. It’s time we put Jahan Dotson’s name near the top of that list. He’s a special, special player.

2. Dotson set a Penn State single-game record with his 242-yard effort against the Terps. Add in the fact he scored all three of Penn State’s offensive touchdowns on the day and that might have been the best single-game performance from a Penn State wide receiver.

3. With Penn State suddenly tied 14-14 early in the fourth quarter following a touchdown and two-point conversion from Maryland, the pressure was on the Nittany Lions offense to come up with something to spark the team back into life. Dotson answered the call, streaking down the middle of the field and into the end zone for a huge strike.

4. Now, back to the start of the weekend. Always great to come down to the Washington, D.C. area and see a terrific turnout from the vast amounts of Penn Staters in the area. Great mixer event Friday night in D.C. at The Admiral put on by our Metro Washington, D.C. Chapter.

5. Speaking of great turnouts. Penn Staters showed out and brought the energy at our Pep Rally before kick-off on Saturday. Catch the full Pep Rally livestream recording on our Facebook page.

6. I always enjoy seeing the warm reception longtime editor of The Football Letter John Black gets on our travels. Penn Staters always seek him out to exchange stories and thank him for all the great Letters he’s scribed over the years. He and Football Letter photographer Steve Manuel got a nice ovation during our Pep Rally program.

7. I’m going to reference a great turnout from Penn Staters a third time. There was PLENTY of blue and white in the stands at Captial One Field at Maryland Stadium, including the entirety of the Penn State Blue Band.

8. Here’s the Blue Bands halftime pertformance.

9. Another great showing from the Penn State defense on Saturday. The Nittany Lions stood up time and time again when the offense struggled to develop a rhythm.

10. Despite only putting up 14 points, I came away pretty impressed by Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa. The Terrapins quarterback was 41-of-57 for 371 yards and made some challenging throws in tight coverage. Without a couple drops from his receivers and that statline looks even better.

11. The Nittany Lions’ running game was better if not great. Nittany Lion backs combined for 109 yards. Penn State ended with 93 yards rushing because college football takes sack yardage into account (that’s really dumb, but that’s a conversation for another day. You still feel like this group lacks that dynamic rusher to give this offense a different dimension.

12. Always great to hear the Alma Mater after a W, especially on the road and especially to end a three-game losing streak.

13. As always, plenty of great postgame coverage from John Patishnock. Can’t say enough about the work he’s done this season. If you’re not following The Football Letter Twitter account, you’re missing out on a lot of great video coverage from him that you can’t get anywhere else.

14. Penn State is now 15-1 all-time at Maryland, and Penn State fans let Terps fans hear about it after the game.

15. I mentioned Jahan Dotson’s historic day earlier. Check out some of these eye-catching notes about Jahan’s day and season. Give this man the Biletnikoff Award, please!

16. Awesome moment postgame with James Franklin, Jahan…and a Penn State baby! Check it out below.

17. Penn State has some terrific student-athletes, and three of them are up for the Senior CLASS Award. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Senior CLASS Award honors the attributes of NCAA Division I senior student-athletes in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. The award program is designed exclusively for college seniors who are utilizing their complete athletic eligibility, remaining committed to their university and pursuing the many rewards a senior season can bring. Nittany Lions Sean Clifford, Jonni Parker and Pierre Ready are up for the award. Vote for them at this link.

18. Two early goals propelled Penn State Men’s Soccer to a Big Ten Tournament opening round win over Michigan State. Survive and advance!

19. At the time of writing, we’re still waiting on Penn State Field Hockey’s selection to the NCAA Tournament. It’s almost a certainty the Nittany Lions hear their name called, it’s just a question of who and where they will be playing.

20. See everyone at Beaver Stadium on Saturday. Go State. Beat Michigan.

The Roaring 20: Penn State-Ohio State

John Patishnock/The Football Letter

Here are 20 insights from this past weekend, as Penn State dropped its third-straight game in a tough 33-24 loss to Ohio State.

1. Before we dive into the weekend in Columbus, I’d encourage everyone to go check out John Patishnock’s story on Journey Brown from last week. Here’s a snippet of James Franklin talking about the importance of Journey still being around the program in a non-playing capacity. 

2. Was great seeing Penn Staters who came out to our Central Ohio Chapter’s Alumni Mixer Friday Night, including Nittany Lion super fan Paul Frankhouser. You might recognize Paul’s Penn State-themed Hummer. We caught up with Paul for a quick interview about his passion for Penn State. 

3. If you’re in Columbus or elsewhere in Central Ohio, check out the Central Ohio Chapter. They do a lot of great work keeping Penn Staters connected deep in the heart of Buckeye country. Follow them on Twitter (@psucolumbus) or visit their website psucolumbus.org

4. Had a great time at my first Pep Rally of the season. The Blue Band, the Nittany Lion, Lionettes and Cheerleaders brought the energy as usual. You can re-watch the livestream of the Pep Rally on the Alumni Association’s Facebook page

5. This past weekend was my first trip to Ohio State. I must admit everything I had heard about how opposing fans were treated in Columbus was not pleasant. Fortunately, there weren’t too many negative experiences on my end. The occasional snide comment or crude remark, but not anything worse than I’ve heard at other Big Ten away trips. In fact, there were several Buckeye fans who went out of their way to welcome us to Columbus and wished us well for the game, with one OSU fan noting that he has only had positive experiences in his travels to Happy Valley.

6. The process getting into Ohio Stadium was not all that pleasant, however. Only having two working gates for 100,000-plus fans to access the stadium doesn’t seem like a great idea. It probably took us 45 minutes to make our way through the entry gate. Luckily, we got to our seats just in time for kick-off. You won’t see me complaining about the process of entry to Beaver Stadium again anytime soon. 

7. There wasn’t an abundance of Penn State fans inside The Horseshoe, but the Nittany Lions fans who were there made their presence felt. Despite the loss, I had a great time interacting with the Penn Staters in our section just near the contingent of Blue Band students who were at the game. 

8. The flag-raising ceremony inside Ohio Stadium is so cool. I wish I captured it on video. 

9. I’m never one to highlight moral victories, but man, I came away from Saturday’s 33-24 loss incredibly proud of these players and coaches. Penn State played a hell of a game, it just came up short. That’s football. Change the outcome of one or two plays and the game probably ends in the Nittany Lions’ favor. I needed to see a positive response after last week’s upset loss to Illinois and I felt like I got it. 

10. Still, the loss last week to the Illini stings a little extra now that we saw a showing like that against a far superior opponent. 

11. The trick is now to bring the level of intensity we showed against Ohio State to the four remaining games: at Maryland, Michigan, Rutgers, and at Michigan State. 

12. 9-3 is a legitimate possibility and nothing to scoff at, regardless of how high our hopes got with this team after a 5-0 start.

13. The matchup with the Terrapins will be another intriguing game. Maryland topped the Nittany Lions last season, 35-19. Kick-off is set for 3:30 p.m. 

14. I thought Jahan Dotson gave a terrific response in his postgame interview about being a leader and making sure his teammates stay focused the rest of the season. 

15. Check out Dotson’s full interview, along with interviews with postgame videos of Arnold Ebiketie, Joey Porter Jr. and Parker Washington, on our YouTube page.

16. Look, it’s obviously been a tough season for the Penn State running game. They have not played to expectations, and I’m sure they’d all be the first ones to say so. It’s clear there’s no sign of division in the position group, though. The unit shared a nice moment before kickoff in one of the end zone, circling up with one another as they prepared for action.

17. Big shoutout to Penn State Men’s Soccer, clinching the Big Ten regular season title on Sunday. Congratulations to head coach Jeff Cook on his first trophy with the Nittany Lions. The first of many!

18. Another shoutout to Penn State Field Hockey. The Nittany Lions took down No. 2 Michigan in an overtime thriller on Senior Night.

19. I expect to see a big contingent of Penn State fans at Maryland next week. It seems like Nittany Lions fans always show out down in College Park. There’s still time to sign up for the Friday Night Mixer and Saturday’s Pep Rally. If you plan on going, stop and say hi. I’ll be on site shooting some video for social media.

20. I hope everyone had a fun, safe Halloween. If you rocked a Penn State-themed costume, tag us in a photo of it on Facebook or Instagram.

The Roaring 20: Penn State-Illinois

Mike Herr (Mike the Mailman) and Penn State professor and local musician Molly Countermine judged Friday night’s Homecoming Parade in State College. The parade featured dozens of Alumni Association affiliate groups, Penn State student organizations, and plenty of colorful floats. Photo credit: John Patishnock

Here are 20 insights from Homecoming Weekend in Happy Valley. Tens of thousands of alumni returned to University Park to celebrate, with numerous events leading up to Saturday’s game against Illinois, a 20-18 setback for the Nittany Lions. We’ve also embedded a few additional social media posts from the weekend, including one that features the old-school end zone design that was featured with the team’s “Generations of Greatness” uniforms.

1. Last week’s episode of Football Letter Live was an absolute blast. We welcomed Alumni Blue Band President Randy Seely ’91 and Keith Griffith ’21, both of whom participated in the band performing at Friday’s ice cream social (more on that shortly). Seely has deep Penn State connections, as his father (Wayne ’65), spouse (Judy ’86), son (Andrew ’16), and daughter (Amelia ’21) are all Penn State grads. Griffith, meanwhile, was the band’s drum major last year, which means he missed out because of COVID restrictions. So, seeing him lead the Alumni Blue Band during Friday’s ice cream social and on the field on Saturday was both meaningful and a lot of fun. Jump to the 18:45 mark of the episode to catch Seely and Griffith’s appearance.

2. In addition to speaking with Seely and Griffith about the Alumni Blue Band, we also shared an interview with Nittanyville President Matt Solomon. We stopped by Beaver Stadium on Wednesday night as students began arriving shortly after 9 p.m., with Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford ’20g welcoming and thanking the students. You can see Clifford’s conversation with Solomon on our Twitter page or by jumping to the 10:00 mark of the episode for the intro to the video.

3. The episode also featured a long-form discussion with letterman linebacker Michael Mauti ’12, who is largely — and deservedly — credited for saving Penn State football during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. Any Penn Stater would be well served to check out the interview, and it starts around the 36:00 mark of the episode. On a personal note, Paul and I absolutely enjoyed talking with Michael, and we hope to stay in touch with him and welcome him back to Penn State anytime he wants to visit. We’ll pick up the tab. 

4. The Homecoming celebration rolled into Friday, when the Alumni Blue Band, Nittany Lion, and cheer squad stopped by the Hintz Family Alumni Center for the ever-popular ice cream social. You can see the band’s first set (27:45 mark) and second set on our Facebook page, directed by Griffith.

5. Before the social kicked off, we chatted with Carol ’08 and Mark Poblete ’07, ’20g, Homecoming Co-Chairs for the Alumni Blue Band. You can see that conversation on our Facebook page

6. Everyone was in good spirits — free Berkey Creamery ice cream will do that. Check out some photos from the social on our Facebook page.

7. We livestreamed the Homecoming Parade and set up on the corner of College and Allen. You can see the parade here, and we’re encouraging Penn Staters to let us know in the comments where you watched the parade from. 

8. As always, our student group Lion Ambassadors hosted a wonderful Guard the Lion Shrine event Friday night, continuing a long-standing tradition that wouldn’t exist without Sue Paterno. Each year, she stops by to welcome alumni and share the story of how she and some friends painted the Nittany Lion orange ahead of a Homecoming battle against Syracuse, and this year featured a must-see moment. After she spoke, Sue joined with Lion Ambassadors and alumni to sing and dance along to Sweet Caroline. We’ll stop there in describing what happened. The video tells the story better than we ever could. As we said in the post, we love and appreciate Sue and continue to wish her and her family all the best. 

9. James Franklin’s customary pregame lap didn’t feature as many fan interactions since gates didn’t open until shortly after he arrived, though fans can still check out the scene, which featured him thanking stadium personnel and welcoming Illini staff.

10. One of the highlights of the Homecoming game is seeing the Alumni Blue Band on the field. You can see part of their halftime performance and part of their postgame performance online

11. You can’t fault fans for thinking that if Sean Clifford doesn’t get hurt against Iowa, it’s entirely possible that Penn State is 7-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country, inviting the inevitable comparisons between the Nittany Lions and the top-ranked Georgia Bulldogs — the two teams that battled for the national title in 1982 — with Penn State (of course) winning the ’83 Sugar Bowl. 

12. We caught up with superstar tailgater and fan Sue Wilson and her husband, Ed, before the game. If you’ve ever seen our highlight videos, you already know Sue. Typically, the first shot of each video features the banner that she and her tailgating crew have made. They’ve become so popular that James Franklin will sometimes make it a point to say hello during team arrival. Tune into this week’s episode of Football Letter Live to see the conversation and learn more about Sue and what tailgating at Penn State means to her and her family. 

13. Even though Illinois racked up 357 rushing yards, Penn State’s defense stepped up when it counted. The Nittany Lions also forced multiple turnovers. The defense even scored a touchdown. Unfortunately, the only people who didn’t realize that were the ones who counted — the referees. Watching the replay multiple times, and the shot we got from standing behind the end zone, it was clear that the Illini running back was still upright and didn’t have forward progress stopped when the Nittany Lions forced a fumble and jumped on the football in the end zone in the first quarter. For as many bad calls as we see each week, they never become less stunning. In addition to the touchdown that wasn’t, Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford absorbed a clear late hit in the second half. But it wasn’t called. Penn State was driving and would’ve been set up for a score if the referees had made the correct call. It’s not our place to routinely comment on officiating, but at some point, it’s impossible to ignore. College football (whether you like it or not) is a billion-dollar business. Having expert referees oversee these games is essential.

14. Overtime was crazy. I know it. You know it. We all know it. Even just changing the rules to say that the teams will go toward the same end zone each possession would help. Because as it stood Saturday, players continually walked, jogged, etc. to each goal line after each possession. And considering there were nine possessions, that’s significant, especially after playing through four quarters of a grinder of a game.

15. Lucky isn’t the right word — I prefer “fortunate” — though either way, teams must avoid injuries to key players, have critical calls go in their favor (or at least avoid bad calls going against them, something which Penn State has faced all season), among other intangibles that don’t show up in a box score. Not many teams can legitimately say they’re one or two breaks away from contending for a playoff spot this year, though Penn State is one of them.

16. Speaking of which: For all the disappointment about Saturday’s game, (almost) nothing has changed for Penn State and its goals this season. If the Nittany Lions win out, it’s still entirely possible they’ll earn a trip to Indianapolis for the Big Ten title. They’d still need Michigan, Michigan State, and Ohio State to all lose one other conference game, and with all three of those teams playing one another still this season, that’s very much possible. 

17. Win or lose, the Blue Band and Nittany Lions always play and sing the alma mater. Check out Saturday’s rendition on Facebook.

18. We spoke with a few players following the game, and you can visit our 2021 Football Letter playlist on YouTube to hear from quarterback Sean Clifford, wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith, and kicking specialist Jordan Stout. 

19. There’s still time to join us in Columbus this weekend. Sign up here for the alumni mixer Friday night at the local Quaker Steak and Lube and visit our website to RSVP for Saturday’s Pep Rally. We hope to see you.

20. Go State. Beat the Buckeyes. 

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The Roaring 20: Penn State-Iowa

Kinnick Stadium, hours before the venue’s biggest game since 1985, when No. 1 Iowa hosted No. 2 Michigan. The Hawkeyes escaped Saturday with a 23-20 win that was marred by fans booing Penn State injuries. You can see plenty of videos and photos from the weekend below. Photo credit: John Patishnock

Here are 20 insights from our weekend trip to see Penn State battle Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes erased a 17-3 deficit to win 23-20, as numerous Nittany Lions — including three team captains in Sean Clifford, PJ Mustipher, and Jonathan Sutherland — left the game because of injuries.

1. Friday was an adventure for the Alumni Association staff. Some colleagues flew to Chicago and drove to Cedar Rapids (about a 3.5 hour-drive). We were all booked for an early flight, which got delayed, and then canceled, and some of us got rebooked on the 6 p.m. direct flight. Then, that flight got delayed and canceled. I figured that was it — we weren’t all making the trip to Iowa, myself included. Miss out on a Top-5 matchup? It hurt. I was on hold with the travel agency and couldn’t get through. Nobody could find a reasonable flight that’d get us into Iowa on time. We were looking at other airports. It seemed lost. Colleagues had even left to go home. I was right behind them, when I decided to stop at the airline counter for a last-ditch effort to see what was possible.

Then, something happened like out of a movie. People hung around, stayed by the counter. Eventually, a call was made. A head count followed. I called colleagues who turned around on the road and returned to the airport, with still no guarantee. But it was possible we’d get a new plane into State College specifically for our flight. And it happened. We had to wait, and we didn’t get into Iowa until midnight local time, but it was so worth it to be there to gather with Penn Staters at our events and see the Nittany Lions give one hell of a battle. Here’s a photo I took as I got on the plane out of State College on Friday night. P.S., it was probably closer to six hours at the airport, but I was out of it. Thanks to everyone at United who helped get us to the game.

2. I was disappointed to miss Friday night’s mixer and not see alumni and friends, including Central Iowa Chapter President Herb Meier ’73. Meier was a guest on last week’s episode of Football Letter Live, and you can see our conversation with him starting around the 13:30 mark.

3. For the third time in six years, we traveled to Iowa and held our pep rally at Duane Banks Field, home to Iowa’s baseball team. Here was the scene as we set up and prepared for the crowd.

4. We had some internet connection issues during our live stream of Saturday’s pep rally. Specifically, it dropped a few times, though only for a moment or two. Thanks to everyone who stayed with us, and you can watch the pep rally (broken into sections) on our Facebook video page.

5. The Pep Band closed out the pep rally with the alma mater, and you can see (and hear) the student, cheer team, Nittany Lion, and Penn Staters enjoying the moment.

6. There’s still time to join us at one of our three remaining pep rallies this regular season. View more information and sign up for the pep rallies at Ohio State (Oct. 30), Maryland (Nov. 6), and Michigan State (Nov. 27). We hope to see you on the road at some point this season.

7. After setting up, we walked around the tailgating lots a bit. Lots filled up quickly Saturday, and here’s one view with Kinnick Stadium in the background.

8. Iowa’s press box is absolutely gorgeous. We snapped this photo a few hours before kickoff.

9. Penn State legend LaVar Arrington was in the house for the game, after he appeared on FOX’s Big Noon Kickoff show to preview the game. You can see LaVar on set in this video from FOX’s College Football Twitter account, and we also snapped a quick photo of LaVar on the Penn State sideline shortly before kickoff. As you can imagine, he was popular among the Penn Staters who traveled, taking time for a photo with a young fan, moments before James Franklin led the Nittany Lions onto the field.

10. Say what you want about the fans — and we will in the next couple of notes — however, the wave to the children’s hospital at the end of the first quarter is a wonderful tradition that brings a lot of joy to the children facing much bigger battles off the field. You can see the moment on our Facebook page.

11. A lot’s been written and said about Iowa’s fans booing Penn State’s injured players. Obviously, the fans thought the players were faking to slow down Iowa’s offense, which in a word, is “absurd.” The Hawkeyes don’t run an upbeat, fast-paced offense. They huddle. They take time off the clock. Good for James Franklin directly addressing this after the game. Lions247’s Tyler Donohue shared Franklin’s response.

12. Following up on the last point: Outside of Nebraska, I’ve been to every away venue in the Big Ten, and Saturday was the third time I’ve seen Penn State play Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. While every fan base (even ours) has fans who act inappropriately and crudely, Iowa has more fans than most who fit into this category. Will that change in the future? Unfortunately, I doubt it, since Hawkeye coaches joined in the mocking. Here’s just one video making the rounds on social media.

13. After the game ended, you could see some Penn State fans applauding the team as players and coaches walked off the field. In addition to fans, family members also traveled, including Tariq Castro-Fields’ parents. Earlier this season, I finally introduced myself to a gentleman who I see at nearly every game, home and away. He usually has an appearance in our highlight videos, and I just wanted to thank him for always being so energetic. Turned out he’s Castro-Fields’ father, and he and his family attended the game at Kinnick Stadium. We shared a fist-bump when I saw him, and seeing him and his family and saying “hello” and “good to see you” has quickly become a nice tradition for me.

14. Just about every player available to the media afterward was asked about the fans booing their injured teammates. The Nittany Lions displayed an incredible level of maturity in their responses, showing much more class than the crowd. We shared Ellis Brooks’ insight, as he said Iowa “has loving (our emphasis) fans,” while adding that it’s a “weird” thing to have happen. You can view Brooks’ entire response on our Twitter page.

15. “Resilient” was one of the first words I thought of after Jordan Stout shared the message he had for teammates after the game, regarding the team still being in position to achieve all of is goals: “Don’t forget the goals, don’t forget what we’re pushing for. We’re going for a national championship, Big Ten championship. This doesn’t matter. We’re coming back stronger.” You can see Stout’s full response on our Twitter page.

16. Senior defensive end Arnold Ebiketie described Saturday’s setback as “just a bump on the road.” That response is a good indicator of the maturity level of Ebiketie, who is viewed as a leader even though this is his first year with the program after transferring from Temple.

17. We also spoke with standout linebacker Jesse Luketa. He discussed the team’s defensive performance, participating in the traditional wave, and much more. Visit our YouTube channel to see the whole discussion. You can also visit our Twitter channel for a shortened version, where he talks about the wave and why he’s confident the defense will bounce back.

18. Friday night, Lion Ambassadors hosted Haunted Valley, one of the many popular events they hold to celebrate and uphold Penn State spirit and tradition. You can see some photos from the event on the group’s Facebook page.

19. Even with the bye, we’ll still have a new episode of Football Letter Live this week. Sign up and hear from letterman Garry Gilliam ’13 and Paralympian and volunteer leader Jake Schrom ’11.

20. Rest up this week, Penn Staters. There’s still a lot of football to be played in the nation’s toughest conference and division.

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The Roaring 20: Penn State-Indiana

Another massive crowd (105,951) packed Beaver Stadium to watch Penn State knock off Indiana 24-0 during the annual Stripe Out game. Photo credit: Penn State

Here are 20 insights from another memorable Saturday in Happy Valley, with plenty of links for videos and photos that showcase the day. Penn State won its ninth straight game and improved to 5-0 with a 24-0 clobbering of Indiana. The Nittany Lions remain at No. 4 in this week’s AP Poll, released earlier Sunday, with this week’s opponent, Iowa, at No. 3.

1. Enjoyed a nice run around campus Saturday morning, and my route takes me the entire length of Curtin Road from Atherton Street to Beaver Stadium. Saw plenty of Penn Staters tailgating early and taking photos at popular campus spots like the Nittany Lion Shrine and the We Are Sculpture. Here’s a link for some of the photos we shared Saturday.

2. Team arrival was as cool as ever. We captured the scene from a new angle, and we got a pretty steady shot of the Blue Band and Nittany Lions walking to the stadium. Many thanks to the fans who made room for me on a nice, square boulder that allowed me to get high enough to capture the scene. You can see our video here.

3. We were fortunate to get a few nice shots of James Franklin welcoming fans during his pregame lap. Check out our video to see how hyped Franklin was before the game.

4. The Lion Ambassadors’ S-Zone looked dynamite Saturday. We snapped a photo from the press box a few hours before kickoff. As you can see, the students were set and ready to go.

The Lion Ambassadors settled into Beaver Stadium early Saturday night to cheer on the Nittany Lions and to create marquee their marquee S-Zone. Photo credit: John Patishnock

5. We got a nice sequence of James Franklin and the Nittany Lions taking the field before kickoff, and with a night-time start, the newly installed lights in the South Tunnel illuminated the shot quite nicely.

6. This week’s highlight video features some shots from the tailgating lots, next to Beaver Stadium, on the south side. Appreciate everyone allowing me to get some video, and the tailgating shots are early on in our highlight video.

7. Fans packed Beaver Stadium quickly leading up to the game. About an hour before kickoff, I looked around and was blown away. One of the team’s media relations pros was walking by, and I remarked to him how amazing the stadium looked. Always good to remind myself that we’re blessed to call Happy Valley home and share this community with so many passionate alumni and fans.

8. The Daily Collegian captured a nice photo of the pregame team entrance and fireworks. It really gives a sense of how much fans have embraced the Stripe Out. Penn State also posted a nice photo, and you can see that image on our Twitter page.

9. It was awesome to see Britt Baker at the game. For Penn Staters who don’t know, Baker is a Penn State grad and professional women’s wrestler for All Elite Wrestling (AEW), which airs nationally on TNT. She’s currently the women’s world champ for AEW, so she’s quite good at what she does. Just as interesting (or perhaps more so), she’s a dentist by day. Really, she is. You can check out her Instagram page to see her in action, and Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford met her Saturday night and shared this photo. You can also see photos that Baker shared to her Twitter page.

10. Anytime Penn State legend Todd Blackledge returns to campus to call a game, it’s a treat. A few days ago, we shared the image of when he graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, following Penn State’s epic win over Nebraska in the championship season of 1982. You can see that cover photo on our Twitter page.

11. The postgame alma mater never disappoints. Never. Check out the team and fans singing the alma mater Saturday night, led of course by the Blue Band.

12. Sean Clifford and Jahan Dotson connected for two scores Saturday, and the duo now hold the record for most touchdowns by a quarterback-receiver combo in Penn State history (18). Perhaps it was meant to happen against Indiana, since Blackledge was in the house. Clifford and Dotson broke the previous mark of 17, held by Blackledge and Kenny Jackson.

13. Anytime people are discussing this year’s Heisman Trophy race, Dotson’s name needs to be included. He’s the premier receiver in college football and helps lead a Top-5 team in the toughest division in the nation. He’s that good and deserves to be near the top of any list of candidates.

14. Following games, Clifford usually shows some fire as he walks up to ring the Victory Bell and celebrate with fans. Saturday was no exception. Check out our video, which shows lots of his teammates always enjoying the moment.

15. Sticking with the Victory Bell, we captured a funny moment between James Franklin and Devyn Ford. The star running back was getting ready to leave the field without ringing the Victory Bell, before Franklin called him back. Reminded me of a similar situation years ago between Franklin and Saquon Barkley. Coaches never stop coaching. You can see the entire sequence here, which includes Franklin ringing the Victory Bell himself.

16. Going back to Clifford, we captured his entire postgame media availability. He discusses his strong bond with Dotson, the team’s performance against Indiana, and a whole lot more. Clifford spoke with the media for a little more than nine minutes, and you can watch the entire video on our YouTube page.

17. Penn State’s next home game is in three weeks, when we’ll welcome tens of thousands of alumni back to University Park for Homecoming. You can read full details on Penn State News, and of special note, you can sign up for free for the popular ice cream social from 1-3 p.m., on Friday, Oct. 22, at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. As always, the Alumni Blue Band will be performing, and between that and free Berkey Creamery ice cream, we expect to see plenty of alumni stop by. We hope you’re among the group. Everyone is also invited to the Nittany Lion Shrine following the Homecoming Parade for Guard the Lion Shrine, hosted by our Lion Ambassadors.

18. Even if you can’t return to Beaver Stadium for home games, you can still cheer on the Nittany Lions with fellow Penn Staters. Many of our alumni chapters across the country host game watch parties (for all games, home and away) at local establishments, where space is reserved for Penn State alumni and fans. Visit our group events page to see what’s available near you.

19. There’s still time to register for the Saturday Pep Rally at Iowa. Visit our website for free sign ups and gather with fellow Nittany Lions while enjoying plenty of Penn State spirit and Penn State Bakery cookies. You can also sign up for our Pep Rallies at Ohio State, Maryland, and Michigan State.

20. Go State. Beat the Hawkeyes.

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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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The Roaring 20: Penn State-Auburn

ESPN’s College Game Day broadcasted live from Old Main Lawn on Saturday morning. Check out our links below for plenty of video and photo coverage from an incredibly fun, successful, and exciting weekend in Happy Valley. Photo credit: John Patishnock

1. The noise Saturday night at Beaver Stadium was truly unrelenting. 2021 Auburn is right up there with 2002 Nebraska, 2005 Ohio State, and 2016 Ohio State, among others. 

2. Saw plenty of Auburn fans in Happy Valley over the last few days. Everyone was cordial and glad to be in State College. Looking forward to being on the receiving end of some southern hospitality next year. 

 3. The on-field celebration between players and fans was exuberant. See the jubilation up close with our video coverage

4. We usually keep the video on the team during the alma mater, though it’s good to mix things up, and we got some nice crowd shots during last night’s playing. It was an emotional scene, and you can visit our Facebook page to see fans and players enjoy the moment

5. College Game Day was such a thrill (again). Penn State’s the only school to host the wildly popular show for the last five years — the crew visited last year for the game against the Buckeyes — and not for nothing, having the show air on Old Main Lawn is the perfect backdrop for not just Penn State, but all of college football. 

6. James Franklin appeared on set to lots of applause. Check out him making his way toward the set Saturday morning.

7. Shoutout to Penn State fans for some clever signs.

8. You get the feeling Game Day host Rece Davis genuinely enjoys his time at Penn State. Davis, an Alabama graduate, has always spoken highly of the Berkey Creamery, the fans, and other aspects of Happy Valley. See Davis thank the crowd at Game Day after the show wrapped. We had an awesome view from the Old Main Bell Tower.

9. Lee Corso picked Penn State to end Game Day, with guest picker Saquon Barkley cheering him on. See the action from the Bell Tower, and you can see a little bit bigger view by looking at the screens on the side and above the stage. 

10. Speaking of the Bell Tower, we also snapped this photo. See anyone you recognize? 

11. After his appearance on Game Day, Franklin quickly made his way through the crowd — he had a busy day — and he welcomed Auburn fans to Penn State. This is something Franklin routinely does, greeting fans and staff from opposing schools. It’s a simple gesture, though I’m sure it’s something people remember. I know I do.

12. Barkley signed autographs for fans during his visit to the set. Associate Athletic Director Kris Petersen snapped this photo of Barkley with the fans.

13. Seeing the Blue Buses pull up to Beaver Stadium never gets old.

14. There must’ve been at least two dozen lettermen in attendance against Auburn, and that’s probably a low estimate. In addition to Barkley, Grant Haley, Michael Mauti, and Adam Taliaferro, who all led “We Are” cheers on the field during breaks, other lettermen watching from the field included Reggie Givens and Shelley Hammonds, just to name two.

15. Sweet Caroline never disappoints. Check out our video from the White Out.

16. Penn State has the most impressive 3-0 record in the country. No other team has beaten such formidable opponents, including one on the road. 

17. To the tailgating crew that lent me a bottle of water on my way out of the stadium at close to 1 a.m., I meant it when I said I’d remember your kindness. I’ll find a way to pay it forward. And if I pass by your tailgate again this season, I’ll be sure to say hello and thank you again. 

18. Alumni Association CEO Paul Clifford and I stopped by the Paul Anderson-hosted tailgate Saturday to speak with the former president of our Middle Tennessee Chapter. We spoke with Anderson for a segment that’ll air on a future episode of Football Letter Live. Sign up for this season’s episodes online.

19. Last week’s episode was so enjoyable. We’re so fortunate that talented and inspiring Penn Staters are gracious enough to share their time with us. We welcomed Rocket City Chapter President Hilary Justh ’97, Penn State football author Jordan Hyman ’99, and beloved football letterman Adam Taliaferro ’05 last Thursday night, and you can view the archived episode on our Facebook or YouTube page. There’s even a Star Wars intro for one of our guests. We encourage you to watch to find out which one.

20. Go State. Beat the Wildcats.

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