EARLY START

UNIVERSITY PARK — One of the most exciting, photogenic and intense traditions in college football is about to return to Beaver Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21, when the Michigan Wolverines come calling for perhaps the biggest home game of the year for Penn State. 

It will be a White Out, close to 110,000 fans dressed in pure white mightily trying to influence the events on the field in favor of their Nittany Lions. It is always the most anticipated night on the PSU schedule, and this year it will again put Penn State in front of a national audience.

It’s a spectacle that prompted ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit to declare that Penn State had the best student section in the country.

Nittany Lion head coach Franklin messaged Centre County Gazette in hopes of reaching out to the reading public to ask them to begin donning their white apparel the evening of Thursday, Oct. 19, and continue to wear white throughout the weekend, showing support for the 6-0 Nittany Lions.

It wouldn’t be surprising, though, if Penn State fans don’t remember much about the first White Out held at Beaver Stadium. That happened in 2004 when some guys in the sports information office had the idea of everyone in the student section dressing in white T-shirts. The name — White Out — was perfect from the very onset: blizzard conditions in which it is not only almost impossible for opponents to perform, but it’s difficult for them to even see.

Maybe that game isn’t remembered much because the Lions lost, 20-13, to Purdue, but the White Out was considered a success. It was not until the next year — 2005 — that the White Out began to build into the event that it is now.

That was the year No. 6 Ohio State came to visit for a nationally televised game Oct. 8. The Buckeyes featured future Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and a high-powered offense, but Penn State prevailed, 17-10, after Ohio State gave up an interception and a last-minute fumble, and encountered numerous communication problems due to the wild, noisy crowd.

In 2007, the full stadium got involved for the Sept. 8 game against Notre Dame. Before 110,078 white-clad fans and a national audience, Penn State dismissed the Irish, 31-10, while the stunning, almost surreal images of Beaver Stadium were flashed around the country.

Since that night, every White Out game except one has been televised on ABC, and this week’s game will be no exception.

The bad news is that Penn State has lost more White Outs than it has won. The Nittany Lions’ record in these games is 6-7, and they have lost two of the last three.

In 2014, No. 13 Ohio State came in and escaped, 31-24, in two overtimes, and who can forget that game’s two crucial officiating decisions that went against the Lions.

Then in 2015, during the height of the sanctions, No. 14 Michigan took a workmanlike 28-16 decision.

And, last season, Penn State stunned No. 2 Ohio State, 24-21, on a blocked field goal in the final minutes that propelled the Lions on to win the Big Ten East and then the Big Ten Championship.

So we are here again, Michigan this year, with the tents at the stadium going up already on Monday. It’s Penn State that’s rated No. 2 this year, though, and with everything still out there for the Lions to achieve, it should be a wild — and wildly entertaining — night of football.

 


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Source : http://www.statecollege.com/news/centre-county-gazette/penn-state-gets-early-start-on-michigan-white-out,1474165/

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