Canceled classes. Traffic backed up on all entrances. First Big Ten game of the season. Friday night lights. Something Maryland did not prepare for: a Penn State fan section.
Our Nittany Lions shut out the Maryland Terrapins with a 59-0 victory on September 27. The anticipation of the game brought in 53,228 eager fans, according to Onward State, making it the sixth largest stadium turnout in university history with Maryland also adding an extra thousand seats for their student section. For comparison, that is about half the maximum capacity of Beaver Stadium (106,000+).
Maryland encouraged its students and traveling fans to represent the school in all black gear, in effort to “blackout” the stadium. Naturally, Penn State combatted this theme with their coined “white out,” which has been responsible for their award-winning “Best Student Section in the Country” status. Coaches and players throughout the years have always accredited the fan section’s energy and presence for being pivotal in team success.
The renowned fan section brought the same electricity from State College all the way to College Park. From the get-go, the “white out” representation began to take over both tiers, spanning the entire stadiums length. You can confidently attribute the game’s sellout and attendance to the Nittany Lions fanbase.
Throughout all four quarters, fans cheered intensely in support for the growing shutout. Up until the game, it had been 1,084 days since Maryland had scored a touchdown against Penn State. Happy to say, streak is still alive and growing.
After the game, both KJ Hamler and Sean Clifford put out a video posted by @pennstatefball on Instagram. Both star players gave their thanks to the traveling fans saying, “White out the blackout. We appreciate y’all.”
Penn State’s Nittanyville also made history that weekend, becoming the first fan section in the country to win ESPN’s Live Más Student Section Contest at an away game. This new accolade solidifies that Penn State’s fan section influence does not exist solely at home, but at away venues, too.
Penn State has both a culture that does not graduate and knows no physical bounds, with thousands of loyal fans and alumni willing to travel to showcase their support. The fan section has been a staple in Penn State’s growing and evolving culture. Student ticket sales sell out at an average of 89 minutes, the distinguished “We Are” chant has been integrated into “Zombie Nation,” halftime shows filled with the talented Blue Band and Lionettes and the bucket list: touchdown toss are only a few of the iconic game day traditions that make this Saturday outing even more attractive.
Near or far, Penn State has shown to be a dominant force both on the field and in the stands. We represent our school with a love and dedication that knows no distance. And, we do this unapologetically.