STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (KDKA) — It’s was a day of new beginnings Saturday for the major college football programs in our region, but none is getting more attention than Penn State.
More than 97,000 fans packed Beaver Stadium for the season opener against the Ohio Bobcats. The Penn State fans were loud; they were proud and not afraid to show their spirit.
Before kicking off a new era of Penn State football, a message about the past echoed through the stands as fans were asked to pause and take part in a moment of reflection for the victims of child sexual abuse.
“Very appropriate, very heartfelt, very touching,” said Eric Pope, a PSU fan.
Then, from the moment the players and new head coach, Bill O’Brien, stormed the field, the focus shifted toward the future.
“I think under the new coaching staff, we are showing some real promise,” said fan Kimberly Pope. “The atmosphere is incredible; it gives me goose bumps just thinking about it. I think we are doing pretty good.”
“I like the players who stayed; I respect them a lot for that, and Bill O’Brien is doing big things,” said Meghan Duffy, a Penn State grad.
While it was obvious Coach O’Brien has a lot of backing, the stadium was also full of reminders of former coach Joe Paterno.
“I don’t want people to forget that the reason Penn State is such a great place, that it is and has a stadium that seats over 107,000, because of the 61 years that Coach Paterno put blood, sweat and effort into the program,” said Sam Bernstine, a PSU fan.
Before the game, there was a plane that flew overhead with a banner that read “Oust Erickson and Trustees.” But fans didn’t really comment, instead they talked about moving on.
Penn State ended up losing to Ohio University this afternoon; despite that, the game left fans feeling hopeful.