My Favorite Games Ever Attended #1: No.2 Ohio State vs. Penn State 2016
Written by Cory Lestochi
We were the first ones on the field. Running in from the south end zone at full speed towards midfield. My buddy, G-Wiz, slipped just before the goal line and when I turned around to help him, I gazed upon an avalanche of white.
As I mentioned with story on my third favorite football game I have ever seen in person, the Minnesota game in 2016 was the true turning point for this football team. It gave everyone around the football program a fighting belief that they could upset anyone inside Beaver Stadium, including the No.2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.
The football game grew with anticipation on Monday night, when campers from Nittanyville set up their tents for their annual weeklong campout.
Later that week, head coach James Franklin and the rest of the football team arrived at Gate A with the Blue Band. During that time, linebacker, Jason Cabinda, pronounced that “we are gonna beat the Buckeyes!” with such conviction it felt like the team really believed it and it wasn’t just one of those pep rally cries. From that moment on, me, and my fellow campers began to believe it was actually possible.
Once game day finally arrived, you could feel the emotion in the air. When we found our “seats” in Beaver Stadium, we immediately noticed bleachers along the boundaries of the student section to help students rush the field if the Nittany Lions were able to upset the Buckeyes. At that moment, we realized that the athletic department was also bought in on the upset and we can began to believe that not only could it happen, but it was going to happen.
The weather was uncooperative the majority of the game. The chilling rain appeared to be extinguishing the Nittany Lions hopes of an upset; Penn State was down fourteen to start the fourth quarter.
Trace McSorley cut the lead to seven with a diving touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The defense earned a key stop that was punctuated by Cam Brown blocking a punt. The blocked punt led to a quick drive and a short field goal by Tyler Davis to bring the Nittany Lions within four with 9:33 to go.
The Buckeyes began driving down the field, attempting to place the dagger in the hearts of over 107,000 fans. Ohio State reached as far as Penn State’s 28 yard line before stalling. Urban Meyer contemplated going for the 4th & 7, but elected to rush Tyler Durbin out for a 45 yd field goal attempt:
It gives me chills every time.
With only 4:03 left, J.T. Barrett and company were unable to drive down the field to tie the game with a field goal, let alone score a touchdown to win. Jason Cabinda had one of the two final sacks of the game, sealing his promise to Nittanyville and completing the upset of the No.2 Ohio State Buckeyes.
There is unlimited amount of storylines from this game that have been beaten over the head for the past couple years. Unfortunately, there are no words that can summarize what it felt like to be in that stadium and eventually on the field that night. Perhaps, more than anything, it told the rest of college football world that Penn State football was back.