A sea of blue and white could be seen along Curtin Road near Beaver Stadium as students and fans sent off the Nittany Lions on Friday.
The marching band played, the cheerleaders cheered, and fans roared as two buses filled with Penn State football players, coaches and staff made their way to New Jersey for the first game of the season against Syracuse.
For Trey Cruser, of Washington D.C., and fellow freshman Dave Abramovitz, of central New Jersey, the day was extra special.
“We’re both freshmen, so to finally be a part of school spirit is a lot of fun,” Cruser said. “I think we’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
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Both said they have long family ties to Penn State, and cheering as official students is more special than cheering simply as a fan.
“You have a lot of pride when you go to a school like Penn State,” Abramovitz added. “This is your school now, and you’re completely immersed in the atmosphere and more invested in rooting on your team.”
Neither can make it to the game Saturday, but Abramovitz said his family, who only lives about a half-hour from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., will be there cheering in his place.
“You know, we’ll probably head to the commons with a bunch of other people and have a good time and watch the game,” Cruser added.
And for most students, although they’re hoping for a successful football season, being a part of Penn State is what really matters.
“It’s important to show spirit. Everyone expects us to fail because of all the Sandusky stuff,” said Dylan Houser, a sophomore. “We got a bad rap, but we’re here to show Penn State pride and that we still think we have the best school.”
Kickoff against the Orange is 3:30 p.m. Saturday.