Love endures: Wife chooses hubby’s Nittany Lions over the Buckeyes

CDT photo

Jamie Woytek Moran was an Ohio State fan until she married Brendan Moran, of Altoona, and switched her allegiance to Penn State.

The Youngstown, Ohio, native had her first date with Moran at the Ohio State-Penn State game in 2005.

And the rest was history.

Now, her own family has a bone to pick with her.

But it’s all in good fun.

There is a friendly rivalry between the Moran and the Woytek families, and on Saturday, the two congregated for a tailgate together with other friends of mixed fandom at their parking spot in the Red lot near the Bryce Jordan Center.

The Woytek family made the three-hour drive from Ohio on Friday for a game most Penn State fans said was the biggest of the season.

“When you approach the season each year, as a fan, you know the goal is to beat Ohio State,” said season ticket holder Aubry Adams, of Lewistown.

Joe Reid, on the other hand, said the Penn State game is “probably the second biggest of the year” after the Buckeyes’ game against Michigan.

“Any Big Ten game is big for us, really,” Reid said. “There’s something special about being an Ohio (State) fan here in Happy Valley though ... there’s been a lot of talk about how bad the fans were here, but they’ve actually been pretty nice.”

And Reid, of Euclid, Ohio, stood out from the crowd.

With a whiteout game at Beaver Stadium, the Buckeyes fan knew he had to wear red.

“I’d be stupid not to cheer on my team — it’s pride,” he said. “Some people like Penn State, others like Ohio State. I’m an Ohio State fan, but it’s been all good and well worth the drive to Happy Valley.”

Most Penn State fans said they like Ohio State fans least, but find a common theme in supporting college football.

Another group of Penn State fans said they welcome the opposing team hoping to prove Penn State fans “are the friendliest,” said Paul Frankhouser, a 1965 Penn State graduate and State College resident.

With a tailgate he hosts that’s known to win competitions, he invites all fans, including those of the opposing team, to the pre-party.

“What’s the point of having this tailgate if you can’t share it with others?” Frankhouser said.

The Frankhousers host a tailgate party near Gate E of Beaver Stadium. The family’s white Hummer is clad in Penn State stickers, surrounded by a shrine of all things that represent the university.

Frankhouser’s wife, Yvonne, is the grill master.

The Nittany Lions fell to the Buckeyes on Saturday night, 31-24 in two overtimes, in a sold-out Beaver Stadium.

“It (reminded) me of the Michigan game last year,” said Penn State junior Michael Braun.

Penn State won that game, 43-40, in four overtimes.

For some Ohio State fans it was just another chance to see their team play, win or lose.

“I’m pretty happy to represent my team, and to be in Happy Valley and to see the stadium that’s one of the biggest in the country,” said Alissa DeJovine, of Aurora, Ohio, who was tailgating with the Moran and Woytek families.

She’s a 2007 Ohio State graduate who now lives near Cleveland, and said despite dating a Penn State fan, her loyalty will never change.

Saturday’s game was the 30th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. The teams first met in 1912, according to a report from Penn State.

The Shane Conlan College Football Hall of Fame recognition took place between the first and second quarters.

The Penn State Chapter of Uplifting Athletes also made a check presentation of more than $140,000 to the national Uplifting Athletes organization to be donated to the Kidney Cancer Association.

Most of the funds were raised at the football team’s Lift For Life event in July, said athletics spokesman Jeff Nelson.

Related stories from Centre Daily Times