Penn State

Penn State fans celebrate win over Ohio State

Penn State football coach James Franklin celebrates with the Penn State crowd after the 24-21 win over Ohio State on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.
Penn State football coach James Franklin celebrates with the Penn State crowd after the 24-21 win over Ohio State on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

It was bedlam at Beaver Stadium on Saturday night as Penn State beat No. 2 Ohio State.

Fans, including those in the student section, rushed the field, sang fight songs, and fist bumped, high-fived and hugged the players.

For Nittany Lion fans it’s “Christmas come early,” according to one person.

“It’s so ironic because we were just about to leave, and then we blocked the kick and the whole game turned around,” Riley Newton, a Penn State undergrad, said. “It’s like Christmas come early — couldn’t have a better gift this year.”

Newton was referring to the play when Grant Haley blocked Ohio State’s field goal and returned it for a touchdown, allowing the Nittany Lions to take the lead.

“Staying through the cold and the rain was just completely worth it and just unreal,” Newton said. “Really, unreal. I don’t know what else to say. ... I guess it’s just a learning lesson not to leave in the middle of the game.”

This was the first game the Penn State sophomore attended this season. He said he was unable to make prior games because of being out of town and picking up an internship that clashed with home games.

And plans the remainder of the night were to “go celebrate,” he said.

That was the theme among fans and those parked at lots around the stadium as many fans went back to their vehicles to what some called “post-tailgating.”

Sue Rodgers and her family drove up from Maryland to catch the game. The were parked in the purple lot near Medlar Field.

She’s among four generations of Penn State grads. They all sat around Rodgers’ Honda Pilot, popped open the trunk and plugged in a flat-screen television to catch the highlights.

“I think we just want to see it again. I don’t think this feeling’s wearing off,” Rodgers said. “We’re just sitting here until traffic dies down, I guess, but I don’t think it’s a game we’re going to forget.”

Other fans paraded around Beaver Stadium.

Jeremy Carafos said he did a “victory lap” around the outside of the stadium, while waving a blue and white Penn State flag.

“I’m honestly speechless,” he said. “It’s probably the coolest thing to happen around here.”

Just after midnight, people around town said they could still hear cheering coming from the stadium about a mile away.

“I think this is the good kind of rowdiness,” State College resident Michelle Park said.

Park wasn’t at the game but watched it with friends at a bar downtown.

“I only wish I could’ve been there this time,” she said.

Park said she attended previous game she called “the biggest of the season,” when Penn State went into overtime with Ohio State in 2014, and beat Michigan the year before after four overtimes.

“It’s just a reason to make Penn State (fans) really proud,” she said.

But it’s also one Ohio State fans would rather forget.

Bruce Cianfrani drove from Columbus, Ohio, for the game.

He’s a Buckeyes fan who travels with the team when they’re playing in a city no farther than 10 hours away.

“It happens, but we got a team full of humble guys who’ll hopefully learn and come back stronger next game,” Cianfrani said.

This is the first time since 2011 the Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes.