# OF VISITORS
Lions upset in Rec Hall by Tennessee in Round of 16
By Genny Shinn
Penn State fans were stunned into silence when the No. 2 Nittany Lions fell to the No. 17 Tennessee Volunteers Friday night. The Lions nearly perfect season ended in an upset loss in which they were defeated, three games to one.
It seemed to be an upset type of night as Missouri, ranked eighth, overpowered No. 6 Hawaii in the 4 p.m. game, which was played before the Lions and Vols took the court. Interestingly enough, it seemed the teams with the loudest bands came out victorious.
That’s right, the “Battle of the Bands” was a fascinating subplot as the players fought their hearts out to advance in the tournament. As soon as the faithful fans started a “We are” chant, the Tennessee band quickly cut them off and belted out nine songs before the Blue Band finally responded. Then, as the warm-up clock wound down, both bands featured their loudest pieces as if they were in an “I can play louder than you can” deadlock. Unfortunately, Tennessee did seem to have the upper hand, both on the court, and behind the instruments.
With Tennessee’s band providing some much needed student support to the Vols, it would have helped the Lions if there was some more student support on their side as well. Despite Rec Hall being more packed than last weekend, the fan base seemed to be comprised of more alumni than students. Perhaps this was partly due to the increased price for entry into the game. Who knows?
This isn’t to say that PSU fans decided to stay home Friday night. In fact, some male students painted their entire upper bodies as women volleyball uniforms featuring the numbers of Nicole Fawcett, Melissa Walbridge, Sam Tortorello, Kaleena Walters, and Kate Price.
Two students got clobbered with a ball that had been blocked into them. Instead of being upset, they just got up and gave each other high-fives. It was as if they had just experienced their most exciting event of the week.
One fan even hailed and bowed in the direction of Nicole Fawcett after she had completed an excellent kill from the back of the court.
Nonetheless, these fans couldn’t provide a Penn State victory. Heartbreaker is the best term to describe this particular loss. It was the second time in two years they lost in the Regional Semifinals. Last year, they fell to UCLA in Seattle. This year, they had home-court advantage. And it was the last time three seniors would ever play in front of their faithful fans at Rec Hall.
For Sam Tortorello, Kaleena Walters, and Kim Holm, the loss was especially bittersweet. However, they can at least take the good memories with them. Tortorello and Walters were both named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s All-Midwest Region Squad earlier in the week. Walters was also named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, as Tortorello picked up the Big Ten Player of the Year honor.
Coach Russ Rose will surely begin to focus on next season and how to get over the Regional Semifinal hump. With great returning starters like Nicole Fawcett, Melissa Walbridge, Kate Price and Kris Brown, the Lions should have another great season coming their way.
From the standpoint of one devoted fan, there is always next year.
Everything's coming up Orange
By Jason Parham
Some might call it a Cinderella story, others might call it pure luck, but I like think of it as long overdue and more than well deserved. The mighty Nittany Lions have fought their way to the top of the Big Ten conference, clinched their first Bowl Championship Series berth, and cemented their spot in the FedEx Orange Bowl. The No. 3 Nittany Lions will take on the No. 22 Florida State Seminoles on January 3rd in Miami..
The 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl will pit the two most winning coaches ever in collegiate football against each other: Bobby Bowden (359 all-time wins) vs. Joe Paterno (353 all-time wins). There are still several skeptics that believe there is much more for the Nittany Lions to prove. To them I say, tune in; I guarantee it to be a great game. Many students have waited their entire college carrier to see our team go to a bowl game, and now the wait is over. Next stop, Miami, Florida. Next year, national championship!
Photo: Carl Kosola
Women's volleyball advances to NCAA Sweet 16
By Genny Shinn
The term rambunctious was epitomized as two college students wearing “Russ’ Rows” T-shirts were by far the Penn State’s loudest fans Friday night. They were ready for the beginning of the NCAA women’s volleyball tournament.
And what a beginning! Coach Russ Rose had his squad ready as they went on to beat Binghamton in three games.
It was difficult for Binghamton to keep up with the highly physical Lions. This was Binghamton’s first NCAA Tournament after moving up from Division III in 2001. However, it was probably even tougher to stay in the game mentally with the criticism they were receiving from some Rec Hall fans.
Several times Binghamton was referred to as a “high school team” by two of Penn State’s biggest fans (mentioned above). These two are always at some sporting event, whether it is football, baseball, basketball, or volleyball. I’ve seen them.
When Binghamton moved sides on the court, the guys changed their seats as well to ensure Binghamton would not miss their presence. Binghamton player, Katie Brody took the brunt of their criticism as the two guys often started, “We want Brady” chants or, “It’s the Brady bunch.” Now, whether or not they really thought her name was Brady, I am not sure. I will admit, though, it would have been easy to mistake the “o” on the scoreboard for an “a.”
Despite these two fans making their presence noticed, Rec Hall was pretty empty. Yet the fans who did show up proved they were dedicated to the Lions. One father brought his twin sons to the game, who couldn’t have been older than a year and half. He would spend the intermissions between matches dancing with his two boys and doing little jigs.
One fan, Liza Vega, came to Rec Hall after watching her beloved Penn State women’s soccer team lose to Portland in the semifinals of the College Cup, which aired live on ESPN2. She was cheering the Lions on in their quest to beat Binghamton, but there were several instances where something like, “Man, I can’t believe they lost,” popped out of her mouth, referring to the soccer team. She could have stayed home, down and depressed, but she made the trip from across campus from her Nittany Apartment home in the freezing cold to watch the first round of the NCAA tournament.
That is commitment and dedication. And without this dedication, nobody would have came out to see the Lions hold a team to only eight points in a game, as they did to Binghamton in Game 2. And nobody would have been able to see the miraculous moment when senior Sam Tortorello went up for a block in the second match, and the ball idled on top of the net for what felt like ten seconds. This eventually resulted in Penn State gaining possession of the ball and a Nicole Fawcett kill from the very back of the court.
The Lions went on to beat Long Island on Saturday in three games as well. Coach Rose looks to prepare his team this week to take on Tennessee in the Regional Semifinals again at Rec Hall. Rose knows the importance of a good fan following. Therefore, nobody would want to miss this women’s team as they are on the hunt for an exclusive NCAA Championship.
As Tortorello said in the beginning of the season for the volleyball yearbook, “I’m proud of our accomplishments the past three years and to say we’ve won back-to-back Big Ten titles, but for the 2005 season, we have our eyes set on one goal…an NCAA National Championship.”
Best Student Section in the Country
A lot of you may have already seen this but for those of you that haven't enjoy. Best Student Section in the Country, some day. I happen to agree.
You need Quicktime player to view this one. It's a free download.
Photo: Carl Kosola
Big Ten trophy back in Happy Valley
Above: Quarterback Michael Robinson, holding the Big Ten Championship trophy and cornerback Alan Zemaitis, look around a packed Rec Hall on Saturday night. The team returned from Michigan State to a welcome back ceremony in State College.
Below: Linebacker Paul Posluszny speaks to the crowd with Zemaitis, who had three interceptions earlier in the day, by his side.
Photos: Carl Kosola
Penn State Football Videos
I told you so:
Our fans are better than yours:
Thanks to the fan that posted this address.
It features the Penn State football videos that we all know and love...
1. I Told You So video, which made its debut in Beaver Stadium just prior to kickoff against Ohio State.
Nittany Lion Napoleon Dynamite video
Works with Windows Media Player ... sorry haven't found a Mac version yet.
Still looking for Wisconsin I Told you So video..if anyone has an adress for it please post it
Lions on track for first BCS bid ever
By Courtney Austermehle
One of our 23 seniors, Tamba Hali, tied a Penn State single game record with four sacks on Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco. The Lions held the Badgers to minus 11 yards rushing, the fewest allowed by Penn State since the 1998 Purdue game. Right beside Hali was Tony Hunt (pictured above) with 151 yards and two touchdowns to rack up points on the score board. But let’s not forget about Robinson with 125 rushing yards, and 238 passing yards that led to three more touchdowns, two by Deon Butler, and one from Brandon Snow.
The Beaver Stadium crowd was at its finest with a whopping attendance of 109,865 fans.
“I’ve never felt the stadium shake so hard, I could feel the vibrations of the student chants, stomps on the bleachers, and claps,” Eric Johnson (junior-supply chain management) said. “I fall in love with this school more and more every game day.”
Spoken like a true Penn State fan along with many others; Penn State is truly number one for a college sports atmosphere.
After this incredible victory; hopefully this bye week drives the inspiration, encouragement, and determination for the Lions to take home the Big Ten Title while away at Michigan State.
Photo: Carl Kosola
Scenes from the Pep Rally
By Genny Shinn
There I was, right in the middle of the human tunnel leading into the main gym of Rec Hall. It was Friday night, approximately 8:40 p.m., and the football team was about the walk into the building for the pep rally.
So you are probably wondering right now why in the world I was one of the forty students out of 40,000 to be in the human tunnel. As a member of the Blue and White Society, I am just lucky I guess. But nonetheless, there was a great turnout in Rec Hall, with students and citizens of the State College area coming out to cheer on their Nittany Lions to beat the Wisconsin Badgers the next day.
So there we are, arms length apart, anxiously awaiting the team to arrive. Students are pacing around and talking in excited tones. Each member of the tunnel was given miniature plastic footballs to give to the players as they walked in. That’s when Kurt, a member of the Blue and White Society came running up, and shouted, “They are here! The buses just pulled up. Get ready!”
And there they were, walking through the tunnel like they owned the place. But hey, any team that goes 8-1 this season after only winning eight games the previous two seasons combined is allowed to do so in my book.
Frantic screams were coming from the many girls in the tunnel as players brushed pass them. Paul Posluszny and Michael Robinson were the two fan favorites, especially for the girls. So for all you guys out there, yes your girlfriend’s think that Posluszny and Robinson are hot, but don’t worry, this is a normal thing. They won’t leave you or anything. (Just in case, though, don’t quote me on that.)
Then JoePa walked through the tunnel. He was literally standing six inches away from me. He even handed me one of those footballs and said, “Hello.” I thought I would faint right then and there.
That is when it hit me. We, meaning the students and the surrounding community, idolize the football players like they are celebrities. The whole Penn State campus revolved around the team. I have run into countless friends that start a conversation with, “Guess who is in my Theatre class?” or “Guess who I bumped into today walking out of the Thomas building?” And they are talking about football players. I will even admit that I have done this on more than one occasion.
So yeah, Penn State students love their football. That is what makes Happy Valley such a special place. The packed house at Rec Hall for the pep rally Friday night proved this. Just like Joe Pa said, “This is a damn good football team.”
Photo: Carl Kosola
Lions move closer to Big Ten title
Joe Paterno stood by himself in the south end zone before kickoff against Wisconsin yesterday. To his right the defensive line warmed up. To his left, the offense. He looked around at the packed house that was Beaver Stadium and just stared for a few moments. I don't really know what he was thinking, but it definitely looked nostalgic to me.
A few moments later, assistant coach and Penn State alum Mike McQueary came over. The two were pointing at all directions of the stadium. Paterno pointed one direction, the former player turned coach pointed another then picked up a couple blades of grass from the Beaver Stadium turf and tossed them in the air.
Pregame warm-ups ended and the Nittany Lions made their way back to the locker room. They would return about 10 minutes later for kickoff of the most important game in the Big Ten so far this season. Penn State was 8-1, 5-1 in the conference. Wisconsin the same record. The winner of this match up would be in the drivers seat for the Big Ten title.
Penn State is now driving the Big Ten bus.
After an off week coming up the Lions will travel to East Lansing to face Michigan State, a game, which if they win, will give Penn State its first conference title since 1994 and first BCS bid ever.
The 35-14 win against the Badgers yesterday was highlighted by an impressive defensive performance from the Lions. (What a surprise, huh.) Though the score indicates a solid win, a few mistakes, turnovers mainly, kept the Badgers in contention until late in the game.
But Michael Robinson was able to be taken out of the game on the second play from scrimmage earning a loud ovation from the 109, 865 in attendance, the second largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history. Robinson entered the game with 23 touchdowns this year, 10 of those rushing. Yesterday, the senior co-captain gained 238 yards on 13 completions and got an additional 125 yards rushing. These numbers pushed him past the Penn State single season yards total of 2,660 set by Kerry Collins in 1994.
The Lions defense held Wisconsin to 11 yards rushing and sacked Badgers quarterback John Stocco on what seemed like to me, and I'm sure to him, a constant basis. Tamba Hali proved to be the most disruptive presence on defense with four sacks and nine tackles, followed by Paul Posluszny who made 12 tackles. The Lions had nine sacks in all.
With losses yesterday by previously undefeated UCLA and Virginia Tech, both of whom were above Penn State in the BCS rankings, and another loss by Florida State, Penn State will likely move up to No. 5 in the BCS, possibly higher depending on how the human polls turn out. The USA Today poll released just a little while ago has the Lions at No. 6 up from No. 11 last week.
And this one may sting a little bit. It stings me to write it. If Penn State didn't lose to Michigan earlier this year, the Lions would be alteast No. 3 (NUMBER THREE) in the country, and with a loss from Texas (unlikely) or USC (even more unlikely), Penn State would be in the running for a national championship.
To this relatively young fan, it still feels wierd to see Penn State so high atop national rankings, much less in the championship picture. To others, I'm sure it brings back memories of Penn State powerhouse teams of years past. Either way, it doesn't matter. We are back, for sure.
Photos: Carl Kosola
Also check out the Beaver Stadium videos. These links work.
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