Penn State College is known as Happy Valley for a reason. With maybe the most loyal and dedicated fans in college football, there is no doubt that after a big win there will be quite a celebration.
After last years huge win over Ohio State, ecstatic PSU fans crowded the streets of Beaver Canyon to express the excitement and joy of the huge win over the Buckeyes. After all, we hadn’t defeated them in “The Horseshoe” since 1978. Let’s not also forget that famous moment on TV when Terrelle Pryor was shown on the sidelines sobbing over his interception, which cost him the game. It was definitely sweet revenge on Penn State’s part.
The celebration went from harmless to out-of-control, and eventually it became a riot among the crowd. The rivalry between Penn State and Ohio State has always been competitive, and the loss that the Nittany Lions suffered the year before against the buckeyes in Beaver Stadium left many PSU fans aching for payback on the home turf of Ohio State. Well, we got it, and the greatest feeling was being part of the celebrations that took place in downtown State College.
So the main question is—with this weekend’s big match up against Iowa, the team who unexpectedly ended the Nittany Lions undefeated streak, cause a riot among the fans if the Nittany Lions were to achieve a win? Every PSU fan and player can easily say that they are more than ready for this game against the Hawkeyes, especially it being a night game and within an atmosphere known as the “White House.”
Sergeant Brian Bittner of the University Police Department believes there could be a possible riot outbreak if Penn State were to pull off a win. He believes there is a bigger risk due to ESPN coverage and other big television programs. He also mentioned that because fans will be tailgating all day long it would cause the actions of many to be very alcohol-fueled, which could potentially lead to some situations.
“We spent 24-48 hours of planning into the game alone already,” explains Sgt. Bittner.
Karsten Reis, a student who experienced the riots last year, gives his opinion on what would happen if Penn State were to win on Saturday.
“I think that there’s not really a big chance of rioting even though we did lose to Iowa last year, which ruined our perfect season," he said. "Hopefully the game won’t be that close so there won’t be a last second play for the win which I think is what causes a lot of riots or if there is a big upset. In this case, we are looking for revenge but traditionally Iowa hasn’t been a big rival and we definitely aren’t underdogs at all.”
The Hawkeyes are 7-2 against the Nittany Lions in their last nine games and have a 3-1 record in Beaver Stadium. They also have not lost a game since beating PSU last year. This should be all the motivation that the Penn State team needs.
Riot or no riot after the game, many fans are just hoping to have a reason to celebrate. After last year's outbreak and celebrations downtown after 2005’s win over Ohio State, police will be prepared for any out of control activity among fans.
Regardless, State College is going to be crowded with 110,000 very excited fans that are ready to see their football team play a great game.
We are Penn State, a class act. We're on the national stage for first time this year so let's all remember to keep our enthusiasm in check, win or lose.
Lets go State!