Husker-PSU pregame notes

Photo
Two Penn State fans set up camp with just one of many Penn State Pride signs outside Beaver Stadium’s gates. As part of the message of pride, they handed out fliers advocating the prevention of child abuse, as well as hotline numbers for victim outreach.

Story by Kat Ladwig-Michaela Sova and photos by Ladwig-Sova-Chris Casper, NewsNetNebraska

Husker nation,
10:30 a.m.

One main road to get to the stadium is what we are dealing with at the moment. Four miles is how far we have traveled in 45 minutes. If I sped, just a little, I could have already been back at my parents’ house in Omaha from Lincoln, with a turkey sandwich in hand.

Fans line the street leading to Beaver Stadium.

We have decided to abandon the car and start walking. With an hour and a half to kickoff, staying stuck in traffic and looking for a parking spot might get us to the game at halftime.

I am now much more appreciative for the many roads that lead to Memorial Stadium.

Here is a picture of the beautiful traffic.

–Michaela Sova

Emotions
2:25 a.m.

After a day of interviewing Penn State fans, alumni, and Nebraska fans, our delirium has set back in. It’s 2:25 a.m. and Kat and I are going back and forth on iTunes and YouTube, trying to top each other’s “super old school songs.”

We’ve heard many thoughts on this upcoming game between PSU and the Huskers, but one thing is certain: Penn State fans want Nebraska to be their rival.

“Nebraska is our new rival. We can’t be rivals with Ohio State,” one Penn State student said.

–Michaela Sova

Husker fans have arrived.
Late Friday.

Husker fans have started arriving in downtown State College. More red is popping into the crowd of navy blue. One thing is certain: Penn State fans are welcoming the Nebraska crowd. College Avenue’s stores, banks, and restaurants have signs reading “Welcome Nebraska Fans” and “Welcome Nebraska Huskers” on their street front windows. We have passed a dozen or so Husker fans and have yet to hear any Penn State say or do anything disrespectful.

Coming out of Lions Pride, a local souvenir store, I spotted two red-clad Nebraska fans. Jennifer and Roger Luther from Orleans arrived in State College at 3 p.m. Friday. The Luthers said they couldn’t ask to be treated more nicely.

“We met one young student who for six blocks walked with us and filled us in and pointed things out.”

The Luthers will for sure be wearing red to the game.

“To hell with it. I got to die someday,” Roger Luther said.

Luther’s advice to Nebraska fans is to be normal and cheer for your team.

“They are going through hell right now. They are a family and it’s devastating to them. We don’t need to aggravate it more.”

–Michaela Sova

Hotel Encounter
Thursday, 7 p.m.

After the stadium visit, we checked into the Fairfield Marriot. I never imagined our second run-in with a loyal Joe Pa fan would be our hotel’s front desk supervisor. As we collected our room keys, Sova asked the clerk the best places to call for a cab so we didn’t have to park our rented Jeep Liberty downtown. She snapped back saying there really wasn’t anything going on downtown. Sova and Casper looked surprised, and left for the room. I wasn’t satisfied yet.

Two Penn State fans set up camp with just one of many Penn State Pride signs outside Beaver Stadium’s gates. As part of the message of pride, they handed out fliers advocating the prevention of child abuse, as well as hotline numbers for victim outreach.

After my roomies headed upstairs, I went back around to the front desk, and asked her what she meant by that. I explained that yes, we were from Nebraska, yes we are journalism students, but we have no intention of disrespecting anyone. She rolled her eyes and said that with all the media hype on television, she thinks everyone coming to down is expecting tons of rioting and craziness, and that “there is nothing to see.” She seemed a lot like a mother hen protecting her young.

–Kat Ladwig

Helpful Hints
Thursday, 8 p.m.

After settling in, Michaela and I went to Dick’s Sporting Goods in an attempt to find neutral-colored clothing. Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne advised the traveling Husker fans not to wear red. Sometimes, I’ll admit I think T.O. can be a little controlling of Husker nation. But this time, I agree. Football is not the most important event in Happy Valley right now.

We talked to Chris Wagner, a helpful Dick’s employee, who said that he thinks PSU students would be willing to answer any questions we have for them.

“I think the majority of students will talk to you, no matter what you’re wearing,”

Wagner said. “And I even know there are groups on Facebook by Penn State students saying we need to be respectful to Nebraska fans.”

Wagner mentioned it’s best we keep in mind that the students rioting on College Avenue on Wednesday night totaled about 2,000. There are about 50,000 currently enrolled at Penn State.

Wagner was helpful. He reminded me not to generalize an entire university based on the ones portrayed on television.

–Kat Ladwig