Penn State football from 1881 to 1913
The above video is from the early 1930s. By that time, college football had been played for more than half a century. This is fairly impressive considering that Rutgers was involved in the birth of the sport.
Football, while fundamentally the same, was a different animal in the beginning. The scoring rules changed quite a lot back and forth; in the first decade of the 1900s, a touchdown was worth (I believe) five or six points with an extra point as a possibility. A field goal was worth four points. Before Teddy Roosevelt forced changes to prevent senseless deaths, the sport was dominated by the wedge formation, the purpose of which was to run forward and stomp your opponents to death. Dead opponents are easier to score against (1).
In the writing of this series, I have gone to the Google news archives and to Lou Prato's Penn State football encyclopedia. My gosh have I gone to Lou Prato.
It is at this point that I must bow down before Lou Prato. All bow before Lou Prato. Bow! Thank you, Lou Prato. You are wonderful. Your book is incredible. You are like a towering hero of ancient Greece. I would compare you to Leonidas, only you're better. Lou Prato, you rock my world. Why are you even still reading this, BSD? My work cannot compare to Lou Prato's.
Lou Prato. But I digress.
Penn State football was first born in 1887. Or was it 1881? As a matter of fact, the 1887 team was the first to be officially sanctioned and supported by the college, but the members of the1881 team never gave up their claim. As would be seen in 2006 at Minnesota with BranDon Snow and Levi Brown, infighting is a Penn State tradition too!
If one thing unites them it is their disdain for Bucknell. Both teams opened with - and defeated - Bucknell. Bucknell is a bunch of chickenfart. This will be shown in the course of this post.
The Founding Father of 1887 Penn State football was a freshman from Philadelphia named George "Lucy" Lins. Lucy had played football in high school back home, and brought his football with him to Penn State. This was a good idea; Penn State had only a few hundred students at the time and was located in Centre County, PA, where there was really nothing to do but farm and drink (some things never change!). Basically, Lucy Lins is the founder of Penn State football simply because he was the only man on campus who owned a football.
As he and the boys played on the lawn of the old Old Main, word got around. Soon a challenge was issued from Bucknell - Penn State accepted! Lucy then sought out an upperclassman, Clarence G. Cleaver, who turned out to be State's first ever coach type thing. However, as Lou Prato points out, Clarence G. Cleaver was more of a figurehead - an advisor - than anything (2).
So, with their football, their "coach", ski-cap tassels (not that there's anything wrong with that), and the "bright and attractive" pink and black jerseys they acquired from a local tailor, State headed down to Lewisburg. On November 12th, 1887, they defeated the Orange and Blue by a score of 54-0. The season was not yet finished though! One week later, as a part of Penn State's first home-and-home series, Bucknell played the, um, Pink and Black on the lawn of Old Main. Penn State - then, btw, often referred to as "State College" by reporters - won this game too, 24-0. Thankfully, this, our glorious first undefeated season, ended with even better news: the horrible pink and black jerseys eventually faded to dark blue and white. I have yet to find photographic evidence of their existence. For this I am grateful.
In 1888, the snobs in Lewisburg, stewing over losing to a bunch of hicks twice in two weeks one year before, got their rematch. Penn State was to travel to Bucknell, with the promise of $20 in expenses. I'm just going to quote Prato verbatim here:
An argument erupted early in the game when Bucknell players complained about Penn State's snapback. They said it was against the rules. The referee was Penn State's advisory coach, George Cleaver. He said the snapback was legal, but didn't have a rulebook with him. To stop the quarrel and get the game going again, Cleaver said he would rule in Bucknell's favor for the time being but would get an official ruling after the game from the proper authority. But the Bucknell players refused to accept that. So, the Penn State team walked off the field and left without asking for its $20 in expenses.
"Bison" is the French word for "prick."
The game is not officially counted as a forfeit in the records. In fact, it's not counted as anything! The next three games were though; a 6-6 tie with Dickinson at Penn State, a 16-0 loss to Dickinson in Carlisle, and, finally, a 30-0 crushing at the hands of one of college football's middleweight powers, Lehigh. Our first losing season! 0-2-1! Fire Lucy Lins! Or whoever is actually running this mess!
1889 saw State go 2-2, with a 20-6 win over Swarthmore to start the season and - hooray! - a 12-0 win over those whining sadsacks Bucknell to close the season. In between these two bookends, however, was a 26-0 shutout at the hands of middleweight Lafayette. Worse by far was the most horrible beating in the history of Penn State football: a 106-0 destruction by old Lehigh. As one PS
UC player put it (quoted in Prato), "We couldn't get at the son-of-a-bitch with the ball!" Lehigh, a more veteran and talented team anyway, had created the wedge formation. The wedge was Patton, and Penn State was the Germans. When you stick your hand into the pile of goo that used to be your center, you'll know what to do.
With the departure of Lucy Lins and some of his comrades, 1890 was the first rebuilding year in Penn State football. Unlike contemporary elite(!) powers such as Harvard, Carlisle Indian School, and, above all others, Virginia Tech, the
Pink and Black Blue and White faithful had no choice but to accept this year-long fate. To help get over the sting of that absurd 106-0 pounding a year before, State decided to show the world that they were not just a bunch of dumb plowboys (3)! They decided to schedule road games with Franklin & Marshall and with Pennsylvania - and they scheduled these powerhouses two days apart in October! Needless to say, Penn State lost both games with relative ease. The Whammer took the Natural's pitch and sent it flying off into the forest and fields beyond!
State's other three games were wins. Well, actually, two of them were, and one should have been. The should-have-been was the opener against Bucknell. Once again, to show that I am not just biased against Bucknell for some strange reason, let's go to Prato:
After ending the '89 season with a conciliatory game with Bucknell, State had scheduled its opening game of 1890 at Lewisburg in a continued effort to improve relations with its nearest rival and erase the bitterness of the contentious '88 contest [when Bucknell bitched out - Rambler]. But when the State team took the field in Lewisburg that October day, the Bucknell players complained that three of the visiting players were ineligible. There would be no game if they played, Bucknell warned. [team captain Harvey] McLean and [Charlie] Hildebrand protested but the Bucknell players were insistent. So, McLean and his team walked off the field, went to the train station and returned to State College, cursing the Bucknell players and vowing to get even some day.
Man, Bucknell sucks!
Thankfully, Altoona Athletic Association and the Bellefonte Academy were not so yeller. This must be held to their great credit, as the Triple A was totally outclassed and the Bellefonte Academy was quite literally a high school team. And you think we schedule cupcakes now? They scheduled a damn high school team! Triple A was dominated by State to the tune of 68-0. Perhaps it was because of the home field advantage (Yes, Penn State played at a high school team!), but the Bellefonte Academy boys (and I do mean boys) held State to 23-0 - respectable considering that THEY'RE A HIGH SCHOOL TEAM. Tim Curley would be proud.
Pictured: Penn State's next season opener: Aliquippa HS.
And, so, the first team of the 1890s got the crap kicked out of them by one very good team and one ok team, beat a high school team and an athletic association that I assume consisted of injured railroad workers, and couldn't play Bucknell because Bucknell was less a football team and more a certain part of the anatomy. Thus, a 2-2 record!
The 1891 squad is notable because it was the first Penn State team to be a part of a conference! This was the Pennsylvania Intercollegiate Football Association, which consisted of Penn State, Bucknell, Dickinson, Franklin & Marshall, Haverford and Swarthmore. "They had talked about including Lafayette and Lehigh but decided those schools were so much better they would dominate the league." (4) The 1891 squad is also notable because it was the first Penn State team to win a championship!
They needed some fortune to do it. In early November, a 4-1 State club rolled into Lewisburg. The PIFA championship was on the line. Bucknell too had a record of 4-1. Both teams had beaten Lafayette and both teams had lost reasonably close games to Lehigh. Penn State's young star, Charlie Atherton, the son of college president George Atherton, led the team (5). Unfortunate, then, that he was out with an injury! Despite this, and despite fumbles and missed opportunities, PSC led 6-0 at the half. But another PSC fumble was recovered by the crybaby Bison, and they tied the score with a four point TD and two extra points. Sickeningly, State fumbled yet again late in the game! Bucknell recovered once again. And once again, they scored a touchdown. 12-6, jerkwads. Game.
How could we have blown it? We had the conference title and we blew it! Thankfully, though, as previously mentioned, Bucknell sucks!
Bucknell choked! They lost to those titans of Lancaster, Franklin & Marshall, and tied Dickinson. Done with a conference record of 3-1-1! We can still win it all if we win our last two!
Penn State had two games left - with Dickinson and doormat Haverford. Dickinson, however, was a hard team to find that year for the boys. The original plan was to play in Altoona. This fell through when - seriously - the teams discovered that the planned field of play had been cut up by construction. These were the times in which our boys lived. Still, State's manager scrambled and found a field, but Dickinson telegraphed that it was too late. Jtothep, your alma mater's chicken too! Nonetheless, we claimed a 2-0 forfeit - to which Dickinson vehemently protested in vain - and beat the Devil out of Haverford. Thus, with a 4-1 record, Penn State won its first championship. Glory glory hallelujah! Lucy Lins would have smiled down from Heaven, only he wasn't dead yet!
1892 saw George Hoskins, our first official head coach (who also played end), and Penn State go 5-1, losing only to Penn. They did not win the conference again because the conference somehow folded up tent before the year even began. How? I don't know! Anyway, Penn State is thus the greatest program in the history of the PIFA. Suck it, Bucknell! Suck it long and hard!
1893 featured three prominent events: first, the debut of Beaver Field. This made home games an even more exciting ventures, though big opponents were still unlikely to play in the wilderness because teams from veritable metropolises like, um, Carlisle and Lewisburg just couldn't bring themselves out of their citadels. Terrelle Pryor was right - too country indeed! Second, Pitt made its first appearance on the Penn State radar. The Panthers lost 32-0, but the game and its atmosphere was very friendly. In fact, the Pitt boys spent the weekend at PSC's fraternities! One can only imagine the whoring and drinking and debauchery into one could engage oneself in the central Pennsylvania wilderness of the 1890s. Bucknell was our true enemy; man, those guys from Pitt are a-ok. Third, Penn State began its fine old tradition of owning the Southern schools by defeating Virginia in a brawler of game that broke into nasty fistfights before State left the field to be rewarded with a 6-0 forfeit win. As to be expected, Penn State's only loss came courtesy of Penn, a bruiser of a program.
In 1894, State had a great year: 6-0-1. The tie came against valiant Navy, 6-6. They were prevented from creaming those Lewisburg jerkoffs only by Oklahoma State wrestling-like stalling tactics, and, in a close win at Oberlin, Charlie Atherton kicked the first held field goal in the history of college football! Suck it, Ohio!
1895 was a 2-2-3 season and so I am just going to skip straight to 1896, which is important because it was the first year in which PITT ACTED IN A MOST FOUL MANNER!
George Hoskins left Penn State before the season! And he left us for effing Pitt!
And so, after a tune up win against Gettysburg, October 3rd, 1896 saw Penn State defeat Pitt by a score of 10-4 that belies how much hatred flowed on the field. As he often did at Penn State, Hoskins also played during the game. He truly fought through the whole game. I mean, he actually fought. Kidney shots. Ear shots. Kicks. Probably a few eye gouges here and there. Hoskins was, like, a massive dick, you guys, and he seriously pissed off Penn State. But he still lost. SO SUCK ON THAT, PITT.
One week after Pitt, State defeated Dickinson 8-0 and prepared for a showdown with the powerhouse Princeton tigers, whose only blemish was a tie with Lafayette. Penn State lost 39-0. Then they lost 10-0 to Bucknell in Williamsport (the game was played there because Bucknell, being Bucknell, refused to play at our house). Then they lost 27-0 to Penn. Then they lost 48-5 to Carlisle in Harrisburg. Four straight losses. FIRE PATERNO!
Once again opening up by hammering Gettysburg in 1897, PSC was then defeated again and again by Lafayette, then Princeton, then Penn, then Navy, then finally Cornell. All were good teams, and all held Penn State scoreless. The worst indignity by far was at Ithaca, where the school that spawned Super Douche Kyle Dake ran the embarrassing hidden ball trick for the final touchdown in a game that was already 39-0. Thankfully, State did at least beat those pussies from Lewisburg, but then, even that series was beginning to wane in the face of losing and with Pitt's ascension as our new Most Loathed Nemesis. The blue and white finished the year by beating Bloomsburg Normal (whatever the heck that is) and losing to Dickinson, who were, yes, taunted by PSC fans as "you Dicks."
The next few years consisted of mediocre records and losses to the powerhouses like Penn and Princeton. The bright spots came against Army in 1899, Pitt in 1900, 1901, 1902, 1903, and 1905. PSC was also heartened by close defeats to traditional powers; 11-0 to Carlisle in '04, 6-0 to Penn in '03, and 11-0 to Yale in '02. This, more than anything else, is worth mentioning for its awesomeness: after an 1899 defeat to Penn, 47-0, the Philadelphia Record described the men of "State College" as, and I quote....
Lusty and vigorous embryonic agriculturists
This is the greatest thing I have ever read.
It was not until 1906, though, that Penn State first achieved what you might call glory. Or, if we were lame birds like ND, a return to glory. In large measure, '06 was awesome because of Penn State's first legend; the center chosen by Walter Camp as our first all-American, the man, the myth, the legend, Youngstown's steelmaking own, W.T. "Mother" Dunn!
Dunn had earned his nickname when, as a 22 year old freshman, he was jibed by the upperclassmen as a mother hen to the freshmen who chose him as class president. He spent his first year at State playing football, studying, and leading his classmates around picking fights with the sophomores. Considering that he was a mountain of a man who got
fucking jacked muscular working in the Youngstown mills, this isn't too much of a surprise. Heck, if you were a giant 22 year old freshman, wouldn't you want to go around beating up sophomores and juniors?
Anyway, Mother Dunn was one heck of a football player. The story goes that he, like Jim Thorpe, had never played the game before college. He had heard about those flying tackles though, and upon randomly showing up for practice one day freshman year, he tried out by leaping into the air and punishing the ball carrier. Any good football man would be smitten, as we all were by Posluszny vs. Gary Russell. Dunn was made the center and, in good time, the captain.
Dunn's '06 fighting fellows started off by defeating Lebanon Valley (whatever that is) and Allegheny (whatever that is). Next up, though, was a greater challenge: Frank Mount Pleasant and the legendary Carlisle Indians, whom State had never beaten. The decisive play came in the first half. Mount Pleasant, Carlisle's punter, was blocked by Dunn. State recovered and back Bull McCleary (Why can't my nickname be as badass as "Bull"?) kicked a field goal. Penn State held on to that 4-0 lead until the final gun. Celebrations ensued in State College. Here was a defining victory for the young program against one of the nation's best.
Next up is something with which we are all too familiar: the let down game! It came against an absolute pushover too: Gettysburg. 0-0 tie. Gettysburg sucked. WTF? The WTF moment got even worse one week later in New Haven against Yale, with the eminent Walter Camp in attendance. State played very tough, and Camp was deeply impressed by Dunn's play, but none of that assuaged Penn State. Down 6-0, Mother Dunn blocked a Yale punt. Guard Cy Cyphers picked it up and then ran the wrong way! Largely as a result of this play, Yale ended up with a 10-0 victory. Penn State played a national power close and lost because of avoidable mistakes and missed opportunities. AIN'T NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE.
Howeva! This was Penn State's last defeat of the year. They beat a solid Naval Academy team 5-0 and the high schoolers from Bellefonte 12-0. Against old rival Dickinson, PSC won a great one, 6-0. Lastly, West Virginia and the evil ones from Pitt both went down to close the season. 8-1-1! Carlisle defeated! Yale only escaping via flukery! Dickinson vanquished! Pitt sucks! Our first All-American! What a year.
The next two years weren't so great. Jim Thorpe kicked the Indians past us 18-5 in '07, Pitt won one out of two games, Penn won both games, and, most horrifyingly, Bellefonte freaking Academy won 6-5 in 1908. While an upset win against Cornell in 1907 was nice, it is here important to note that we lost to a HIGH SCHOOL TEAM, YOU GUYS.
Part of the reason for Penn State's struggle was that their head coach wasn't always their head coach. Tom Fennell was a football genius, but he refused to give up his law practice in Ithaca, New York. Imagine that! "Oh, yeah, big game this week, you guys, good luck, see you later!" It's a worse decision than making WorldBFat coach. Can't trust lawyers!
Eventually, State decided that this wasn't exactly the most ideal of arrangements (like, duh), and brought in William Marshall "Big Bill" Hollenback, who, ala Paterno, came with his brother Jack as an assistant. Hollenback grew up in nearby Philipsburg and was well known to the Lions for being devastatingly effective against them when he played for Penn. He was smart, tough, disciplined, and the best coach Penn State had before Rip Engle. He was outstanding, and despite the fact that he was younger than some of the men on his team, his maturity was sky high. Big Bill was the right man to take this budding new program to the top.
(As an aside, Hollenback was not officially the head coach for his first few years. That title belonged to a former player with the fantastic name of Irish McIlveen. You see, Penn State was not entirely comfortable with making their official head coach someone with no connections to the college. So they gave McIlveen the title and Hollenback the job, basically. Makes sense. Definitely.)
Hollenback was aided by the fact that Pop Golden, who had kinda sorta been coach when Fennell wasn't (are you confused yet?), had recruited some great players (6). Back Shorty Miller. End Dex Very. Back Pete Mauthe. When men were manly men who did manly things with other manly men, these men would be among the manliest. They were fast, strong, brave, and smart. The talent was starting to pool in State College.
1909 and 1910 saw improvement, and a kickass 3-3 tie against Penn, which meant a helluva lot to the program. Most impressive was that the 1910 team managed to much of anything! In a bizarre move that I still don't really understand after reading, Big Bill had made an agreement with Penn State and Missouri that he would coach the U of M for one year and then immediately return to Penn State. Needless to say, when Jack turned out to be a pretty sloppy and inept coach, the players, administrators, and fans were worried. But Big Bill, like the smiling manly son-of-a-gun that he was, just kind of smiled and said, "I promised you I'd be back, didn't I, baby?" Like the good central Pennsylvanian that he was, his word counted. Upon his return, he came back to the most beautiful woman in the world: Penn State football. She was young, and ready for the future. He married her, and made sweet, kicking love with her for hours and hours in her bed. His name is Big Bill, isn't it? Like some hot Roman goddess, his wife gave birth to victory, who then crossed college football's Rubicon and beat Ohio State.
The 1911 Nittany Lions were the first Samson-like child of the sweet night of passion between Big Bill and his lady (7). Like a classic Paterno team, Their first four games were all shutouts. And one of them was against mighty Cornell. High upon Cayuga's waters, there's an awful smell. Some say it's Cayuga's waters, others say Cornell! One would imagine that our Lion footballers were excited. Well, the students were, shall we say, a bit more excited!
Take it away, Mr. Prato!:
The students first celebrated around the traditional bonfire but when additional wood was needed to keep the bonfire going, they literally tore up the town, breaking up board walks, fences and anything else they could find throughout the village. Fights between students and townspeople all over the area. The State College Area Times of Oct. 20, described one incident where "in a melee between residents of the west end, who were defending their property, and the mob, several of the latter [the students] received the contents of a shotgun while another had his face flattened by a blow from a shovel."
State Patty's Day, 1911!
Despite the fact that the so-called "celebrations" were "greater" for Cornell, Penn State's victory against Penn at Franklin Field should be marked as one of the most important in our history. The game opened with a gorgeous kickoff return by Hall of Famer Shorty Miller, courtesy of a brilliant block by fellow Hall of Famer Dex Very. Touchdown, State! Penn couldn't believe it. Their decision to kickoff rather than receive had, you know, not gone all that well! And they probably still couldn't believe it when the Lions kept up the pressure and played fundamentally lovely ball until they could leave the City of Brotherly
Mafioisi Love with a 22-6 victory. This, folks, was the biggest victory Penn State had ever won! When they returned to State College, the students did the traditional wagon pull: unhitch the horses so hundreds of them could drag the players through town. Talk about shameless football culture, huh?
State vanquished St. Bonaventure and Colgate before a scoreless tie with Navy. Navy wasn't bothered much by this event, but Hollenback, giant of a man that he was, was pretty pissed. He and his men took out their pissy state with a 3-0 score and a great defensive performance against Pitt in the Thanksgiving game that was quickly becoming a traditional part of football for both Penn State and Pitt. Only their tradition was suckier because they're Pitt!
Well, as great as that past year was, Big Bill's glorious years weren't complete yet. The 1912 team would be nothing short of legendary.
Let's just cut right to the most important part, ok? Brutus, we are here for you!
State had been absolutely frickin' dominant so far in 1912. They had beaten the rip out of very fine teams like Washington & Jefferson, Cornell, and Penn. They had destroyed Carnegie Tech, Gettysburg, and the always-tough Villanova. This was a fine Eastern team with none of the usual Eastern snobbery.
Ohio State, for their part, was, like Penn State, looking to make the big time. To them, that meant joining the Big Ten Conference. To secure this place, they thought it necessary to beat one of those eastern teams. After all, the Ohio Conference was garbage. With this in mind, Brutus invited Penn State to Columbus. PSC's President, an Ohio State grad, accepted. The game was on!
Upon their arrival, the Buckeye faithful ludicrously predicted an easy win of two to three touchdowns for Ohio State. Who the hell are these idiots, thought the Lions. We beat Penn! We beat Cornell! Who did you beat this year? Hollenback motivated them further by reminding them of all the mockery ("lusty and vigorous embryonic agriculturists") his team had received for years and years. Ohio State sucks and we should kick the shit out of them! Ok, agreed the boys!
Once on the field, the crowd of 3000 mocked the Lions for their seemingly small nature. Sure, Shorty may have been too fast for powerful Penn, but we're Ohio State! rah Rah rah rah Rah! But after Penn State began the game by physically dominating the beefy but weak Buckeyes, Ohio State's head coach perpetuated a fine old Ohio State tradition. One can only imagine the whining. "Look, those guys aren't our rivals and we're totally better, but that's unnecessary roughness! wahhhhh!" The officials looked back at him and said, "Have you watched football lately? This is manly sport for manly men. What's manlier than manly men punching each other and elbowing each other? And, by the way, one of your guys tried to punch Dex Very while he wasn't looking." To which the coach replied by impotently singing Nickelback because that's what Buckeyes do.
Shortly before the half, a Buckeye stomped Penn State's Red Bebout's face, severely lacerating him. Bebout, being a manly man, stayed in the game after he was bandaged. And his teammates, being manly men, went to their halftime tree with an easy lead. They went to their halftime tree, you see, because it was apparently about a fifteen mile walk to the dressing room or something. According to reports, the Ohioans threatened the Lions as they rested, a sign of things to come.
Ohio State didn't do any better in the second half. Dex Very recovered a fumble and ran for a touchdown. Shorty went 40 yards for his third. Early in the 4th, another one of the great moments in Penn State history transpired when the ball got to the Ohio State one yard line. There, a star brutus lineman yelled at Shorty and demanded the ball be run towards him - I'll show you farmers! Miller looked right back and said, "All right, cocky, here she comes." At the snap, he handed the ball to Mauthe. The Buckeye got off the block (or was let off the block intentionally, who knows?) and stepped up to meet Mauthe. The result? Pete broke the tackle with ease. Touchdown. I believe it looked like this.
With nine minutes left Dex Very - who in pictures looks kind of like he got into a barroom fight with Butch Cassidy and won - hit a guy so hard on the kickoff that supposedly the Ohioan flew at least ten feet backwards. I leave it to your imagination to figure that out. Anyway, Ohio State decided enough was enough. They left. They just literally quit. Retreated. Skedaddled. Fly, you fool Buckeyes, fly!
Team captain Mauthe started the team towards the dressing room, but the ref informed him that he and the boys had to stay on the field for five minutes to claim the forfeit. Being that this was Columbus, and there were Buckeye fans everywhere, this was like telling an Army Ranger chalk to stay for an extra five minutes in Mogadishu.
Predictably, chaos almost broke down into an all out riot. One fan set fire to blue and white bunting from the goal post. One fan ran towards the team, where he was decked with a right fist by Dick Harlow, an experience all Penn State fans dream about having lived. Thankfully, the team managed to
escape stage a fighting withdrawal to the hotel, where I imagine they constructed barricades and manned the windows with rifles.
The next day, as the Lions waited at the train station, Ohio State officials TheHumbleBuckeye and Former_DC_Buck arrived to apologize for the conduct of their fans (8). Penn State's people accepted the apology. With the amenities and wondrous atmosphere of Columbus displayed so amazingly, the coaches, officials, and players said, to a man, "F*** this place." They then closed the season with a 38-0 beating of Pitt at Forbes Field.
And thus, after 25 years, Penn State had achieved its first perfect season. They had given up only six points all year (all of which were scored by Cornell in a 29-6 State win)! They, the bunch of lowly farmers who at one time couldn't even get modern day nothings like Bucknell and Dickinson to play at State College, had come a long way in such a short time. Frankly, as I look around the mountains, orchards, and farms of my own Adams County, it is wonderfully gorgeous to envision a team from such hills rising from obscurity and mockery to attaining the heights. For such a school to suddenly be playing with and beating teams like Penn, to go with dominating the lesser teams of the East, and humiliating a powerful-ish Midwestern team on its homefield, was simply a remarkable feat. Penn State football was now a force. The sky was the limit. Certainly the next 100 years would be a great ride.
And, now, in honor of Independence Day, I give you this. Bellefonte Academy 34, Michigan 32.
1 - See Penn State at Syracuse, 2008
2- "OMG JUST LIKE PATERNO" - Penn State fans before the scandal
3 - Joe Don Baker is Lehigh, Robert Redford is Penn State.
4 - Is this why JoePa's "eastern sports conference" thing died? Because cowardice is a national disease(!)?
5 - Nepotism - a Penn State tradition! Incidentally, is it the case that Atherton began to support the team more once Charlie joined up? RAMBLER'S JUST SAYING.
6 - Pop was one of the first to look at players in high school and then specifically recruit them. Alternatively, Pop was the first guy to creepily care.
7 - By the way, Penn State was not called the "Lions" until 1907. And, yes, there is something ... passionate about the 1911-12 Lions. There is nothing wrong with that.
8 - Mostly true.