Here’s a few videos and shots from the Rose Bowl to look over on this work day. Caution: you may want to turn down your audio or put on headphones before viewing the video of the crowd just before the game-winning field goal. Otherwise your co-workers will be alerted to the fact that you are killing time and not working. It’s loud.
Scenes From The Final Seconds
The Penn State offense had the ball and all it had to do was get into field goal range. From there, reliable junior place-kicker Tyler Davis would have his chance at the game-winning field goal. Davis warmed up for a potential attempt.
Instead the Trojans intercepted a pass and had a shot of their own for a chance at the win. Matt Boermeester missed two field goals from a similar distance earlier in the game, so it wasn’t a stretch that he may misfire on this kick.
After a time-out to ice the kicker, the crowd mustered up all the enthusiasm that it could to help aid its team. The noise was impressive considering the Penn State fans covered only half of the stadium. It is a testament to the resilience of the Nittany Lion fans and team, who held strong until the final whistle.
There’s no doubt that a kick in this situation is more difficult with noise and chaos. The Penn State fans gave everything that they had, providing enough distraction to make the kick the highest-level of difficulty. It was all that the supporters had left to give to the team. A civil but primal scream emerged from the Penn State side of the field. Regardless of ones affiliation, the magnitude of the moment was clear.
There were many people who could barely stand to watch. Ryan Monk, a red-shirt freshman defensive lineman from Dallas, Texas, who figures to play a major role in the Nittany Lions’ front line in coming years, could not stand to watch as the kick was made. He was not alone, as other players and coaches were intent in averting their eyes as well, in a more subtle way.
You can imagine the pendulum swing of emotions felt by the Penn State crowd and team as the kick sailed through the uprights, silencing their voices and crushing their spirits momentarily. It was a tough blow to absorb but we Penn Staters are strong enough to come back from it.
In an act of outstanding sportsmanship, USC senior linebacker Michael Hutchings was the first person to try to console the visibly-shaken Penn State star running back Saquon Barkely just moments after the kick.
Dude, Stop Moving So We Can Take This Picture, Get Changed, And Get To The In-N-Out Truck
Anyone who saw the official team photo from the Rose Bowl took in an image of a composed, disciplined group. That still-frame was not indicative of the actual situation. It took several attempts, over the course of about five minutes, for the team to stand still, with all 200-plus eyes open for the camera. It sounds simple but with this many young men, it can be like herding cats.
The call was to get ready and hold still for three seconds so the picture could be taken. After the tenth or so false-start, forcing the group to compose itself once again for an attempt, senior Jordan Smith showed his leadership skills. His cries for steadiness from his companions were evident in his lion’s roar.
After the picture was finally taken, Smith was the first to get the heck out of there, change, and back to the food truck that was taunting the players the entire time they sat there for the cameras. Notice gigantic number 76 midway through the video. That’s red-shirt freshman offensive tackle Sterling Jenkins. He’s 6’8” and 328 pounds. With what the coaching staff was able to do with Chasz Wright this season, a 6’7” and 343 pound sophomore, in a pinch to patch the ailing line, imagine what Jenkins may be able to become in the next couple of years. Jenkins towers over his peers, including Mike Gesicki.
The smell from the nearby In-N-Out truck was wafting in the air like a carrot on the end of a stick. There were many players appealing to the coaching staff to eat before the picture. “In-N-Out first, though,” some were begging.
In retrospect, the staff could have used the situation as leverage for further gains from the team, as many players were willing to cut a deal, any deal, that would get the burgers in their mouths sooner than later. Coach wasn’t having it; he didn’t want the team playing in the Rose Bowl with mustard stains on the front of their jerseys.
The funniest part is that the final picture, just before the team broke for the locker room, was unnecessary. The athletic staff punked the entire team and coaches, holding them there for one more needless shot. They took it in stride, then swiftly strode to the locker room to change and then eat.
The cameraman acted as he had for the previous shots, shouting, “Ready. One, two, three,” and then instead of taking the picture, he moved his head away from the monitor and said, “Just kidding, we already got a good one.” He’s lucky the bigger players on the team are also jovial dudes.
One thing you just don’t do; get between the offensive line and a hamburger. Even star quarterback Trace McSorley knows that. Here’s McSorley, chilling behind his offensive line and coach at the In-N-Out truck after the picture. He’s casually looking at his phone, as though he wasn’t as anxious to get fed as everyone else. Even off the field he knows to stay a few yards behind his linemen. Being the starting quarterback affords one a lot of privileges, but it won’t get you to the front of the In-N-Out line.
Just a few yards away, outside the gates of the Rose Bowl, Penn State fans took in the entire event. Nittany Nation travels well and shows their support at every turn. This was the day before the game. The fans were at the team photo, shouting their encouragement to the players, lined up two or three people deep at every opening in the gate. In true Penn State fashion, they were polite to each other, taking turns at the front of the line to snap pictures for their personal keepsakes.