Penn State football had its last event prior to the Fiesta Bowl, a pep rally held at Scottsdale Stadium on Friday afternoon. The Nittany Lion fans came out as they normally do, with an approximate crowd of 10,000 people in attendance. The spirit and camaraderie inside the stadium made those at the rally forget that they were thousands of miles away from Beaver Stadium.
Speakers at the event included Eric Barron, Sandy Barbour and course the head bald coach, James Franklin. Here’s what Franklin had to say to the crowd.
Jimmy Kennedy and Bryant Johnson were each drafted in the first round of the NFL draft out of Penn State in 2003. Kennedy went as the 12th overall pick and Bryant was selected 17th. The pair took the stage and spoke as you would expect two PSU graduates to speak, first of the experience of being a part of the program and university and then to the emotions of being a fan.
Frank Di Leo did not get much time on the playing field during his tenure with the team, but that does not mean that his impact on the program and university has not been noticeable. Di Leo was the only player to speak at the event.
There were fans of all ages at the rally, from all parts of the country. There are times when we fans get used to the friendly confines of Happy Valley and forget that the fan base will travel to wherever it needs to go to follow the program. Seeing so many familiar faces so far from State College is always a great experience.
Some faces that weren’t particularly familiar were memorable just the same. This guy got his mug taken by nearly every PSU beat writer. You can say that he doesn’t have typical leading-man Hollywood looks, but there was no mistaking his enthusiasm and charisma.
He put this poor guy to shame. White mohawk? That’s easy, bro, try it with blue accents next time. Nice shirt, though.
The Lions will play the final game of their 2017 season on Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Fiesta Bowl versus Washington. We look forward to the sea of blue and white in the stadium.