Another Friday, another BSD Roundtable. Today’s topic: what is your first Penn State football memory?
The very first game I can recall watching in any capacity was the 81-0 beatdown of Cincinnati in 1991. Seven year old me had no idea at the time just how rare it was for one team to score that many points, but damn, if it wasn’t fun! Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since.
As we all know, I wasn’t really aware of football until I came to the US in the 90s. I didn’t really identify with it, however, until I came to Penn State. Having come in the middle of the Dark Years™, there really wasn’t anything to be excited about. In 2005, however, Penn State made a resurgence that saw them vault to No. 3 in the country. My, first, and most vivid memory, was driving through college avenue while everyone was celebrating the victory against Ohio State. Honking, slamming my hood, turning a 5 minute drive into a half-hour endeavor due to the sea of humans splattered on the streets, and just the overall happiness felt by everyone, still gives me chills to this day.
Even though I vaguely remember Bobby Engram running down the sideline at some point in 1995, the first vivid memory I have is watching the win over Bowling Green in 1998. Cordell Mitchell had a long touchdown run almost at the start of the game, and there was a big celebration of Paterno’s 300th win afterwards. I also for some reason remember watching in the upper part of the visitor’s seating area, rather than our family’s normal seats in NA. Oh, and Bruce Branch did his usual (but heart-stopping) magic.
After that, my next clearest memory is the LaVar Leap, and then ‘99 Minnesota (more on that later).
Unfortunately, the first season I remember was not a good one: 2000. And even more specifically, the first moment I remember wasn’t a good one either — in fact, it was horrendously bad. It was late September 2000, and Penn State was playing Ohio State. Of course, the Nittany Lions got blown out, but that was also the game where Adam Taliaferro got paralyzed. Not exactly a stellar start to my fandom, but hey, I’m still here.