UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — It was difficult to keep track of which direction the wind was blowing Saturday at Beaver Stadium. Simultaneously the net behind the north goal post was being pushed as far south as it would stretch, and the flags atop the south goal post were pointing north.
Twice there was blowing snow, but it never accumulated on the field. Less than 10 minutes before kickoff, snow was sticking to coats of folks on the sidelines. it looked like someone had dumped Dippin' Dots on everybody.
Just before halftime, the sky was almost cloud free, but early in the third quarter, Beaver Stadium looked like a giant snow globe as the heaviest snowfall of the day swirled for at least 15 minutes.
Signs, signs, everywhere signs
It was the final home game of the season for the Nittany Lions, and there were several creative banners posted around the south end zone.
Among the best were a Burger King-themed logo for linebacker Ben Kline, and “Gressin' with Sasquatch” for 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive tackle Adam Gress.
The PSU player with the most historic name — Jesse James — drew the attention of two sign makers. One we wished we could have seen — a Charmin-themed tribute to freshman quarterback Austin Whipple.
Benchwarmers aplenty on home team's side
Penn State enjoyed a significant home-bench advantage. The Nittany Lions had heated fiberglass seating that rarely had a vacancy.
When the PSU offense or defense came off the field, players would gather in a group on chairs at the north end of their bench with two dedicated heaters.
Meanwhile, the Huskers were seated on basic blue metal benches with a handful of heaters nearby.
Still signs of JoePa
Though the statue and tribute area to the late Joe Paterno have been eliminated from the southern exterior of Beaver Stadium, fans have not forgotten their beloved coach.
On trees added to a berm area in the revamped location, a sign reads “409 Forever” in recognition of Paterno's career wins.
There also was a pair of khaki pants on a department store display torso — a signature of Paterno's sideline attire — that attracted plenty of attention.
Not quite like 2011 meeting
The sideline and pregame atmosphere was much more typical than the last time the Huskers visited State College in 2011. That was the first game after Paterno had been fired by Penn State's Board of Trustees in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal.
While there were still plenty of recruits and parents watching pregame activities, the number of former players patrolling the sidelines was significantly less than two years ago.
Some red faces, but few red coats
It was tougher to spot Husker fans in the stands because everyone was bundled up trying to stay warm. The heartiest group of Husker fans was in the upper level of the north stands, taking the brunt of the fierce winds blowing in their faces most of the game.