STATE COLLEGE, Pennsylvania (WCMH) — It might be the most intimidating atmosphere in college football – the Penn State white out.
“It’s fun. It’s frustrating. It’s a wave of emotions all piled into one,” said former Ohio State linebacker Zach Boren. “You just see all the white pompoms and the white shirts, and everyone jumping up and down. It’s almost like the whole performance of the stadium is something in itself and you don’t see that anywhere else.”
Former Ohio State quarterback Todd Boeckman led the Buckeyes to a win at Happy Valley in 2007.
“I think it’s one of the loudest places I’ve ever been in my career,” said Boeckman. “I almost got chills just hearing it and seeing it. It’s one of the coolest, craziest things.”
In recent years, the white out has been an honor reserved for when the Buckeyes come to town. It’s also been a showdown between ranked teams with playoff implications.
“They’re in-sync on every single play,” Boeckman said. “The fans are just constant rowdiness. I mean from the start to the finish, to the middle, to all of that. It’s just crazy. I’m telling you when I was talking to a running back or a lineman, we would have to shout at the top of our lungs. It is just insanely loud.”
There won’t be more than 106,000 screaming fans inside Beaver Stadium this Saturday. But Penn State head coach James Franklin said it’s better to have a milder atmosphere at Beaver Stadium than no football at all. Plus, the game will still be primetime between two top-20 teams.
“I think it’s one of the things that’s special about college football, but again, we are all so appreciative of the sacrifices and the compromises that were made to allow us to have a season,” Franklin said. “Would you love for our fanbase to have a white out and our players, specifically our seniors? Yes!.”
The lack of fans means it will be a lot easier for OSU quarterback Justin Fields to communicate with his line about pass protection adjustments and identifying defenses. At the same time, the noise and atmosphere fuels the opposing team.
“You love that. That feeds into your adrenaline,” said Boren. “There’s nothing quite like coming together as a team and looking out and knowing you’re playing against 110,000 people, right?”
“The most beautiful thing about that is, when you have 110,000 fans screaming at you, and you can shut them up, that is one of the best feelings in the world,” said Boeckman.
Penn State won’t have the crowd but it will still be motivated after coming off an upset loss to Indiana last week.
“It’s Penn State. You’re always going to be in a dog fight with them going there, here, wherever it is,” Boeckman said. “It’s going to be be a dog fight. It’s gonna be a huge challenge for the Buckeyes and hopefully they can come out on top.”