Crowd outside motivates Nittany Lions
AUBURN, AL (WTAJ) — At the corner of Magnolia Street and College Avenue stands one of the southern football’s greatest traditions, Toomer’s Oaks. After wins, Auburn fans “roll trees” with toilet paper. It’s a tradition that goes back 50 years.
“It’s always fun to come and discover the different atmosphere of the schools, you know?” said Chuck Toth, a Penn State fan from New Jersey.
Toth is one of several Penn State fans in Alabama for the Auburn game. Some have come from as far away as Alaska to experience this rare SEC roadtrip.
“Oh man, it’s been on the schedule here for years since they scheduled it,” Shawn Pecora said.
“I think it’s also a school that’s deeply steeped in history and tradition, and you can even see the way the city and the campus are around the stadium,” Toth said. “So the fan bases seem to be great and I think it’s always fun.”
Penn State fans packed downtown on Friday. Penn State flags were dropped in tailgate lots on Saturday. It was easy to find Nittany Lion fans, and that’s a good thing too because getting to the game became a hassle for some.
“We knew we were going to meet at the game, but we just didn’t know how,” said Mick Knott.
Knott and his friend Scott Charnoff flew to Atlanta on Friday. But with rental cars sold out at the airport, they needed an Uber to get to Auburn, and needed a little more help getting to the stadium.
“I heard them talking early this morning about breakfast, I said, ‘We are. And said, ‘Penn State!’
Penn State fan Rob Crane came to the rescue, giving the two a lift in the stadium. A long-time fan, he hopes he pays it forward.
“I was at Miami Penn State’s national championship game in Tempe, and people took care of me when I was there as a young guy,” he said.
Inside Jordan-Hare Stadium, the Nittany Lions awaited the Tigers. In a sea of orange, white shirts stood out from the crowd. It’s a common site away from Happy Valley, which players say they never tire of. It’s the kind of site that makes you want to beat Auburn 41-12.
“Every time we go to an away game, one of the first things we say on the sidelines is, wow, there’s a lot of people from Penn State here. And, you know, sometimes it’s a little repetitive because we travel so well,” said junior offensive lineman Bryce Effner. “It’s a huge motivator to see, you know, just this result in whatever stadium we’re in. So it’s great.”