Penn State and Indiana household and college students have their very own enjoyable on the proper soccer Saturday within the imperfect 12 months
But in the end everyone needed one. Because the first game of what was definitely the strangest Penn State season ever had lasted more than four hours after kick-off, and it felt like frosty pumpkin season in Indiana.
And the home team celebrated in front of their only fans who really matter. The Indiana Hoosiers triumphed over a top 10 team for the first time since 1987 when Bill Mallory trained them to a hair span of a Rose Bowl.
This team certainly doesn’t remember this one, led by future NFL fan Ernie Jones. But they could have a higher ceiling, who knows? They weren’t allowed to go into the stands and hug their mothers and pops any way they wanted. So they all huddled around the cream colored wall where the plastic lawn ends and the stalls begin. And shook fists with joy while her people blew them kisses.
Her gifted quarterback Michael Penix had just come the greatest distance since Willie McCovey. On a 2-point conversion scramble, the ball came so close that the referee couldn’t recall it as the winner.
I could have. I thought it hit the white color of the sideline a moment before the ball hit the pylon. Other observers said it was too close to tip over.
Hey, at least someone was happy. And you know what? The Hoosiers deserved to be happy. In a game and season that has seen and will continue to have many inevitable mistakes, your head coach and top player have made some successful decisions. And not Penn State’s.
The game should never lead to overtime. Penn State coach James Franklin should have either ordered a series of knee-downs from IU 14 1:48 on the clock, a 21-20 lead and Indiana time out, or should have made it clear that none of the them His players should under no circumstances score a TD.
Even a quick kneel takes about 10 seconds for the officials to unstack the players and spot the ball so they can run the 25-second music box. That’s 5 seconds for the first game after which IU calls its final timeout. Then 35 seconds for each of two games after which IU cannot stop the clock. All of this adds up to at least 1:15. Then the last kneeling takes another 15 or 20 before ownership can be changed. We’re talking of maybe 15 seconds left for Indiana without timeout and 50 yards from the goal of scoring a record-length field goal.
And of course, Devyn Ford hadn’t run 14 yards into the end zone when Indiana manager Tom Allen ordered his defense to go unmolested and simply knelt on the 1, as he seemed to be considering, before falling over the goal line . The game is over. The power supply receives an initial failure and can run four more games.
But Ford clearly wasn’t crystalline in the order in which Franklin said afterward that he gave it all: don’t score. He tried to divert the guilt from Ford.
Which was the right thing to do. He should shoulder it.
None of that should really be the point. Not this year. For one day, even when they couldn’t be there, even when one group of players and fans is excited and the other group is bitter, everyone had to watch football. The people whose kids were out there got to see it in person.
And those who couldn’t be there watched it together. Some outside.
The sky was the robin and egg shade you don’t always get here in the lowlands. The leaves wouldn’t even go if prompted by a series of thunderstorms on Friday night. They still hung ocher-colored and rusty in the sunshine in one of the most beautiful campus towns in the Midwest, immortalized by the cycling / coming-of-age film Breaking Away.
Something tells me the movie is unfamiliar to Quinn Kelly and his friends – 10 of them are crammed into a house they all live in as renters. There they sat on their college perfection front deck across from Memorial Stadium and played the latest version of beer pong. Hey, you live your own movie.
It’s called Beer Die and has something to do with one of the dice you’re playing with – that type of dice. A guy hops off the table. Someone on the other end tries to catch it right away. Or so. Hey, I know movies from the 1980s, not this one.
They specifically rented this place for a weekend like this. And here it was. Penn State in town for a surprising start to the season. A team with 8 wins that returned from the year before. That’s a pretty big deal in this basketball school.
And where was your experience on match day? Well you know this story. I climbed the deck steps to see how they were doing and was out in the sun on a Saturday 21st.
“I think the upside is that we’re still able to open the tailgate,” said Kelly, a junior major by the name of Infomatics. “It’s such a big disappointment because you signed up for this place and thought, oh my god, it’s going to be a great time next year.
“And then you are and … you know, you just have to get by with what you have.”
“This house has always been a big deal at IU. It has the huge deck and is wonderful inside too. And I want to make sure that while I’m here I can still broadcast what this house means to IU. So I plan to represent my college. “
Big laughs from his roommates drinking beer. Back to the Beer Die game.
The only thing the Big Ten got right in their unholy mess of a summer and early fall was inviting immediate families. During the game, I looked down at the almost completely empty gray torso – except that they were sitting in small groups. I felt melancholy but happy for her.
At some point I looked at Antonio Shelton’s family from the press compartment with my binoculars. Well, who else would wear matching # 55 PSU jerseys? When Penn State scored a goal and required television time off, Memorial Stadium spokespeople began pumping out technotronic classic Pump Up the Jam from the late ’80s. The Sheltons were up and pumping and blocking. I imagined them dancing to it when they were 21.
There were a few moments of unplanned delays late in the game for reruns and injuries and the like. Caught unprepared, the injected sound ceased. Suddenly you realized again how barren the place was from its usual life. No band, no cheerleaders, no student division.
It was instantly sad and reminded of how great it used to be before this plague hit us all and hoped how great it will be again. Not soon enough one day.