TaxSlayer Bowl

It felt more like a fall Saturday in Happy Valley today than a January day in Florida, which made it even more natural as Penn State took the field for today’s TaxSlayer Bowl.  Coach Franklin joked with another photographer and myself that we should enjoy the game from one of the pools in the stands, but there was a game to be photographed!

When quarterback Christian Hackenberg got injured in the first half things seemed to fall apart.  But the Nittany Lions came back with determination in the second half fighting till the final seconds of the game. Georgia came out with the win, 24-17.
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TaxSlayer Bowl Week

What a week it has been!  And we still have the main event tomorrow!

The Penn State football writer for the CDT and myself ventured down to Jacksonville earlier in the week to follow the team through the TaxSlayer Bowl week.

On Wednesday we got to go with the team to the Mayport Naval Station, where they climbed in the helicopters to their own sound effects and Call of Duty references, and they explored a ship, even getting a look at the captains chair.
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Thursday morning we got to see the last few minutes of the final practice of the season.  Though I was thrown for a loop with their traditional jersey swap, leaving me not sure who was where! Seniors were hoisted and carried off the field to be honored. PSUPrac03PSUPrac07PSUPrac09

I followed some players to the Wolfson Children’s hospital as they visited patients and shared some Penn State swag.  To see the patients light up and giggle with the players and especially the Nittany Lion was uplifting.  PSUHospital05PSUHospital06PSUHospital08

Today was back to football talk at the morning press conference and then to the crowds of fans gathering for the pep rally.   A drizzle didn’t stop the chants and Blue Band from pumping up the crowd.
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Michigan at Penn State football

Football season always seems like it’s going to go for so long, then the season arrives and poof it’s gone!  I truly enjoy covering Penn State football games, even through the several terrible weather ones we had this season.  Today was the last home game of the season with amped security and senior day festivities.  The Nittany Lions couldn’t pull off the win though, and fell to Michigan 28-16.
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No Names, All Game

Penn State football announced today they are going back to tradition, and the players will not have names on their jerseys this season.  The team added names to their jerseys after the Sandusky scandal shook the program, but now it’s time to go back to play for the name on the front.  After the announcement they took to town greeting fans of all ages and handing out posters for the quickly approaching season.  Jerseys3 Jerseys4 Jerseys5