UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State fans continue to prove why they are regarded as the best in the nation as they flocked to Beaver Stadium during Bill O’Brien’s first season as head coach.
For the 22nd consecutive season, Penn State’s passionate and enthusiastic fans ranked among the Top Five in the nation in average home attendance. Led by an electric sellout throng of 107,818 for the primetime clash with Ohio State, the Nittany Lions averaged 96,730 fans during the 2012 campaign.
Penn State ranked fifth in average home attendance among the nation’s 120 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) teams, according to the NCAA.
Penn State fans, including the energetic student section of 21,000-strong, have played a vital role in helping the Nittany Lions post a 48-10 (82.8 percent) on-field home record since 2005.
“I thought our crowds were fantastic,” O’Brien stated. “They were into the game, loud, and made it tough for the opposing offenses. We have the best student body in the nation and our players feed off their energy.”
During the 2012 season, fans attending games in Beaver Stadium witnessed:
— O’Brien’s first career victory, 34-7 over Navy, as Matt McGloin threw four touchdown passes and sophomore Mike Hull returned a fumble 74 yards for a touchdown
— The Nittany Lions rally to post a dramatic 24-21 overtime win over eventual Big Ten Champion Wisconsin on Senior Day
— The Nittany Lions’ 22-point fourth quarter outburst to give No. 24 Northwestern its first loss in a 39-28 thriller
— McGloin throw for 395 yards, the second-highest total in school history, with three touchdown passes to All-Big Ten sophomore Allen Robinson, in a 45-22 victory over Indiana
— Penn State gaining 491 yards in a 24-13 win over Temple, as McGloin threw for 318 yards and ran for two scores and Michael Zordich ran for a career-high 75 yards
— Approximately 600 Penn State student-athletes and coaches and deans from 11 of Penn State’s colleges joining the Blue Band on the field to form a tunnel the football team ran through prior to the Ohio game.
Led by O’Brien, the ESPN and Maxwell Football Club Coach of the Year, the Nittany Lions posted an 8-4 overall mark and finished second in the Big Ten Leaders Division with a 6-2 record. Penn State won eight of its final 10 games, with the only losses coming against division winners Ohio State and Nebraska.
Season tickets are available for the 2013 season. The Nittany Lions will host three teams that finished in the 2012 BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State (Sept. 21). Purdue, Illinois, Virginia and Eastern Michigan also will visit Beaver Stadium next year.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can go to www.GoPSUsports.com or call 800-NITTANY from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.