Following the Boise State at Michigan State game Friday night, I decided it was time to pull the impossible! Drive 453 miles overnight from East Lansing, MI to State College, PA to shoot Bill O’Brien leading the Nittany Lions onto the field for the first time in 2012.
Let’s go back in time a little bit
In January 21, 2012 I got a phone call from my assignment edit that Joe Paterno was very ill and had been admitted to the hospital in Penn State. So I packed all of my gear and clothes quickly as I could to drive overnight to State College so I could arrive early morning ready to work. As I was driving I was thinking to my self that Joe Paterno is the biggest name in college football, he is Penn State, he has been a coach at Penn State for 61 years. For something to happen to Joe Paterno would be a huge fall for college football and the State College community.
When I arrived in State College around 2am, it was time to get to work! Photographing the famous Joe Paterno Statue where supports where laying cards and moments to show support.
Here are links to all of my days in Penn State.
Once I was back home a week or so passed before I got another phone call if I could go back to State College to cover the Jerry Sandusky trial. Due to previous commitments I wasn’t able to, as much as I wanted to be there to continuing covering a story that I started covering a few weeks prior. After Sandusky was sentenced to jail it was now time to focus on the “NEW” Penn State.
Fast forward to September 1, 2012
Here is a screen shot of my 453 mile trip!
I was making really good progress until about 5am, as I was driving through the curvy mountain os Pennsylvania and I couldn’t stay awake anymore, so I pulled over at a rest area and took a 40 minute nap. Went inside got a double shot of Starbucks Espresso and I was on my way, I was still feeling tired but all of the sudden the espresso kicked and I was wide awake now! Only about 2 more hours until I would be in State College, making great timing which would allow to shoot some pre-game features.
Just as I was approaching the exit for Beaver Stadium the traffic was backed for about 5 miles! I have never seen traffic like this in my life. Luckily all of the traffic was turning right and I had to make a left turn to head over to the Penn Stater Hotel and Conference center to pick up my credential and parking pass. Once I got my pass I was fighting traffic attempting to make it to the media lot! My GPS wanted me to go one way but the traffic controller wouldn’t allow me to go that way so after sitting in traffic for an hour to travel about 1 mile if that I finally made my way all the way around the stadium to the media parking. At this point it’s about 10:45am. I have only slept for 40 minutes and I am running on straight adrenaline at this point, I booked it to the stadium so I could get in get to work.
As soon as I walked into the packed media room I quickly noticed there where no spots to be found, so I improvised! I took an empty trashcan flipped it upside down and put my computer on there! Sometime you just gotta do what you gotta do to make this work.
Here is a photo my buddy Vinny Carchietta took of me working on top of the garage can!
After getting my caption all setup it was off to the field to start working on pre-game features. But before that, I had a little bit of an issue, when I shoot football games I usually wear Under Armour compression shorts to reduce the chances of chafing and getting a wedgie when I am running up and down the sidelines! So my buddy Matt Mortin is the equipment manager for Ohio and he took care of me! He said “we don’t need any personal setbacks during the game!”
I owe you big time Matt!
Now that I have that all taken care of, I could now make some pictures!
Penn State players had a special sticker on their helmet that said “Keep Kids Safe”
Also another big story for Penn State is this is the first time in the history of football that players had the names on the backs of their jerseys.
Penn State students cheer in the stands.
For the start of the game, one of the important images would be first year head coach Bill O’Brien leading the team through the Penn State gates and onto the field.
Below are a few images of him leading the team onto the field.
I am gonna break the game down by quarters.
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Matthew McGloin (11) rolls out of the pocket looking to pass
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Allen Robinson (8) makes a catch and is brought down by Ohio Bobcats safety Gerald Moore (13
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Matthew McGloin (11) throws a pass.
Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Matthew McGloin (11) is sacked in the backfield by Ohio Bobcats defensive lineman Corey Hasting (94)
After a rough first series to start the game, Penn State scored first!
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Bill Belton (1) runs the ball for a touchdown
At the end of the first quarter I headed outside of the stadium where the Joe Paterno statue use to once stand to see what kinds of items fans where placing there.
A bobble head of former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno is placed in the grass where the statue once stood.
Jessica Annas a 2009 Penn State graduate places a sticker on a picture where the statue of former Penn State head coach Joe Paterno once stood.
Once I got back into the stadium it was the 2nd quarter and Penn State was driving down the field about to score. After a full speed sprint from one side of the field to the other to get in position the next play came right at me!
Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Matt Lehman (84) dives into the end zone for a touchdown
Penn State Nittany Lions center Miles Dieffenbach (65), John Urschel (64), Shawney Kersey (81) and Matt Stankiewitch (54) celebrate with Matt Lehman (84) after scoring a touchdown
Starting the 3rd quarter I noticed a Joe Paterno cardboard cutout hanging out of a suite window.
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Bill O’Brien reacts to a bad call.
Ohio Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton (4) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown
Ohio Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton (4) gave me some excellent jube after scoring the touchdown!
Moving onto the 4th quarter, where Ohio would put the nail in the coffin.
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Derek Day (24) is tackled by Ohio Bobcats linebacker Ben Russell (36)
Penn State was forced to punt the ball with about 6 minutes left in the game or so. Ohio didn’t wasted any time marching down the field to score.
Ohio Bobcats running back Beau Blankenship (22) runs the ball away from Penn State Nittany Lions defensive lineman Jordan Hill (47)
Ohio Bobcats quarterback Tyler Tettleton (4) throws a pass over the Penn State defensive lineman.
Ohio Bobcats wide receiver Landon Smith (87) runs with the ball up field after making a catch
Ohio Bobcats wide receiver Donte Foster (3) catches a pass in the end zone for a touchdown right in front of me. If you were watching the game on television you probably saw me almost get taken out!
Here is a photo my buddy Patrick Smith took of me almost getting run over! Notice how I tipped my 400mm just enough from getting hit!
That pretty much wrapped up the game! So you know what that means!!! The media scrum at the end of the game chasing Bill O’Brien off the field!
I put my wide angle lens on and sprint full speed in front of him as he ran to shake hands.
Then I followed him right off the field and he put his hands on his head, with the Penn State games on both sides and the Nittany Logo right in the middle it made for a great frame to end the game!
That wraps up a crazy day of traveling and covering Penn States first game of the season! After the game was over I waited in traffic forever! My next city is Baltimore, MD where I would be shooting the Baltimore Grand Prix through the streets of downtown Baltimore!
Here are some screen shots of my photos used across different websites during the game.