June 23, 2010

10 Minutes Or Less: 2005 Wisconsin at Penn State (Senior Day)

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The 2005 season may have lost some of its luster among Penn State fans, what with the 40 total wins, another Big Ten title, and three New Years Day bowl games since the departure of Tamba Hali, Michael Robinson, Alan Zamaitis & Co. But for those who had experienced the four losing seasons, anemic offenses, and calls for Joe Paterno's head, this season was--save for one second in Ann Arbor--a euphoric resurgence to glory.

After what felt like one emotional game after another--wins at Northwestern, against Ohio State, the loss at Michigan--you would expect a fan base to have a tough time maintaining the same level of enthusiasm this late in the season. But for the Nittany nation, there was five tough seasons' worth of pent up energy to burn. Unfortunately for the visitors, on this day they would feel the full force of that energy.

Wisconsin was having a surprisingly successful season of its own, rolling into Happy Valley with a 9-1 record, tied with Penn State for first in the Big Ten. The Badgers' record-setting offense led the Big Ten coming into this game, scoring 39.7 points per game. Heisman Trophy and Doak Walker Award candidate Brian Calhoun entered the day No. 5 nationally in both all-purpose yardage (184.1 ypg) and rushing yardage (135.3 ypg) and led the nation with 21 touchdowns. Then he, along with the rest of the Badgers, ran into Penn State.

On that unseasonably warm November afternoon, 109,865 fans packed Beaver Stadium, becoming the second-largest home crowd (at the time) in Penn State football history.

For Penn State, it would end up being one of the most emotional senior days of the Joe Paterno era. From the offensive leaders like Robinson, to the stacked defense that featured Hali, Zamaitis, Calvin Lowry, Chris Harrell, Matt Rice, and Anwar Phillips, these seniors would not let this opportunity slip through their grip.

What we were treated to was one of the most dominating performances ever by Penn State against an eventual 10-win Big Ten team. Wisconsin even capped their own season with a Capital One Bowl win over a supposedly "faster" Auburn team out of the SEC.

Of course, I couldn't possibly finish this write up without mentioning that this game would also be my own senior day. After marching the previous 28 pregame routines with the Penn State Marching Blue Band, this one would be my last. It was the perfect ending, the perfect setting, and the perfect outcome on that sunny afternoon in Beaver Stadium.

(Annotations by Tim)

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  1. Awesome stuff! I love these. Especially how you have picked games that are find on youtube.

    Would it be possible to do one on the Indiana game in 04. It was such a big win for the program


    Reading, PA

  2. This fall, we will ahve one of these each week! They will feature that week's opponent, from a classic game from the past. It should be a lot of fun!