The next team on our tour of new opponents for the Maryland Terrapins is somewhat local. Pennsylvania State University, or Penn State and has the mascot of the Nittany Lions. What is a Nittany Lion? Basically it is a mountain lion as may be seen on nearby Mount Nittany, and it was created by students who saw that Princeton had a mascot and they needed one too.
Penn State is located in the central part of the state and is officially listed as being in the town of University Park. That town really exists only on paper as a mailing address, as the school is really located in the borough of State College. 42,000 people live in the borough with about 100,000 total in the area. Fans in the area generally support the Steelers and the Pirates, but may have some Eagles and Phillies fans in the mix. Local minor league team – the State College Spikes – are the Short Season – A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, as they recently dumped the Pirates because of too many losing teams.
I won’t spend much time on the football scandals of recent years. But it is fair to say that the football program makes news, both good and bad. New coach James Franklin is a known quantity to Maryland fans with his years spent in College Park under Ralph Friedgen. Playing at 106,572-seat Beaver Stadium, the football programs looks to be slightly down but not as much as it could have been.
Men’s basketball is not a strong sport at Penn State, while their female counterparts have shown much more success. Women’s field hockey and men’s gymnastics are two strong programs, with volleyball programs for both sexes doing well. The women won the national championship in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013 and the men as recently as 2008. Men’s and women’s ice hockey both went varsity in 2012 and play in the new Pegula Ice Arena.
The top food spot for any visitor to the area is the on-campus Penn State Creamery, which is part of the Department of Food Science in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Just remember that the Creamery does not allow mixing of flavors, as only President Bill Clinton has been allowed to mix different flavors as he requested and was granted scoops of Cherry Quist and Peachy Paterno. If you are hungry for real food, a good option is Zola New World Bistro, although there are plenty of other options to chose from.
There are many college type bars, but if you are an adult and want a good option for drinking, look at Allen Street Grill, Ottos Pub and Brewery, or The Rathskeller.