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Penn State football fans enjoy ‘unbelievable’ welcome from Ohio State fans

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

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Penn State football fans had more to be happy about than the Nittany Lions’ 20-14 win Saturday at Ohio Stadium.

Less than two weeks ago, the PSU community was rocked by the revelation that former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was charged with sexually abusing children by Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly. A sizeable contingent of Nittany Lions fans attended a game away from Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa., Saturday and said their trip to the ‘Shoe was made more pleasant by the respect and good behavior that was shown to them by Buckeye Nation.

In connection with the charges levied against Sandusky, PSU’s president for finance and business Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley were also charged with perjury and failure to report child abuse. Former university President Graham Spanier resigned in the wake of the charges being made public and former Nittany Lions’ coach Joe Paterno, NCAA Division I’s all-time wins leader and the head coach of PSU football for 46 years, was fired.

It has been a tumultuous time for PSU students and fans, including Cristen Mohn, 20, of Steelton, Pa., a third-year PSU student in nursing.

Mohn said the last two weeks have been hard for Nittany Lions fans, describing the experience as “unreal.”

“It was just kind of like shock a little bit,” said Mohn, who is currently dating fellow Steelton native and PSU junior defensive lineman Jordan Hill. “It’s just depressing. It’s gloomy. It’s just not the same knowing that all this is going on.”

Mohn also said that Buckeyes fans she encountered around Columbus were welcoming and supportive of the PSU community.

“We haven’t had any bad experiences,” Mohn said. “Everyone is saying ‘Thank you for coming.’ Some people were saying to us, ‘Penn State is still great school.’ Everybody that we’ve run into has been awesome.”

NCAA president Mark Emmert announced Friday that the NCAA would investigate “Penn State’s exercise of institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics programs,” according to multiple reports.

Nittany Lions fan Matt Curtis, 22, of Philipsburg, Pa., said that he expects harsh penalties to be administered to PSU football.

“As a university, you hope (PSU) can put everything together. It’s an institutional problem and there’s no reason to punish the players on the field,” Curtis said. “And they probably had to be done with Paterno. He deserved to be fired if he did turn the other cheek, if that’s the case.”

Like Mohn, Curtis said that he too was welcomed to campus on Saturday, and that some OSU fans even engaged him with popular PSU football chants.

“Everyone’s been unbelievable,” Curtis said. “Every time we walk by, somebody’s yelling, ‘We are,’ or ‘Welcome.’ I’m not going to lie, I’ve heard some horror stories from Ohio Stadium, but, so far, the fans have been awesome.”

Dave Stock, 25, of Pittsburgh, Pa., graduated from PSU with a telecommunications degree in 2008. Stock said that it has been painful for him to watch the situation in State College unfold.

“As a fan, it’s frustrating. We had an aura of ‘success with honor’ — that was (Paterno’s) mantra,” Stock said. “On the road, (PSU fans) would be looked at a little differently.”

Stock couldn’t deny that he received a surprisingly warm welcome upon arriving in Columbus.

“It’s been absolutely great, so far,” he said. “It’s been very classy. I have nothing but good things to say, and I never thought I would say that about Ohio State fans.”

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