Jarrett LaRubbio (Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East) arrived late to Beaver Stadium thanks to the snarling traffic, so he wasn't able to stroll the sideline or shake the coaches' hands before the game.
Still, the 2014 offensive guard said his first step inside Beaver Stadium made the long trip worthwhile.
"All I saw was people dressed in white," he said, his tone growing more excited. "You can look around and around, and it almost makes you feel light-headed how many people are there. That'll stick with me.
"I've never seen that many people before at one place, especially a football game. You couldn't even really hear there. It's crazy."
LaRubbio, who currently holds offers from Akron and Pitt, stopped at the Panthers' game earlier in the day to watch the first quarter -- before hopping in his car and driving more than three hours to Happy Valley.
So far this season, he sat in the stands for Kansas State-West Virginia, Indiana-Ball State and Cincinnati-Miami (Ohio). But Saturday's Penn State game caught him off-guard.
"West Virginia was pretty crazy, but Penn State was -- I've just never really seen anything like that," he said. "There was just tons of people, and all you saw was white. It was really cool."
LaRubbio struggled describing the atmosphere. He paused every few words, apologizing and insisting it was nearly indescribable. Goosebumps spread through his arms and neck Saturday, and he stood there for a few moments "in shock."
He said he felt like an ant. He watched the crowd on television before, but experiencing it first-hand was something he couldn't anticipate.
"The whole time, really, I was just like wow," he added. "And they're loyal fans, too. Even when Ohio State started to take the lead, they stayed the whole time. And a lot of places, that doesn't happen."
LaRubbio first heard from Penn State a few weeks ago when assistant coach Charles London stopped by his high school. The 6-foot-5, 260-pound junior now speaks with assistant John Butler, who invited him to the game.
The Ohio product was told an offer could be coming his way in December or January, but the Lions already have some competition in Pitt. The Panthers were the first to offer LaRubbio and the staff earned a jump-start on building a relationship.
As a result, LaRubbio said, the Panthers are currently his top team. But he said he could still envision himself stepping out of Beaver Stadium's south tunnel in two years.
"I could see myself going there," he said, referring to Penn State. "Their facilities and coaches are really good, and they treat you really well. The atmosphere is crazy, the academics are really good, and I really could see myself playing there. That would be really cool."