Adam Breneman (Camp Hill, Pa./Cedar Cliff) has witnessed some of the best game day atmospheres in college football this season. He was at Maryland’s opener against Miami, Penn State’s “White House” game against Alabama and Notre Dame’s game against USC, when the Irish hosted roughly 50 of the country’s top prospects.
Breneman can add Nebraska-Penn State to that list, but the atmosphere in State College, Pa., Saturday afternoon had little to do with football and everything to do with a team, a school and a community coming together in the face of one college football’s most disturbing scandals.
“It was one of the best atmospheres I’ve been at,” Breneman said. “Everything has been negative about Penn State, but being there Saturday gave me a lot of positives to think about, too.”
It began with nearly all 107,903 fans in Beaver Stadium singing the Penn State alma mater maybe as loud as it has ever been sung. Then, the Penn State team walked out of the locker room, arms locked, instead of jetting out of the tunnel like it usually does. And, in a move that wasn’t planned pregame, both teams met at midfield and took a knee in prayer for several minutes.
Following the game, the Penn State faithful didn’t head for the exits, but instead stood and cheered the Nittany Lions after a close defeat.
“After the final horn, the fans started the ‘We Are’ chant and cheered,” Breneman said. “You won’t see that at most places. … That’s the type of fans any player wants to play for.”
Though Penn State suffered a 17-14 loss, Breneman said he liked the heart and character displayed by the Nittany Lions.
From a recruiting standpoint, Breneman arrived late and didn’t have much of a chance to talk with the coaching staff. Breneman understands, though, that it is unlikely the entire staff will be back next season, and he didn’t put much stock in the Lions’ use of the tight end – which was minimal.
This Saturday, Breneman will make his final visit of the season when he travels to Michigan State. It will be his first time in East Lansing, Mich.
“I’m definitely looking forward to meeting the whole staff – I’ve only met [quarterbacks] coach [Dave] Warner,” he said. “I’ve never been to the campus or a Michigan State game in general, so I’m looking forward to seeing the atmosphere and campus.”
Breneman’s Cedar Cliff team won its playoff opener Friday, and Breneman had the best game of his career statistically as he grabbed 11 passes for 185 yards and four touchdowns – all in the first half.