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Penn State faithful follow Lions on the road for Big Ten opener against Illinois

“We Are... Penn State” is heard in every pub as the Nittany Lions and their fans get ready to open the Big Ten Conference slate.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Nittany Lions are on the road this week to kick off the Big Ten schedule against Illinois. Traveling Blue and White fans are taking in everything Champaign, Illinois has to offer.  

A bustling downtown on Green Street is the perfect place to let it roar.  

“We Are... Penn State” is heard in every pub as the Nittany Lions and their fans get ready to open the Big Ten Conference slate. 

“It is a tradition around here, opening on the road in the Big Ten. We love it.” Head Coach James Franklin remarked sarcastically in his Tuesday presser. Penn State seems to always open on the road in the conference. 

However, fans like Caroline Bixler of York embrace the road environment. 

“Kind of fun to band up with them, become a little crew, walk around do the chants, make the other team's fans nervous, intimidate them when we are out in the bar," she laughed. 

Fred Knorr of Lebanon and his family are excited for a new experience.  

“It’s exciting to see other stadiums," he said. "We have been to Tuscaloosa, to the Big House, to Ohio State and other places like that but first time here so it is exciting.” 

Never any doubt the We Are chants make the trip. Yes, PSU is on the road, but that is what makes it great for fans because the excitement level among friends is always high. 

“Anyone can bring the good vibes if you try hard enough it doesn’t matter where you are,” said Bixler. 

“[It's a] chance to get together with our best friends and hang out and we really enjoy seeing each other again,” said David Ackerman, who is joined by a group from all across the country. 

The venue for this party: Memorial Stadium. A historic place and Penn State fans embrace its history. 

“I think it is a beautiful and historic venue,” explained Nate Halenar of Summit Hill, Carbon County. “It is really cool to be able to see something different something new and to be able to experience a new place while enjoying Penn State football 

Scott Mattea from Pottsville, Schuylkill County agrees. “You could say the word iconic. Not a lot of people in the present think of Illinois as a national football power but when you see a statue of red grange Dick Butkus it really brings back some memories of the glory days and, again, it's one of the great shrines in college football.” 

A fun-filled Friday night before kickoff Saturday. 

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