Excitement High for Area Penn State Fans as Nittany Lions Come to Baltimore this Weekend

| October 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

Tomorrow, for the first time in 24 years, Penn State and Maryland will match up in Baltimore for a college football game and local Penn State fans are taking full advantage of the event. “It kind of feels like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said George Missett, president of the Baltimore chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. “I am excited to welcome the extended Penn State family to our city.”

200Penn State vs. Maryland was once a regional rivalry, playing most years during the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s, although Penn State only tied and lost once in 37 meetings. Three straight Maryland home games in 1987, 1989, and 1991 were played at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, but the rivalry was put on hold from 1993 until last year.

With Maryland now in the Big Ten Conference, the teams will again play every year. Maryland grabbed first bragging rights with a 20-19 victory last season in State College, PA. This year’s game will be played at M&T Bank Stadium, which holds 71,008. A sellout is expected.

Many are hoping games in Baltimore between the Terps and Nittany Lions will become a regular occurrence when Maryland is the home team. “I hope and think it will become a tradition,” said Ryan Cooper, owner of No Idea Tavern, a South Baltimore bar that has supported Penn State for 10 years. “Maryland’s program will get better being in the Big Ten and hopefully every other year this matchup will be played here.”

“We would love it if the game was in Baltimore each time Maryland is the home team,” said Missett. “While it can be stressful to host so many events, we will never turn down an opportunity to have it here.”

The alumni association is kicking things off with a pep rally tonight at Power Plant Live. The event will feature a performance by all of the approximately 300 members of the Penn State Blue Band (the official marching band of the Nittany Lions) and the Penn State cheerleaders, as well as a speech by Athletic Director Sandy Barbour.

On gameday the alumni is teaming up with locally-based Bmore Around Town for a Penn State tailgate at 825 W. Ostend St. Almost 900 people have signed up for the event and proceeds will benefit the alumni’s scholarship fund, which is awarded each year to a Baltimore area student attending Penn State. The tailgate will have an open bar, catered food, tailgate games, live entertainment, and more.

No Idea Tavern is hosting a block party outside of its bar at the corner of Heath and Hanover St. tomorrow starting at 10am. The block party will feature draft trucks and a BBQ. There will also be fundraisers for The National MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Society. The fundraiser will include raffles and a silent auction. Jeremy Conn from 105.7 The Fan, who’s wife Katie is affected by MS, will be guest bartending.

No Idea typically gets a crowd of at least 80 fans for Penn State football games and celebrates with drink specials, winning shots, and favorite Penn State songs. If you walk by the area during game day you are likely to hear a “We Are Penn State” chant.

The official bar for the alumni association since 2008 has been Mad River in Federal Hill. Mad River Director of Marketing Amanda Alrich told SouthBMore.com that they typically get approximately 80 people for Penn State home football games and 150 for away games.

“We try to make it feel as if they were back in State College,” said Alrich. During the games Mad River features kickoff and fight songs, drink specials, special mugs, and a special menu featuring State College favorites Pokey Stix, 210 Fries, and Pazzo Wings. A portion of the sales during Penn State events at Mad River go the scholarship fund.

11219490_1649566228607864_5604779289457202712_oMad River will be opening at 10am tomorrow and will be running Penn State specials all day. Just like during a Ravens game, Mad River is expecting big crowds before and after the game as many fans will walk to the stadium, but Alrich said it will still be business at usual at Mad River for those who couldn’t score tickets to the event.

As these two neighboring teams with large fan bases in the Baltimore area get together, many question if a true rivalry can be created. Missett thinks it has the potential, but a long way to go. “ A rivalry comes from a lengthy portion of healthy competition. If we continue to have good games and compete in recruiting it has the potential to be a rivalry.”

The game kicks off tomorrow at 3:30pm and South Baltimore will certainly have a Ravens gameday feel.

About the Author:

Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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