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Feb. 11, 2008
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., February 11, 2008 - Penn State football fans came to Happy Valley to see the Nittany Lions in record numbers during the 2007 season.
A total of 762,419 fans attended the seven games in Beaver Stadium last season for a home record average of 108,917, according to figures recently released by the NCAA. The previous school record average was 107,576 for a six-game home schedule in 2001.
Nittany Lion football fans ranked second in NCAA Division I-A football attendance during the 2007 season for the fifth time this decade. Penn State has finished among the top four in Division I-A attendance for 17 consecutive years.
Penn State's loyal and enthusiastic fans totaled 762,419 for seven home games last season, the school's second-highest overall total attendance, surpassed only by the 857,911 fans that came for the eight-game home schedule in 2002.
An energetic and vociferous throng of 110,134 for the October 27 primetime clash with Ohio State was the second-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history, eclipsing the raucous crowd of 110,078 that attended Penn State's 31-10 primetime thumping of Notre Dame on September 8.
Penn State has drawn seven of its top eight all-time home crowds during the past three seasons. Beaver Stadium is the nation's second-largest facility with a capacity of 107,282 and was expanded for the seventh time under Coach Joe Paterno prior to the 2001 season.
Penn State's 108,917 average placed second among the 619 NCAA members surveyed, including 119 in Division I-A. Michigan (110,264 avg.) led, followed by Penn State, Ohio State (105,110), Tennessee (103,918) and Georgia (92,746). LSU was sixth, followed by Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma and Auburn.
More than one million people again watched the Nittany Lions play in 2007. Penn State has played in front of more than one million spectators in eight of the past 10 seasons, with the 2007 total of 1,179,504 fans ranking third highest in program history
Penn State's five away games drew 350,919 and the record crowd of 66,166 for the Nittany Lions' win over Texas A&M in the Valero Alamo Bowl swelled PSU's total 2007 attendance to 1,179,504. Only the totals of 1,247,707 from 2002, an NCAA record at the time, and the 2006 attendance of 1,189,663, are higher. Penn State's 857,911 fans at home in 2002 were an NCAA record until this past season.
Since the 1991 season, the Nittany Lions have finished second in NCAA attendance in 1994, 2001, '02, '03 , '06 and `07, third in 1991, '92, '93, '95, `96, `97, `98 and '99 and fourth in 2000, '04 and `05.
The Big Ten claimed the top three spots in the survey and was second among all conferences with 5,408,019 fans, posting an average of 71,158 for 76 home dates. Big Ten members Wisconsin (13th, 81,747 avg.), Michigan State (21st, 70,540) and Iowa (25th, 70,585) also made the top 25.
The NCAA's 619 programs drew a record 48,751,861 fans for the four divisions, eclipsing the record of 47,909,313, set in 2006. The nation's 119 Division I-A schools led the way, drawing a record 37,146,661 patrons for a record average of 46,328.
The unparalleled interest in Penn State football has triggered seven expansions and renovations of Beaver Stadium since Paterno became head coach in 1966. The most recent expansion added a deck and 4,000 club seats in the South end zone as well as an East side pavilion with 60 enclosed skyboxes, all of which have been leased. All the suites and club seats were leased on a seasonal basis for the 2007 season, providing the amenities of the Mount Nittany Lounge throughout gameday.
Season tickets and Club seats are available for the 2008 home schedule, which will feature five teams that played in bowl games last season: Oregon State (Sept. 6), Illinois (Sept. 27-All University/Varsity "S" Day), Michigan (Oct. 18-Homecoming), Indiana (Nov. 15) and Michigan State (Nov. 22).
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, interested parties can call 1-800-648-8269 (1-800-NITTANY). For additional information on club seats, call 863-3143 in the Centre Region and ask for Bob White.
Penn State earned a 9-4 record this past season and has won 31 of its last 40 contests, tied for No. 8 in the nation over that span. The Nittany Lions were ranked No. 25 in the final USA Today Coaches poll, earning their 33rd Top 25 finish under Joe Paterno. The Hall of Fame coach enters his 43rd season with 18 returning starters (8 offense, 8 defense, 2 specialists).