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UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The Penn State Football team averaged 106,707 fans per game in the 2017 season to rank third in the NCAA in attendance. The increase of 6,450 fans per game ranked fifth in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
Penn State's 106,707 average attendance is the highest for the program since 2009 when the Nittany Lions had 107,008 fans come through gates on average. The No. 3 national ranking is the highest since the 2010 season when Penn State also finished third in FBS with an average home attendance of 104,234.
Additionally, the increase of 6,450 fans per game is the highest since a 10,642-average jump in 2001 when the stadium capacity increased by more than 12,000 seats to 107,282.
Recognized as one the nation's premier game day atmospheres, the passionate and loyal students, alumni and fans filling Beaver Stadium have Penn State bucking the attendance trends among FBS games nationally, which saw an average per game decline of 1,409 fans this past season.
The 2017 season saw the largest home crowd in Penn State history as a record-breaking 110,823 fans filled the stadium in a 42-13 victory over No. 19/15 Michigan on Oct. 21.
The Nittany Lions' fans have been the difference makers for the last two seasons as Penn State posted back-to-back undefeated home seasons for the first time since 1985 and 1986. Among the recent wins at Beaver Stadium are a pair of top-25 victories over No. 2/2 Ohio State in 2016 and No. 19/15 Michigan in 2017.
"Penn State has the nation's most passionate and enthusiastic fans and the game day experience in and around Beaver Stadium is unrivaled," said Phil Esten, Deputy Director of Athletics. "Penn State Football is resisting national trends due to our great alumni and fans and the unified collaboration between numerous units within Penn State Athletics, including Marketing, Strategic Communications, Creative Services, Ticketing Services and Football and our partners at IMG Learfield Ticketing Solutions."
The Nittany Lions ended the 2017 season 11-2 with a 35-28 win over No. 11 Washington in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. Penn State finished No. 8 in both polls, marking the second-straight season with a top-10 finish for the first time since 2008 and 2009. The Nittany Lions also were No. 9 in the final College Football Playoff rankings. The 11-win season is the 16th in Penn State history and seventh since joining the Big Ten.
Junior running back Saquon Barkley was honored as the Paul Hornung Award winner for the most versatile player in college football, became Penn State's 100th first-team All-American and finished fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 2017. He was the only player in FBS this season with 1,000 rushing yards and 500 receiving yards. His 1,271 rushing yards in 2017 rank 11th in program history, while his 632 receiving yards are the most in school history for a running back.
Junior quarterback Trace McSorley completed 66.5 percent of his passes en route to 3,570 passing yards, which is second in school history behind his 3,614 yards from the 2016 season. McSorley, who was a second-team All-Big Ten selection, has thrown a touchdown pass in 27 consecutive games. He also made plays with his feet, racking up 491 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns.
Defensively, senior safety Marcus Allen earned third team All-America honors from Phil Steele and was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree by the coaches. He was second on the team with 72 tackles and had one interception and two forced fumbles. Fellow senior linebacker Jason Cabinda led the team with 88 tackles, including 2.5 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss on the way to being named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches.
Penn State season ticket renewals and Nittany Lion Club membership renewals are underway for the 2018 Penn State Football season presented by PSECU. The ticket invoice and Nittany Lion Club renewal deadline was Feb. 1. For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing new 2018 season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can visit www.PSUnrivaled.com, call 1-800-NITTANY weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. or visit the Bryce Jordan Center ticket office weekdays from 10 a.m-6 p.m.
More than 4,000 new season tickets have already been sold for the 2018 campaign.