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UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., April 30, 2007 ?C Penn State??s loyal and enthusiastic fans annually are among the nation??s best in supporting the Nittany Lions during the season and this year the record-setting crowd at the Blue-White Game has earned a similar ranking.
A record crowd, estimated at 71,000 fans, converged on Beaver Stadium for the April 21 contest. The attendance was third-highest in the nation for a spring football game, according to figures compiled by the National Football Foundation.
Penn State surpassed 40,000 fans for the Blue-White Game for the ninth time in the past 12 years, with rainy conditions during the other three contests. The previous attendance mark was 62,000 in 1996.
Penn State was joined by Alabama (92,138) and Ohio State (75,301) as the only other schools across the nation to draw more than 55,000 fans to their spring football game this year. Nebraska (54,288) and Notre Dame (51,852) were the only other schools above 50,000. Michigan State (25,000) was the only other Big Ten Conference team to draw more than 20,000 to its spring game.
??The crowd was unbelievable,?? stated senior wide receiver Terrell Golden, winner of the Red Worrell Award. ??It was the best crowd since I have been here for a spring game. It was a beautiful day. It was just exciting. You see all the hard work pay off. You go to practice everyday and you are tired, but then you come out here and see all the support from the fans and it reassures you to what you are working towards.??
Many in the huge crowd at this year??s Blue-White Game wore orange and maroon in tribute to the victims of the recent tragedy at Virginia Tech. A student section 800-strong formed a large block ??VT?? with colored shirts in the stands and the Blue Bland played ??Amazing Grace?? following a moment of silence. Junior tackle Gerald Cadogan (Portsmouth, Ohio) represented the Penn State players and coaches in addressing the crowd with a message of support for Virginia Tech prior to kickoff.
Thousands of other fans wore maroon or orange shirts, as did the Blue Band.
The Blue-White Game is the highlight of Blue-White Weekend Presented by PHEAA.
Penn State??s football fans have finished among the top four in Division I-A attendance for 16 consecutive years. During the 2006 season, the Nittany Lions drew 752,972 for seven home games for an average of 107,567 per game, second-highest in the nation and in program history.