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May 4, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., May 4, 2009 – 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 76,500 fans, converged on Beaver Stadium on April 25 under sunny, 80-degree conditions. The attendance was fourth-highest in the nation for a spring football game.
The crowd of 76,500 marked the third consecutive year the Blue-White attendance record has fallen, with an estimated 73,000 fans attending in last year and 71,000 in 2007. More than 40,000 fans have attended the Blue-White game in 11 of the past 14 years, with rainy conditions during the other three contests.
Penn State was joined by Ohio State (95,722), Alabama (84,050) and Nebraska (77,670) as the only other schools across the nation to draw more than 65,000 fans to their spring football game this year.
The Blue-White Game is the highlight of Blue-White Weekend presented by Donate Life Pennsylvania.
Sports Illustrated calls Beaver Stadium on football Saturdays "The Greatest Show in College Football." Among the most vociferous and passionate fans are more than 21,000 students who were rated No. 1 in the nation by ESPN the Magazine in 2008.
Penn State’s energetic football fans have finished among the top four in Division I-A attendance for 18 consecutive years. During the 2008 season, the Nittany Lions drew 757,775 for seven home games for an average of 108,254 per game, second-highest in the nation and in program history.
Penn State has earned one of the nation's Top 10 records since the start of the 2005 season, posting a 40-11 (78.4) mark, good for No. 9 nationally. The Nittany Lions won the 2008 Big Ten title, finishing No. 8 in the nation with an 11-2 record.
Entering his 44th season as head coach and 60th on the Penn State coaching staff, Coach Joe Paterno returns 37 letterwinners and 10 starters for the 2009 campaign. The Nittany Lions host Akron on Sept. 5 to open the 2009 season.