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Lions happy at home

UNIVERSITY PARK — The Nittany Lions felt good to be home in front of a near full-house.

Saturday’s crowd at Beaver Stadium for the home opener against Ball State drew 105,323 — the largest for a home opener since 2008 (Coastal Carolina).

After enduring a year without fans due to the coronavirus, other than mainly family, the PSU camp felt the support.

“It was emotional,” James Franklin said. “Thursday night you start seeing the RVs coming into town, which is cool. Friday you felt the electricity in town. Saturday driving the blue buses from the hotel over to the stadium and the welcome that we got was unbelievable. I thought the environment was great and had an impact on the game.”

“Having everybody back at Beaver Stadium, you can’t beat it,” quarterback Sean Clifford said.

It was the 300th victory at Beaver Stadium, which opened in 1960. The Lions’ record at Beaver Stadium is 300-77.

Backup plans

Franklin said he wanted to get backup quarterback Ta’Quan Roberson in with nine minutes to go, but Ball State was able to make a couple first downs.

Roberson entered with 6:54 remaining and completed 1-of-2 and connected with tight end Theo Johnson on a 23-yard TD.

“It was important to get him in the game and obviously to be able to throw a touchdown pass was big time so, there’s a lot of value in it,” Franklin said.

Two-way player

Cornerback-receiver Marquis Wilson became the first Penn State player to play both ways in a game since Justin King did it in the 2005 Orange Bowl.

King was on hand Saturday. As a football staff support member, King helped recruit Wilson to PSU. Wilson made one reception.

“He’s my guy,” Wilson said. “It’s a great reward. And the coaches and my brothers on the team trust me to do it. I was honored.”

Notable

- The Nits have now won 11 straight non-conference games in the regular season, dating back to a 2016 loss to Temple.

- ESPN GameDay visits for

Saturday’s game with Auburn.

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