UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- It will be a memorable day on Saturday when Penn State (1-0) opens its 55th season in Beaver Stadium, hosting Akron (1-0) at noon.
James Franklin, named Penn State's 16th head football coach in January, will be coaching his first game on the Beaver Stadium sidelines on Saturday. During the game, there will be a community heroes recognition.
Gameday parking lots will open this Saturday at 7 a.m. The Nittany Lions will debut a new stadium arrival. The team will arrive at the intersection of Curtin and Porter Roads at 9:30 a.m. to walk to Beaver Stadium's south tunnel through an aisle of fans and family. Members of the Penn State Blue Band, cheerleaders and the Lionettes will help welcome the team in a pep rally along Curtin road starting at 9 a.m.
The student gate will open at 10 a.m. and stadium public gates will open at 10:30 a.m. The Beaver Stadium ticket office, located near Gate E, will open at 8 a.m. Penn State students from all campuses can buy two tickets for $40 apiece, with a valid ID, at the stadium box office on Saturday.
At halftime, approximately 50 members of Penn State's undefeated 1994 team will be introduced as part of their 20th reunion weekend. The 1994 Nittany Lions were the Big Ten Conference's first 12-0 team, winning the Big Ten Championship and defeating Oregon to win the 1995 Rose Bowl. The '94 squad averaged a Big Ten record 48.1 ppg in eight conference games, a record that still stands, and its 47.0 ppg average for all games ranks fifth overall in Big Ten history and the most in the conference's modern era.
The 1994 Penn State squad produced five first-team All-Americans, four of whom are scheduled to be in attendance Saturday: tight end Kyle Brady, tailback Ki-Jana Carter, quarterback and co-captain Kerry Collins and guard Jeff Hartings. The fifth All-American, wide receiver Bobby Engram, is an assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens and unable to attend. Carter recently was selected for induction into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.
Among the other 1994 Nittany Lions scheduled to attend on Saturday are co-captains Brian Gelzheiser, Bucky Greeley, Willie Smith and Vin Stewart, as well as: Mike Archie, Gerald Filardi, Matt Fornadel, Andre Johnson, Todd Kulka, Brian Milne, Joe Nastasi, Jim Nelson, Tony Pittman, Marco Rivera, Stephen Pitts, Wally Richardson, Brad Scioli, Freddie Scott, Mark Tate and Jon Witman.
Among the other improvements and changes in and around Beaver Stadium this season:
- New HD videoboards in the north and south end zones will make their Saturday, replacing videoboards that were installed prior to the 2000 and 2001 seasons, respectively. The videoboards are 156' x 42' and will feature closed captioning. The north video display board is 152' x 37' and the south video display board is 122' x 37' due to the speakers for the stadium system on both ends of the board. Back lit Nittany Lion logos measuring 35' by 25' and weighing 6,500 pounds were installed on the back of the videoboards in May.
The new videoboards are the second and third of the latest generation to be produced, with the first one having been installed at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.
- An additional 300 paved parking spaces have been added to the southwest corner of the existing Stadium West parking lot. The project also added a new sidewalk along the northbound side of University Drive between Curtin Road and Park Avenue, and new LED lighting for the entire Stadium West lot.
- A new ADA parking lot has been established at Innovation Park in an effort to centralize the parking location for ADA patrons. Shuttle service for ADA patrons will begin at least three hours before kickoff at all home games, 8 a.m. this Saturday, dropping the fans off in the first row of Lot 44, immediately south of Beaver Stadium.
The post-game shuttle service to return fans to the ADA parking lot will run for as long as there is a waiting line up until two hours after the game ends. Non-ADA fans are welcome to park in Innovation Park and use the shuttle service.
- New signage has been placed inside Beaver Stadium directing fans to the color coded lightning evacuation routes out of the stadium, as well directing fans to Police Services and Emergency Management Services (EMS).
Fans attending Nittany Lion home games are reminded of the below items:
- Fans purchasing single game tickets are encouraged to purchase parking in advance for $10 by calling 1-800-NITTANY, weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. at least 10 days prior to the game, or Friday at the Bryce Jordan Ticket Center, to avoid the gameday rate of $40; - Fans are asked to please display their parking permit in the lower driver's side of the windshield as you enter the traffic pattern. Cars are sorted in traffic by University Police to lanes leading to appropriate lots; - Please approach the lot as directed on the back of your parking permit; - Please come early and arrive at the gates early; - The Family Friendly lot (no alcohol permitted) is located the intersection of Park Avenue and University Drive and should be accessed traveling East on Park Avenue; - Fan assistance is provided by game day staff, by texting the word "Nittany" your issue and location to the phone number 69050, or by calling 1-800-NITTANY after 7 a.m. - The overnight RV lot opens Thursdays at 6 p.m. and can be accessed via Orchard Road off Park Avenue.
For parking maps and a complete list of items prohibited from entry into Beaver Stadium, fans should review the Beaver Stadium Parking and Information guide at GoPSUsports.com's Penn State Football Gameday Central at: bit.ly/1lBKB6R
Penn State football season and single tickets are available. More than 6,000 new season tickets and more than 1,100 partial season and 55,000 single game tickets have been sold for the 2014 season. Ticket purchases and information is available at www.PSUnrivaled.com or fans can call 1-800-NITTANY (648-8269) weekdays from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Pre-paid single game parking passes for the general parking lots are also available at www.GoPSUsports.com/tickets.
The Penn State-Akron game will air on ABC or ESPN2, the Penn State Sports Network and GoPSUsports.com.