STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) – The 15th White Out in Beaver Stadium is scheduled for Sept. 23 when the Nittany Lions take on Iowa at 8 p.m.
This iconic event that paints Penn State’s stadium white was started in 2004 by Penn State’s director of branding and communications Guido D’Elia. D’Elia came up with the campaign following the winning drought Penn State underwent from 2000-2005 where the Lions only had two winning seasons.
D’Elia was also discouraged after hearing reporters comment that Penn State had an extremely quiet stadium.
D’Elia’s solution to revitalize the spirit of Penn State fans was to hold a White Out game on the Oct. 9, 2004, game against Purdue. He presented the idea and the university urged all of the students to wear white, which many followed. Penn State lost the game 20-13, but the marketing push seemed to work.
Penn State tried using their other signature color and held a “Code Blue” event on Nov. 20, 2004, in the Penn State game against Michigan State. It didn’t stick; the White Out was the more popular event.
The next year, the White Out game was held for the rivalry game against Ohio State on national TV. This time Penn State won, downing the Buckeyes 17-10 and the entire college football world got to witness the student section White Out.
Kirk Herbstreit, an ESPN sportscaster, even declared that Penn State had “the best student section in the country.” D’Elia’s strategy had worked.
Two years later, the first White Out game that included all fans, not just the student section, was held. On Sept. 8, 2007, in front of 110,000 fans all dressed in white Penn State defeated Notre Dame 31-10.
Penn State has played a White Out game every season since 2004, except for the 2020 season due to the pandemic, and is 10-8 in White Out games. The Nittany Lions are currently on a three-game win streak for White Out games after defeating Michigan in 2019, Auburn in 2021, and Minnesota in 2022.
Penn State’s White Out results are as follows:
|2004||No. 9 Purdue||L, 13-20|
|2005||No. 6 Ohio State||W, 17-10|
|2006||No. 4 Michigan||L, 10-17|
|2007||Notre Dame||W, 31-10|
|2008||No. 22 Illinois||W, 38-24|
|2011||No. 3 Alabama||L, 11-27|
|2012||No. 9 Ohio State||L, 23-35|
|2013||No. 18 Michigan||W, 43-40 (4OT)|
|2014||No. 13 Ohio State||L, 24-31 (2OT)|
|2015||No. 14 Michigan||L, 16-28|
|2016||No. 2 Ohio State||W, 24-21|
|2017||No. 19 Michigan||W, 42-13|
|2018||No. 4 Ohio State||L, 26-27|
|2019||No. 16 Michigan||W, 28-21|
|2020||No White Out||No White Out|
|2021||No. 22 Auburn||W, 28-20|
|Sept. 23, 2023||vs. Iowa Hawkeyes|
One of the best White Out moments is the 2016 season when Penn State knocked off No. 2 Ohio State to give James Franklin his first ranked win ever. The students created a white wave when they took to the field after the game.
Other notable games include the 2013 and 2014 season games. The 2013 win over No. 18 Michigan after four overtimes of competition set the record for the longest game in Big Ten history. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg scored the winning touchdown from a handoff to solidify his Nittany Lion legacy.
The 2014 showdown that ended in a loss for Penn State to No. 13 Ohio State is one game Penn State fans wouldn’t mind forgetting, but any overtime game is exciting for football fans.
On a higher note, the 2017 game that ended in a 29-point victory for Penn State over Michigan is one Nittany Lions fans enjoy reminiscing on. It gave Penn State an undefeated 7-0 record on a season that saw them earn a Fiesta Bowl win.
White Out games are a place where football magic happens and are one of, if not the, most anticipated game of the season for Nittany Nation. The countdown to this year’s main event has begun where more history will be written.