New Era Begins at Penn State Home-Opener

Penn State fans tell NBC10 this game means so much more than a regular season opener

For the first time in four decades, the Penn State Nittany Lions will open their football season without Joe Paterno.

But there will be some members of the Paterno family watching from the stands. According to the Patriot News, Sue Paterno and other family members will attend the home-opener against Ohio University.

The season is being billed as the start of a new era.

Penn State alumni and students already started camping out outside Beaver Stadium Friday afternoon. Tents have been pitched in the area that used to be called "Paternoville." It's now being referred to as "Nittanyville."

This is just one of many changes to Penn State football, following the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

When the team steps out on the field, they will be wearing new uniforms that will feature each player's name. New head coach Bill O'Brien says the change was important so that fans would know which players stuck with the team after strict penalties from the NCAA, including scholarship cuts and a four-year bowl ban. More than 90 percent of the roster stayed on.

Each player's helmet will feature a blue ribbon to show support for child abuse victims.

Here's a change fans can expect from the sidelines. Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" has been a game time tradition, but in the interest of a fresh start, the song is being ditched.

There will be a new tradition after every home game where the Nittany Lions will sing the school's alma mater with the band.

Saturday's home opener against Ohio University starts at noon. Follow NBC10's John Clark on Twitter @johnclarkNBC10 for real-time reports from the game.

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