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The brief history of Penn State’s White Out, one of the best atmospheres in football

With one color, Beaver Stadium transforms into an incredible chromatic experience.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

Penn State’s Beaver Stadium seats over 106,000 people. It gets really rockin’.

And the Nittany Lions turn it up a notch when they call for a white out. That’s the directive for fans Saturday against Ohio State.

The white out started in 2004 with a game against Purdue.

Plenty of stadiums have their own versions of [insert color]-out looks. It seems like every NBA Playoff game has a group of fans with color-coordinated t-shirts on their seats.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

It gets everyone hype, including coach James Franklin.

“The only thing I like more than Christmas is a ‘White Out’ football game,” Franklin said at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “I'm jacked up like I am every year, because the environment is special. I think Beaver Stadium on a normal game day is a top-five atmosphere. A ‘White Out’ gameday is something you don't really understand unless you can come experience it for yourself.”

Penn State’s student section began doing the White Outs in 2004, but the full-stadium experience is so much cooler, and that version started in 2007.

Besides 2010, White Out conditions have been scheduled in every season since.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

The Nittany Lions are 7-7 in White Out games in general, and 5-5 in full-stadium white outs.

Via Bill Connelly:

Penn State White Out results

Season Opponent W/L Score Spread Diff
Season Opponent W/L Score Spread Diff
2004 No. 9 Purdue L 13-20 +9.5 2.5
2005 No. 6 Ohio State W 17-10 +3.5 3.5
2006 No. 4 Michigan L 10-17 +5 -2
2007 Notre Dame W 31-10 -17.5 3.5
2008 No. 22 Illinois W 38-24 -15.5 -1.5
2009 Iowa L 10-24 -9.5 -20.5
2010 Michigan W 41-31 +3 7
2011 No. 3 Alabama L 11-27 +10 -6
2012 No. 9 Ohio State L 23-35 +0 -12
2013 No. 18 Michigan W 43-40 (OT) +2.5 5.5
2014 No. 13 Ohio State L 24-31 (OT) +14 7
2015 No. 14 Michigan L 16-28 +4 -8
2016 No. 2 Ohio State W 24-21 +19.5 22.5
2017 No. 19 Michigan W 42-13 -9.5 19.5
2018 No. 4 Ohio State +4.5

And they’re 2-2 in these games against Ohio State. If you don’t remember how 2016’s went against Ohio State, let me jog your memory.

There’s just something about a full stadium in white at night.

It’s cool enough in the day. But at night, it’s really cool, because of the contrast.

Penn State doesn’t do t-shirts layouts, either. If you want the White Out shirt, you have to buy it. It certainly helps that Penn State has a dominant color like white, because all fans have gear in that color, but fans have to actually put in effort to create an imposing atmosphere. It’s nothing that the team goes out of its way to do.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

It wasn’t always white, either.

Back in 2004, when the tradition really began to take off, Penn State students tried out what they referred to as “code blue,” in addition to a white-out that season. It was quite serious.

Student volunteers called "room raiders" are expected to go door-to-door in an effort to make sure students remember the noon start and to wear Blue.

More than 20,000 students dressed in white spearheaded raucous crowds that disrupted Purdue and Iowa at Penn State home games earlier this season. During the Nittany Lions' games with Purdue and Iowa, the Penn State student section responded to the initial "White Out," with 99 percent wearing white and raising the decibel level that made it difficult for the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes to change plays at the line of scrimmage.

Thankfully, the blue didn’t stick. Nittany Lions fans made white work for them that season, and have continued ever since.

Ohio State v Penn State Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images