The crowd was just looking for a reason to explode. Rival Michigan was in the building, and the Rec Hall faithful had not sent the perennial Big Ten champs home with a loss in more than two decades.
The Penn State women's gymnastics fans clapped and applauded in support through the first four vault routines, but failed to lift themselves off the cold, wood bleachers.
Sharaya Musser changed that. She made Rec Hall rise to its feet. And after that, she never gave the fans another reason to sit down.
In a meet that meant everything to the seniors, it was the freshman Musser who led the No. 17 Nittany Lions to a season-high 196.725 and first-place finish.
For the past two seasons, it's been a given that senior star Brandi Personett was going to win the vault -- if not the entire meet -- at least among the rest of the Lions.
Last week, Musser tied Personett for first place; this week, there would be no such thing.
Musser jetted down the vault runway and launched off the horse into the air. Musser twisted and turned before finally landing on the mat. There was no semblance of a flinch, stumble or hop. Musser had stuck it and the crowd jumped up to salute the effort.
Musser scored a 9.975, meaning one judge felt her routine was worthy of a perfect 10.000.
"I've been focusing on sticking that landing," Musser said. "I finally did it and held it for a second like, 'Yeah, I got this landing.' "
Musser used that momentum from her near flawless vault to carry her through the final three events of the all-around. Musser finished with a 39.600, a freshman record at Penn State.
"Sharaya was amazing, literally out from the gate on vault," Personett said. "She carried it through to the very end. That's what she's been capable of all year."
It couldn't have come at a better time for the No. 17 Lions, who were reeling from last weekend's season-low 193.850 and a season-ending injury to sophomore All-American Whitney Bencsko.
Coach Steve Shephard expected Musser to compete in the all-around from the onset of the season, but a preseason foot injury sapped her endurance and cost her the opportunity to compete on floor.
Last weekend, Musser performed in the all-around for just the second time and scored a 39.150. Though that was a solid score, with the absence of Bencsko this week, Musser knew she had to take her routine to the next level.
"I did some of this for Whitney," Musser said. "I knew that there was no room for mistakes, so I really focused on my cues."
Senior Casey Rohrbaugh summed Musser's timely performance up best.
"She was a saving grace."