Fans guard Nittany Lion Shrine

Shouts of "We are Penn State" and "Let's get fired up!" could be heard all over campus Friday night — especially at the Nittany Lion Shrine, site of the annual Homecoming vigil.

About 400 students, alumni and fans gathered around the shrine for the vigil, which began at 11 Friday night and lasted until 7 Saturday morning. As part of tradition, the shrine is protected from visiting fans who may attempt to vandalize it.

Initiating cheers was University student John Szkaradnik, who led the crowd from his perch on top of the lion sculpture.

Szkaradnik (junior-accounting) said he began the cheers because no one else had the initiative.

"Everyone was too quiet. They were just standing around," he said.

Lion's Legion arrived just after 11 and led the crowd through its favorite routines. Also on hand to inspire the crowd was the Nittany Lion mascot, and radio station WQWK, who gave a live broadcast from the vigil site.

John McBride (freshman-computer science) had only one word for the University and its football team — "great."

Rob Luckie, a visiter from Carlisle, Pa. said he came to State College this weekend to visit his brother and to see the Homecoming game.

"This is my first time to Penn State, but I've been a Penn State fan all my life," he said.

Phillip Cease, an alumnus from New Jersey, summed up what he felt about the University, the vigil and Homecoming very quickly.

"It's just wonderful," he said.