By Chris Licata

Prior to the 2001 football season Penn State’s Beaver Stadium had a capacity of 93,967 seats. Yet despite the fact that this capacity already put the facility near the top of the lists of largest stadiums in the country and world, the Nittany Lions decided to go bigger. In 2001 an end zone expansion project increased the capacity of Beaver Stadium to a massive 107,282 people – making it the second largest stadium in the country.

Resting in an area known as “Happy Valley,” Beaver Stadium was moved from its original site at Penn State in 1960 and had its capacity increased from 30,000 to 46,284 people. A series of expansions from 1969-1980 further increased its size to 83,770 seats and again in 1991 an upper deck addition over the northern end zone brought the number up to 90,000. Some of the more recent expansions have modernized the stadium to include a club level seating option of 4,000 seats as well as a brand new “Mount Nittany Lounge” located in the southern end of the stadium. . .

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Named after the former Governor of Pennsylvania and President of the University’s board of trustees James Beaver, the stadium have been home to some of college football’s most memorable moments. National championship selections in 1911, 1912, 1982, 1986 and a controversial 1994 season (that year Penn State went 12-0, but due to a commitment to the Rose Bowl, did not face eventual national champion Nebraska – though other independent pollsters acknowledged PSU was a better team) have provided Nittany Lion fans with some terrific memories, but they Penn State faithful are loyal no matter what the season brings.

In 2002 the Nittany Lions went 9-4 and capped their season with a loss to No. 22 Auburn in the Capitol One Bowl. However, that season the Penn State faithful came out in record numbers to support their team. Overall the Nittany Lions attracted an NCAA record 1,257,707 fans over the course of eight home games.

This year the Nittany Lions are coming off a fairly successful campaign that saw them go 10-3 overall, including an impressive 20-10 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers in the Outback Bowl. With a schedule that includes seven home games against some of the top competition in the Big 10 and nationwide. Notre Dame will make an appearance at Beaver Stadium on September 10, No. 7 Wisconsin on October 13 and No. 10 Ohio State on October 27.

Like the other 100,000-plus sized stadiums, tickets for Penn State football in 2007 will be extremely hot. Opening day tickets for the Nittany Lions showdown with the struggling Florida International Golden Panthers (0-12 in 2006), for example, are ranging from a low $30 on some websites to a high of $391 for premiere seats.