Truckin’ with the Tigers: Penn State

FB: Truckin' with the Tigers (Penn State)

Football By: Jeff Shearer

What’s it like to travel with Auburn football? Senior writer Jeff Shearer is going to give fans a look behind the curtain this season as he tags along with the team for road games in a new series called “Truckin’ with the Tigers.”

There will be road trips to LSU and Texas A&M, but first up is a trek to Big Ten country and State College, Pennsylvania, where the Tigers will do battle with Penn State on Saturday. The game is slated to kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT and will be televised on ABC. 

Stay locked in here for updates throughout the weekend. 

Football: Auburn helmet (Penn State)

SATURDAY: STORMTROOPERS

When the Tigers arrive at Beaver Stadium two hours before kickoff, their uniforms will be waiting for them, thanks to the hard work of Auburn’s equipment team.

Auburn’s equipment truck departed on Thursday for the 868-mile, 15-hour drive to Penn State, one day earlier than normal for an SEC road trip.

When the team plane arrived Friday afternoon, associate athletic director Dana Marquez and his staff set up the locker room.

“A lot of checklists and making sure you don’t forget anything,” Marquez said.

Auburn unveiled a first-of-its-kind surprise Saturday morning on social media: white facemasks to complete what fans refer to as the “Stormtrooper” uniform, something Marquez and head coach Bryan Harsin cooked up.
 
“We wanted to surprise the team,” said Marquez, who sought and received approval from Auburn’s administration and football team. “Obviously, we don’t want to upset our fan base.
 
“It was something that was very well-received by our players. Really excited to see what it looks like on the field.” 

FRIDAY: WHEELS UP

The Tigers departed from the Auburn Athletic Complex just before noon Friday, bound for the Columbus airport to board a Boeing 757 for the 90-minute flight to State College, Pennsylvania.

Most of the Delta Air Lines flight attendants on the Auburn crew have been traveling with the Tigers for the past decade, including Teresa Love, in her 42nd year assisting Delta passengers.

“I love the team, love the players, it’s the Auburn family,” said Love, whose son is an Auburn University graduate who contributed to the 2010 national championship team as a student worker helping with football video. “I enjoy being part of that excitement.”

Football: Travel to Penn State

When the Tigers landed in Pennsylvania at 4:15 p.m. ET, a small contingent of Auburn fans was there to greet them, one waving a large Auburn flag. 

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin detoured on his way to the bus to thank the welcome party. 

After a 10-minute bus ride to Auburn’s hotel, Harsin conducted an interview with Holly Rowe, who will report from the sidelines Saturday when the Tigers and Nittany Lions kick off at 6:30 p.m. CT on ABC.

“I’m the luckiest person in the world because I get to be down on the sidelines in this crazy, wonderful environment,” said Rowe, who attended practice on the Plains on Wednesday. “I’m really excited for Auburn fans and the players to get to experience a whiteout. It’s one of the best spectacles in sports.”

Rowe came away impressed with Auburn running backs Tank Bigsby and Jarquez Hunter, who have combined to rush for 498 yards in two games.

“I think I learned that Auburn is back to being Auburn,” Rowe said, “and that means running the ball.”

After dinner, position meetings, a movie and a late-night snack, the Tigers will rest up for Saturday night’s top 25 showdown, with college football fans from coast to coast tuned in to the see the SEC battle the Big Ten.

Football: Travel to Penn State

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jeff_shearer
 

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