Who needs Thanksgiving when you have Penn State football?
For the final time this regular season, the Onward State crew packed up our things, loaded the car, and headed west to cover a Penn State football game. This time, we headed to Detroit, Michigan, to cover the Land-Grant rivarly game against Michigan State.
The game was held on Black Friday at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions, so there was plenty to see once we arrived in the Motor City. Let’s take a look back at our journey.
Unlike our previous trips, this adventure really began on Thanksgiving. All five of the traveling Onward State crew waved goodbye to the turkey and pumpkin pie before independently making our way back to State College.
The plan was to leave early on Friday, so we drove through the dark Pennsylvania night to an eerily empty State College. We settled into bed in our respective apartments and ready to go for Friday.
Since the game was at night, we did something we usually don’t, which is drive to the destination on gameday. We loaded up our things and hit the road from State College around 8 a.m.
The drive was initially very similar to many of our previous drives. We headed west through the worst state in America, Ohio, and didn’t stop, other than for gas, before making our way across the Michigan border.
Our first stop was at Buddy’s Pizzeria to try some Detroit-style pizza. We had tried the very famous Chicago-style deep-dish pizza only a few weeks earlier, so we were curious to see how they’d compare. I don’t speak for the group, but in my opinion, I actually think the Detroit-style was better.
With some time to kill before the game, we decided to walk around downtown Detroit. This city gets a bad rap, but I actually thought the downtown was fairly nice. It was an interesting blend of art deco architecture, some abandoned storefronts, and newly gentrified buildings.
In our exploration, we found a fun playground that overlooked the Detroit River. We spent some time acting like kids on the swing set as we looked across the river into Canada.
We headed over to Ford Field, arriving enough in advance that it seemed like we were the first people in the stadium. There was something incredibly surreal about being in an NFL stadium, especially alone.
You already know what happens next. Penn State absolutely smoked Michigan State 42-0. Hailey Stutzman and I took lots of photos while the writers enjoyed the view and wrote from Ford Field’s open-air press box.
Since the game was a 7:30 p.m. kickoff, we didn’t get out of the stadium until close to 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. We headed to our boujee hotel outside of the city center before settling in for some much-needed sleep around 2:30 a.m.
We awoke in what felt like only a few hours, ready for our journey back to State College.
Our first stop on the journey home was in Toledo, Ohio, for some food. We tried to get Panera, an Onward State tradition, but the Panera we found was a “to-go only” Panera. Not even knowing that was a thing, we pivoted to a nearby Culver’s.
The rest of our ride was pretty standard. Some people wrote, some people edited photos, and some people slept. We finally escaped Ohio for the final time this year, crossing back into Pennsylvania. Just as the sun set, we made it back to State College where we could sit back and watch the final edition of Pac-12 after dark.
That’s a wrap on our regular-season road trips. It’s been a blast, and we can’t wait for the bowl game.