It was cloudy and overcast before Penn State (4-2) faced No. 24 Northwestern (5-1) on homecoming weekend. Only half of the student section was seated before the noon kickoff.
But after the Nittany Lions' wild, come-from-behind 39-28 win against previously undefeated Northwestern, Happy Valley was, well, happy again.
"Who knows where it's going to end up," coach Bill O'Brien said. "But these guys are playing hard and it's fun to see the smile on their faces."
These Nittany Lions began the season 0-2. But under O'Brien, they have fought back. Down 11 points in the fourth quarter on Saturday, Matt McGloin led Penn State's offense to three scores in the final 9:36.
The Nittany Lions have won their last four games by an average of 19 points. They have demonstrated resilience at the most uncertain juncture in the history of their university.
"Part of the pressure on this team is what we do affects the community," kicker Sam Ficken said. "But I think we've embraced that and I think we've done a good job with that, so far. It feels good to get this win."
This was the first homecoming since former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on child sexual-abuse charges. The first homecoming since Joe Paterno was fired, O'Brien took over and the NCAA slammed Penn State with unprecedented sanctions.
Sandusky will be sentenced on Tuesday.
"All of that is about a lot more than football," O'Brien said. "But I think football is just a sport where we've got a lot of great kids who love to go to school here, take pride in playing football for Penn State and have a little part in helping the community."
Thousands of alumni poured into town this weekend, and the routine was the same as usual: A parade, a pep rally, tailgating and football.
"Football is what brings us all together," running back Zach Zwinak said.
After McGloin took a knee in the waning seconds and the Nittany Lions rushed to the end zone, they stood, arms linked over each others' shoulders, and faced the student section.
In what has become a new tradition, they sang the alma mater out loud.
When they got to the line, "May no act of ours bring shame," they sang even louder. Some players even pumped their fists in the air, evoking roars from the crowd.