Penn State broke a five-game losing streak with a 67-51 win over Nebraska at the Bryce Jordan Center Saturday. But despite seeing their team emerge victorious for only the third time in 13 Big Ten outings, the denizens of the student section let out a collective groan when the final buzzer sounded.
They were hungry for more.
Penn State reached 67 points with 2:22 left in the game before coach Pat Chambers cleared his bench. The Lions did not score the rest of the way, and dribbled out the final 13 seconds without even attempting a shot.
It was a nice show of sportsmanship. But it also cost fans in attendance free hamburgers. Thanks to a promotional deal with McDonald's, every time Penn State reaches 70 points in a game, those in attendance can redeem their used tickets for a free Big Mac.
Hence the groans from the student section, which was part of the team's biggest home crowd of the year (13,103).
“I wanted them to get the Big Macs,” Chambers said after the game. “I just didn't want to do that to Doc (Sadler, Nebraska's coach).”
But as it turned out, the students didn't go hungry after all. Always looking for creative promotional angles in his first season at the helm of the Lions, Chambers decided to foot the bill for 200 Big Macs.
He and members of his staff showed up at the McDonald's on College Avenue in downtown State College Wednesday afternoon to go behind the counter and hand out the free sandwiches to anyone with a ticket from Saturday's game or a T-shirt from the student section, which has been tabbed “Nittany Nation.”
Donning a Penn State basketball jacket and Shamrock Shake hat, Chambers shook hands with each student as he handed them a Big Mac. He signed autographs and posed for photos. And he made a point of asking each one of them to attend Thursday night's home game with Iowa.
“I just felt like the students were kind of bummed out that we didn't shoot the last shot,” Chambers said. “So on Monday I was thinking, I want to do something nice, and get them a meal. They're always supporting the program. I want them to come back out and to support the team because they're working hard and they deserve a good crowd.”
The 42-year-old admitted to never having served Big Macs before.
“But I've had my share of 'em,” he said with a laugh.
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