Diehard Fans Preparing for Overseas Season Opener

By Ali Ingersoll

Published 08/20 2014 11:32PM

Updated 08/20 2014 11:56PM

College football season is right around the corner. For the Penn State Nittany Lions and around 6,000 of their fans, it's all the way across the pond for the season opener.

When first year coach, James Franklin, takes the field with his 2014 Nittany Lions, he'll be making history as the first Penn State coach to play in a foreign country.

The game at Croke Park Field is August 30th and the team and staff are working hard to give fans what they hope is one of the greatest shows in college football.

"I'm excited," says Gene Stocker, a lifelong Penn State fan who is heading to Ireland for the game. "My family is excited to be there and share this experience."

Stocker and five of his family members are flying into Rome to see the Vatican before heading to Dublin for the game. He says as he is getting some last minute items, he keeps running into more people preparing to travel overseas to check out the team.

"I'd be really surprised if the noise created by the Penn State fans doesn't completely drown out the fans of the 'other team'," says Stocker, smirking.

This first time experience comes with a hefty price tag but Stocker says he feels like it's worth it.

"[I see it as] an opportunity to see a different country - a country that is kind of intriguing and beautiful," says Stocker.  "And also see our favorite football team in action."

Collegiate Athletic Travel sold all 700 of their packages for the trip by December. The company's president says the average cost for the trip - with round trip airfare, tickets to the game and a few other excursions - comes in around $2500.

"It's just such a unique trip," says Joel Malnick, Collegiate Athletic Travel's president and founder.  "In all the years we've been doing programs for Penn State football - which is around 40 - we haven't had anything that resembles this for a travel program that we could do."

The Penn State Football team will have a chance to travel and experience Ireland but they're there for one main reason - to win.

"This is really a business trip," says Jeff Nelson, Penn State Athletic's Assistant Director of Communications.

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