It's safe to say the hours leading up to Saturday's Penn State-Pitt kickoff were not the game day experience Penn State wanted.
Long before a lightning delay pushed back the start time 35 minutes to 12:40 p.m., many fans were wondering if they'd make it to Beaver Stadium before the 100th meeting between the Nittany Lions and Panthers got underway.
Penn State's new traffic and parking system, an early kickoff and a big crowd with all advance parking already sold out made for the perfect storm to create game day gridlock. While complaints rolled in before and after Penn State's first two games of the season, fans were far more vocal about the traffic issues before game 3.
Lots opened at 6:30 a.m., and some tailgaters were already lining up to get in during the pre-dawn hours. But later in the morning, particularly after one-way traffic patterns went into effect at 8:30 a.m. but even before, motorists encountered miles-long backups on seemingly every route to the stadium.
Traffic was just as bad coming from the south.
It wasn't any better closer to the stadium
Penn State Athletics replied that "The staff who have been working with our local and state police as well as SP+ are encouraged by all the positives this plan brings to traffic flow and fan safety."
Longtime Penn State football beat writer Neil Rudel of the Altoona Mirror called it "the worst pre-game traffic," he has seen in more than 40 years of covering the team.
Others expressed frustration and said traffic was unlike anything they've encountered in the past.