STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- DaeSean Hamilton vividly recalls his first Penn State whiteout. It was the four-overtime thriller against Michigan in 2013. Hamilton, then in his redshirt year, stood on the sidelines as the Nittany Lions came back to beat the Wolverines, 43-40.
“That was probably the best one,” Hamilton said Tuesday, “the best college football game that I’ve ever been a part of and I’ve ever seen, live and up close and personal.”
When Penn State takes on no. 2 Ohio State Saturday in front of a whiteout crowd, Hamilton won’t be watching from the sidelines. The wide receiver will be front and center.
Now a redshirt junior, Hamilton is a veteran. He began to make an impact in 2014, a season in which he logged 82 catches for 899 yards. Through the first half of this season, Hamilton has recorded 18 receptions for 204 yards and one touchdown.
But the statistics don’t fully represent Hamilton’s impact. At a Tuesday morning press conference, Hamilton wears vintage glasses and speaks calmly, politely. Come Wednesday night, however, the 6-foot-1, 205-pounder will be dancing on the Lasch Building practice field between drills.
On the young Penn State team, Hamilton's experience is invaluable. He has played in games against ranked teams year in and year out and can give the younger players advice on how to approach those matchups.
“I tell the guys at the end of the day, it’s another football game, and it doesn’t matter what they are ranked," Hamilton said. "At the end of the day, they are putting their pads on the way same way you are."
“They might be held to a higher standard, but they are still football players," he added, "and we’ve got to go out and we are just going to give it our best shot.”
During the bye week, Hamilton said he watched a lot of film and focused on the mental aspect of football, “getting my mind right for the rest of the season.”
One thing not on his mind is last month’s 49-10 loss to no. 4 Michigan. While both Ohio State and Michigan are ranked in the top five nationally, Hamilton draws few comparisons between the two.
How did he and his teammates learn from that blowout in Ann Arbor?
“Just taking that lesson of getting beat by another ranked team, a very good opponent,” Hamilton said. "And if you don'want that feeling again, regardless of how good they were, we know how good we are. [Ohio State] just happens to be who we are playing on Saturdays and that’s what we’ve got to treat it like.”