2019 By Elijah J. Hermitt

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PennLive

Starting in the 2015 season, my sophomore year at Penn State, until I graduated in 2018, I was the Penn State football beat videographer for PennLive (The Patriot News of Harrisburg, PA).  During my time I covered (and ran the Snapchat Story) at home games, the Pinstripe Bowl game at Yankee Stadium, Big Ten Media Days in Chicago, weekly practice, and a handful of riots in downtown State College. It was this role that gave me the firsthand, in-the-field experience necessary to prepare myself for the pursuit of documentary film as a career.

Saquon Barkley plays reporter and interviews teammates 

University Park, Pennsylvania

One of the best parts of my job with PennLive was the level of intimacy one can develop with the players, who, as fans often forget, are just kids. During the team photo day prior to the 2016 season, Saquon Barkley, now one of the biggest names in college football, took me along as his cameraman to interview his teammates.

Keegan-Michael Key makes the playcall

University Park, Pennsylvania

Penn State alumnus and comedian/actor Keegan Michael Key stopped by the annual Blue-White scrimmage to be a guest coach alongside James Franklin. In this video, Coach Key calls in some pretty elaborate plays to his players on the sidelines. From "Tapered elephant" to "Banjo, 60, boogaloo," Key was not only entertaining but also kind to every fan who wanted to take a photo or say hello.

Students riot and smash lamp post State College, Pennsylvania

As the final seconds of Penn State's improbable 28-point comeback win over Wisconsin in the 2016 Big Ten Championship game ticked away, I looked out the window to see a flood of students moving toward the infamous "Canyon" of downtown State College. Without hesitation, I grabbed my camera and headed into the belly of the beast. One of the more shocking scenes I captured was a group of students marching a 15-foot lamp post down Beaver Avenue, gently setting it down, only to be smashed to bits by another passerby. 

Students storm the field 

University Park, Pennsylvania

After a dramatic upset, complete with a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown to topple the then second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State fans stormed the field. Jubilant die-hards seemed equal parts euphoric for the triumph of their own team and delighted about the demise of their rivals.

Police use tear gas on rioting students

State College, Pennsylvania

During the riots following Penn State's 2016 Big Ten Championship win, police armed with riot gear began to spray tear gas on the rowdy and destructive student body. Through the chaos as my eyes began to water, I lifted my camera above the masses and turned it behind me as I ran away from the danger.

Photo by Joe Hermitt, used with permission