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Penn State Fans Rally at Team’s Hotel, Sure Their Lions Will Come Up Roses

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A boisterous rally on the eve of today’s Rose Bowl game drew several thousand Penn State University fans to a parking lot outside the Westin South Coast Plaza, the hotel where the team is staying.

Nittany Lion fans geared up for today’s game with the University of Oregon Ducks during the rowdy, hourlong celebration, which hotel clerks estimated drew about 3,000 Penn State faithful. A 50-pound cake in the shape of the Rose Bowl remained on display in the hotel lobby throughout the day.

Lion fans have traveled from the far corners of the Earth for today’s game. Kim Pfleger, 35, class of ’81, came from her home in China to get married and attend the Rose Bowl.

“We’re a whole family of Lions,” said Pfleger, whose mother, father and sister attended Penn State.

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Frank Annunziato, 35, and his friends--New Yorkers all--did not attend Penn State but came here from the East Coast to cheer them on. Annunziato was in Los Angeles to see one of the players, who grew up in the same town. His friend, Bill Conforti, also 35, came to see a childhood friend, middle linebacker Gerald Filardi.

“They’ll win. They’re favored by 17 points,” Conforti said.

“We’re all saying the Duck stops here,” Annunziato added.

For senior Andrew Nichols, 21, the game is the “culmination of being at Penn State for four years and following football since I was a child.”

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