The immediate comparison that comes to mind is the 2005 Ohio State game. What made that night special wasn't just that the game was amazing, it was that we were coming off the worst 5 year stretch of Penn State football in....ever? The "HOLY SHIT WE'RE BACK" feeling permeated through that entire week and up until Tamba's sack at the end. I started at PSU in 1998 and that was the first time I felt like I knew what Penn State football could be and once was.
When the sanctions came down, I knew we'd be back eventually. Whether it was five years or twenty, we were going to have a night like 2005. My wife and I were comparing those games and agreed that 2005 was a better atmosphere. But that's because we took an early lead and the noise never stopped. This time the crowd was dying off in the 3rd quarter. So, no, it wasn't 2005. Maybe that night is coming, maybe not. Regardless, Saturday night was bigger. And while 2000-2004 wasn't fun, 2011-2016 has suuuuuuucked. Our fanbase has been eating itself alive for the majority of Franklin's tenure. Saturday night that team went toe to toe with a juggernaut of a program, got knocked down, and fought the fuck back and brought us all together like nothing else could.