Penn State ain't letting a great opportunity slip through its fingertips ... TMZ Sports has learned the school will capitalize on the "Chad Powers" craze -- with plans to sell merch this weekend on the heels of Eli Manning's hilarious bit at the university.
A spokesperson for the school said T-shirts with Eli/Powers' images on them will hit the Beaver Stadium bookstore on Saturday. They'll be available at trailer locations during the Nittany Lions' home game against Central Michigan as well.
The shirts are hilarious -- they feature the character and jersey number from Manning's "Eli's Places" episode earlier this week.
If you missed it -- click play right now ... the skit is laugh-out-loud funny, showing Manning caking on makeup and donning a wig in order to "try out" for PSU's football team.
In addition to the shirts, a PSU official tells us there will also be a Chad Powers-themed promotion going on at the school's Beaver Stadium Block Party on Saturday.
At the event, if people run faster than 5.49 seconds in a 40-yard dash (the time Manning recorded as Powers during the workout), they'll get a free Powers T-shirt!