The Penn State Nittany Lions were given a holiday gift that keeps on giving. The gift comes in the form of trip to New York City for the first time since 1947, where the Lions will face old rival Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 27. The game kicks off at 4:30 p.m. ET in Yankee Stadium and will air on ESPN.
The Lions (6-6) were originally banned from bowl games for four years in 2012 as a result of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. The NCAA lifted Penn State’s ban in September, allowing the school to potentially become eligible for a bowl game if they won the required six regular season games.
The Pinstripe Bowl will mark the 24th all-time meeting between the two teams (PSU leads all-time series 19-4). Boston College (7-6) has won the last three meetings.
First-year head coach James Franklin will be leading a team to a bowl game for the fourth straight season (previous three with Vanderbilt), and has won his last two. This is Franklin’s fourth year as an FBS head coach.
Penn State is tied for No. 9 in the nation with 45 bowl-game appearances. The Nittany Lions’ 27 post-season victories are tied for No. 4 nationally with Texas and Georgia, and leads the Big Ten conference. With a bowl-game record of 27-15-2, Penn State has a winning percentage of 63.6 in bowl games, ranking No. 3 nationally among teams that have played in at least 20 post-season games. USC (66.7) and Ole Miss (65.7) are the only two schools that have better winning percentages.
The Nittany Lions are 4-3 in their last seven bowl game appearances. Their victories include the 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl (Florida State), 2007 Outback Bowl (Tennessee), 2007 Alamo Bowl (Texas A&M) and 2010 Capital One Bowl (LSU). Their losses include the 2009 Rose Bowl (USC), 2011 Outback Bowl (Florida), and 2012 TicketCity Bowl (Houston).
Penn State vs. Boston College All-Time Series:
The teams first met in 1949, where the Nittany Lions defeated the Eagles 32-14. Boston College won the last meeting between the two in 2004, 21-7, in Alumni Stadium. Penn State leads the all-time series 19-4, which includes a 2-1 mark in games played in a neutral site (all in Foxboro, Mass.). From 1981-92, the teams faced each other every year. The Nittany Lions and the Eagles played in a home-and-home series from 2003-04.
Penn State games in NYC:
Penn State will play in New York City for the eighth time overall. The last time the Lions played in New York City was during their unbeaten 1947 season, a 75-0 win over Fordham at the Polo Grounds. Penn State has played three other games at the Polo Grounds: against Georgia Tech in 1927 (28-7), Syracuse in 1922 (0-0) and NYU in 1941 (42-0). The Lions also loss at NYU, 7-0, in 1929.
Penn State has played twice in the old Yankee Stadium which includes a 13-13 tie with West Virginia in 1923 and a 16-7 loss against Georgia Tech in 1925.
The Nittany Lions own an 11-3 record in games played at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Sports Complex, including a 10-3 record at Giants Stadium and 1-0 mark at Metlife Stadium. The game at Metlife Stadium opened the team’s 2013 season, a 23-17 win over Syracuse.
Penn State vs. ACC Teams:
Penn State has a 148-86-10 all-time record against schools that are currently members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Lions have played every team in the ACC except for Duke and Virginia Tech. In bowl games, they are 3-2-1 against ACC teams, the most recent game coming in a 26-23 triple-overtime win over Florida State in the 2006 FedEx Orange Bowl.
Penn State has currently 39 players who were on the roster when the NCAA hit the school with sanctions in 2012, stemming from the Sandusky Scandal. The Lions were able to stay competitive for the following two seasons under former coach Bill O’Brien, thanks to a strong 2012 recruiting class that included quarterback Christian Hackenberg.
Boston College enters the matchup on a three-game winning streak and is playing in the postseason for the 14th time in 16 seasons.
The Pinstripe Bowl is in its fifth year and its first of an eight-year agreement with the Big Ten. This is the first Pinstripe Bowl appearance for either team.
*Section Photo credit to Jamie Sabau, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Matthew O’Haren, USA Today Sports.