Penn State Nittany Lions football
Penn State Nittany Lions svg PSUHelmet
First season 1887
Athletic director Tim Curley
Head coach Joe Paterno
Home stadium Beaver Stadium
Stadium capacity 107,282
Stadium surface Grass
Location University Park, Pennsylvania
Conference Big Ten
Division Leaders
All-time record
Postseason bowl record 27–13–2
Claimed national titles 2
Conference titles 3
Heisman winners 1
Consensus All-Americans 39
Current uniform
Colors Blue and White            
Fight song Fight On, State
Mascot Nittany Lion
Marching band Penn State Blue Band
Rivals Ohio State Buckeyes
Michigan Wolverines
Michigan State Spartans
Iowa Hawkeyes
Temple Owls
Website Penn State Football
Penn State text logo svg

Penn State's alternate text logo

Penn State Nittany Lions football is a college football program from Penn State. It competes in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and the Big Ten Conference. It is one of the most tradition-rich and storied college football programs in the United States.[1][2][3] On November 22, 2008, Penn State became the sixth FBS program to win 800 games after defeating Michigan State.[4]

Current coaching staffEdit

Position Name Year Alma mater
Head coach Joe Paterno[5] 1966 Brown (1950)
Offensive coordinator/Running backs Galen Hall[6] 2004 Penn State (1963)
Defensive coordinator/Cornerbacks Tom Bradley[7] 1979 Penn State (1978)
Safeties Kermit Buggs[8] 2003 Norfolk State (1995)
Defensive line Larry Johnson[9] 1999 Elizabeth City State (1973)
Linebackers Ron Vanderlinden[10] 2000 Albion College
Offensive guards/centers Dick Anderson[11] 1999 Penn State (1963)
Offensive tackles/tight ends Bill Kenney[12] 1989 Norwich (1982)
Quarterbacks Jay Paterno[13] 1999 Penn State (1990)
Strength and conditioning John Thomas 1991 Muskingum
Wide receivers/Recruiting Coordinator Mike McQueary[14] 2003 Penn State (1997)


The "S"Edit

In the locker room of the Lasch Football building, there is a large "S" carpeted in white, contrasting against the blue locker room carpet. No one is permitted to step on it or set anything on it for any reason. Many guests of the locker room have accidentally walked over it, and are forced to do 10 push ups by any player, coach, or staff member that happens to see it. Players have had to pay a similar penalty for things like tossing trash, clothes, or equipment on it.


Established during the 2005 football season. Created by students camping out in front of Beaver Stadium one week prior to the rival Ohio State football game October 8, 2005. What started as a few fans gather and camping with their tents is now a strong tradition bringing in thousands of students. Students camp in order to get first row seats in beaver stadium. Joe Paterno, players and the blue band will frequent Paternoville pumping up the students. It has helped bring enthusiasm back to Penn State Football making Happy Valley & Beaver Stadium one of the hardest stadiums for the road team to win.

The Blue BusesEdit

Before home games, players dress in their game uniform at the Lasch Football Building, and are bused over to Beaver Stadium in four plain, blue university buses. First and second team offensive players ride in the first bus, first and second team defensive players ride in the second bus, and the rest of the team follows in the third and fourth buses. Only two seats on any of the four buses are reserved: Joe Paterno rides in the front right of the offensive bus, and his starting quarterback rides in the front left. Quarterbacks coach Jay Paterno has said that if there is ever debate over who will be the starter for any game, look to who gets off the bus second. In this 2010 season Paterno has become the first FBS (Division 1-A) football coach to reach 400 wins in a coaching career.

Success with HonorEdit

Joe Paterno is widely known for his "grand experiment" in which he challenged his players to be successful both on the field and in the classroom. It has since become a trademark of Penn State Football and Penn State Athletics as a whole. In 2010, the Nittany Lion football team posted a 89% graduation rate, the highest of any team ranked in the final AP Top 25, dwarfing the second highest rate of 75%, which was held by Alabama and Miami (FL).


The team is widely noted (along with teams like Notre Dame and Alabama) for their simple game uniforms. They only wear white pants, and the jerseys are simple blue with white trim for home games, and white with blue trim for away games. The team is only allowed to wear simple black Nike shoes with white calf socks for game days, though blue tights are permitted underneath the white socks for cold weather games. The helmet is white with a blue stripe down the center, and a blue on white "Penn State" sticker covers up the forehead helmet logo. No team logos, conference logos, numbers, or other stickers are permitted on the helmet, though two Nike logos are on facemask visors that some players choose to wear. Penn State has started to wear bowl decals only starting with 1997 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Before that, Penn State always declined the decals so they can play out of their simple game uniforms.


Captains are chosen by the team, with Joe Paterno's approval. Being named a captain is an honor almost always given to a senior, but there are some notable exceptions: Linebacker Sean Lee was named a captain in the beginning of Spring practice in 2008, the beginning of his 4th year with the team. However, he suffered a torn ACL during spring practice, redshirted in 2008, and returned as a captain again in 2009. The most recent example of a "true" junior being named was Paul Posluszny, who was named a captain in both 2005 and 2006, his junior and senior years, respectively. The last time a junior was named captain before Posluszny was in 1968, when Steve Smear and Mike Reid were named captains during their junior years.

Linebacker UEdit

Penn State is often referred to as Linebacker U for its reputation of producing outstanding linebackers. Dennis Onkotz was a two time All American in 1968 and 1969, and played on two undefeated teams. Possibly the greatest linebacker in Penn State history, Jack Ham finished his career with 251 tackles, blocked two punts, and went on to played on two undefeated teams. Hamm later went on to the NFL, playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Greg Buttle was a terrifying linebacker during the 1973-1975 seasons, finishing with an astonishing 305 tackles in his junior and senior year. He was drafted by the New York Jets and is apart of the All Jet team. Lavar Arrington was an extremely physical linebacker who was all over the place. Arrington finished with 19 career sacks and 39 tackles for losses. He was later drafted 2nd overall by the Washington Redskins. Paul Posluszny became the face of Penn State football from 2003–2006, and is the definition of Linebacker U. Posluszny won the Dick Butkus Award in 2005 and the Chuck Bednarik Award in 2005 and 2006. He finished with 372 tackles, and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills. Dan Connor finished his career as the all-time leading tackler for Penn State with 419 and was drafted by the Carolina Panthers while Cameron Wake went on to capture MVP honors for the British Columbia Lions in the Canadian Football League before moving on to the Miami Dolphins and leading the National Football League in sacks during the 2010 season. Tamba Hali was the 20th overall pick in the 2006 NFL Draft and led the AFC in sacks during the 2010 NFL season helping the Kansas City Chiefs reach the playoffs.

Notable seasonsEdit

Perfect seasonsEdit

Penn State has had seven undefeated, untied seasons in its history since the program started in 1887:


National championshipsEdit

Penn State has won two consensus national championships, both under Joe Paterno's tenure as coach.


Other national championships selections:

1911 • (National Championship Foundation)

1912 • (National Championship Foundation)

1969 • (Foundation for the Analysis of Competitions and Tournaments, Massey Ratings)

1981 • (Dunkel System, Loren Maxwell, Soren Sorenson, The Fleming System)

1994 • (Billingsley Report, DeVold, Foundation for the Analysis of Competitions and Tournaments, Massey Ratings, Matthews Grid Ratings, National Championship Foundation, New York Times, Sagarin Ratings)

Beaver Stadium list of seasons

The suite boxes on the east side of Beaver Stadium, with the highlighted years (undefeated and championship seasons) added in 2006

Conference championshipsEdit

Since joining the Big Ten Conference in 1990 and beginning play in 1993, Penn State has won three Big Ten championships:


Season-by-season recordsEdit

Year Coach Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
No coach (1887–1891)
1887 None 2–0–0
1888 None 0–2–1
1889 None 2–2–0
1890 None 2–2–0
1891 None 6–2–0
Uncoached era: 12–8–1
George Hoskins (1892–1895)
1892 George Hoskins 5–1–0
1893 George Hoskins 4–1–0
1894 George Hoskins 6–0–1
1895 George Hoskins 2–2–3
George Hoskins: 17–4–4
Samuel Newton (1896–1898)
1896 Samuel Newton 3–4–0
1897 Samuel Newton 3–6–0
1898 Samuel Newton 6–4–0
Samuel Newton: 12–14–0
Sam Boyle (1899–1899)
1899 Sam Boyle 4–6–1
Sam Boyle: 4–6–1
Pop Golden (1900–1902)
1900 Pop Golden 4–6–1
1901 Pop Golden 5–3–0
1902 Pop Golden 7–3–0
Pop Golden: 16–12–1
Dan Reed (1903–1903)
1903 Dan Reed 5–3–0
Dan Reed: 5–3–0
Tom Fennell (1904–1908)
1904 Tom Fennell 6–4–0
1905 Tom Fennell 8–3–0
1906 Tom Fennell 8–1–1
1907 Tom Fennell 6–4–0
1908 Tom Fennell 5–5–0
Tom Fennell: 33–17–1
Jack Hollenback (1910–1910)
1910 Jack Hollenback 5–2–1
Jack Hollenback: 5–2–1
Bill Hollenback (1909, 1911–1914)
1909 Bill Hollenback 5–0–2
1911 Bill Hollenback 8–0–1
1912 Bill Hollenback 8–0–0
1913 Bill Hollenback 2–6–0
1914 Bill Hollenback 5–3–1
Bill Hollenback: 28–9–4
Dick Harlow (1915–1917)
1915 Dick Harlow 7–2–0
1916 Dick Harlow 8–2–0
1917 Dick Harlow 5–4–0
Dick Harlow: 20–8–0
Hugo Bezdek (1918–1929)
1918 Hugo Bezdek 1–2–1
1919 Hugo Bezdek 7–1–0
1920 Hugo Bezdek 7–0–2
1921 Hugo Bezdek 8–0–2
1922 Hugo Bezdek 6–4–1 L 3–14 Rose
1923 Hugo Bezdek 6–2–1
1924 Hugo Bezdek 6–3–1
1925 Hugo Bezdek 4–4–1
1926 Hugo Bezdek 5–4–0
1927 Hugo Bezdek 6–2–1
1928 Hugo Bezdek 3–5–1
1929 Hugo Bezdek 6–3–0
Hugo Bezdek: 65–30–11
Bob Higgins (1930–1948)
1930 Bob Higgins 3–4–2
1931 Bob Higgins 2–8–0
1932 Bob Higgins 2–5–0
1933 Bob Higgins 3–3–1
1934 Bob Higgins 4–4–0
1935 Bob Higgins 4–4–0
1936 Bob Higgins 3–5–0
1937 Bob Higgins 5–3–0
1938 Bob Higgins 3–4–1
1939 Bob Higgins 5–1–2
1940 Bob Higgins 6–1–1
1941 Bob Higgins 7–2–0
1942 Bob Higgins 6–1–1 19
1943 Bob Higgins 5–3–1
1944 Bob Higgins 6–3–0
1945 Bob Higgins 5–3–0
1946 Bob Higgins 6–2–0
1947 Bob Higgins 9–0–1 T 13–13 Cotton 4
1948 Bob Higgins 7–1–1 18
Bob Higgins: 91–57–11
Joe Bedenk (1949–1949)
1949 Joe Bedenk 5–4–0
Joe Bedenk: 5–4–0
Rip Engle (1950–1965)
1950 Rip Engle 5–3–1
1951 Rip Engle 5–4–0
1952 Rip Engle 7–2–1
1953 Rip Engle 6–3–0
1954 Rip Engle 7–2–0 16 20
1955 Rip Engle 5–4–0
1956 Rip Engle 6–2–1
1957 Rip Engle 6–3–0
1958 Rip Engle 6–3–1
1959 Rip Engle 9–2–0 W 7–0 Liberty 10 12
1960 Rip Engle 7–3–0 W 41–12 Liberty 16
1961 Rip Engle 8–3–0 W 30–15 Gator 19 17
1962 Rip Engle 9–2–0 L 7–17 Gator 9 9
1963 Rip Engle 7–3–0 16
1964 Rip Engle 6–4–0 14
1965 Rip Engle 5–5–0
Rip Engle: 104–48–4
Joe Paterno (1966–Present)
1966 Joe Paterno 5–5–0
1967 Joe Paterno 8–2–1 T 17–17 Gator 11 10
1968 Joe Paterno 11–0–0 W 15–14 Orange 3 2
1969 Joe Paterno 11–0–0 W 10–3 Orange 2 2
1970 Joe Paterno 7–3–0 19 18
1971 Joe Paterno 11–1–0 W 30–6 Cotton 11 5
1972 Joe Paterno 10–2–0 L 0–14 Sugar 8 10
1973 Joe Paterno 12–0–0 W 16–9 Orange 5 5
1974 Joe Paterno 10–2–0 W 41–20 Cotton 7 7
1975 Joe Paterno 9–3–0 L 6–13 Sugar 10 10
1976 Joe Paterno 7–5–0 L 9–20 Gator
1977 Joe Paterno 11–1–0 W 42–30 Fiesta 4 5
1978 Joe Paterno 11–1–0 L 7–14 Sugar 4 4
1979 Joe Paterno 8–4–0 W 9–6 Liberty 18 20
1980 Joe Paterno 10–2–0 W 31–19 Fiesta 8 8
1981 Joe Paterno 10–2–0 W 26–10 Fiesta 3 3
1982 Joe Paterno 11–1–0 W 27–23 Sugar 1 1
1983 Joe Paterno 8–4–1 W 13–10 Aloha 17
1984 Joe Paterno 6–5–0
1985 Joe Paterno 11–1–0 L 10–25 Orange 3 3
1986 Joe Paterno 12–0–0 W 14–10 Fiesta 1 1
1987 Joe Paterno 8–4–0 L 10–35 Citrus
1988 Joe Paterno 5–6–0
1989 Joe Paterno 8–3–1 W 50–39 Holiday 14 15
1990 Joe Paterno 9–3–0 L 17–24 Blockbuster 10 11
1991 Joe Paterno 11–2–0 W 42–17 Fiesta 3 3
1992 Joe Paterno 7–5–0 L 3–24 Blockbuster 24
1993 Joe Paterno 10–2–0 6–2–0 3rd W 31–13 Citrus 7 8
1994 Joe Paterno 12–0–0 8–0–0 1st W 38–20 Rose 2 2
1995 Joe Paterno 9–3–0 5–3–0 T–3rd W 43–14 Outback 12 13
1996 Joe Paterno 11–2 6–2 T–3rd W 38–15 Fiesta 7 7
1997 Joe Paterno 9–3 6–2 T–2nd L 6–21 Citrus 17 16
1998 Joe Paterno 9–3 5–3 5th W 26–14 Outback 15 17
1999 Joe Paterno 10–3 5–3 T–4th W 24–0 Alamo 11 11
2000 Joe Paterno 5–7 4–4 T–6th
2001 Joe Paterno 5–6 4–4 T–4th
2002 Joe Paterno 9–4 5–3 4th L 9–13 Capital One 15 16
2003 Joe Paterno 3–9 1–7 T–9th
2004 Joe Paterno 4–7 2–6 9th
2005 Joe Paterno 11–1 7–1 T–1st W 26–23 Orange 3 3
2006 Joe Paterno 9–4 5–3 T–4th W 20–10 Outback 25 24
2007 Joe Paterno 9–4 4–4 T–5th W 24–17 Alamo 25
2008 Joe Paterno 11–2 7–1 T–1st L 24–38 Rose 8 8
2009 Joe Paterno 11–2 6-2 T–2nd W 19-17 Capital One 8 9
2010 Joe Paterno 7–5 4-4 T-4th L 24-37 Outback
Joe Paterno: 401–134–3 90–54–0
Total: 819–356–43
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title
Indicates BCS bowl, Bowl Alliance or Bowl Coalition game. #Rankings from final Coaches' Poll.
°Rankings from final AP Poll.

Note: The AP poll has existed since 1936. The coaches poll, voted on by college head coaches, was published by United Press International from 1950–90, CNN/USA Today from 1991–96, ESPN/USA Today from 1997–2005, and USA Today/Gallup from 2006–present.

Conference affiliationsEdit

Coaching historyEdit

Coach Years Seasons Record Pct. Cnf. Record Pct. Cnf. Titles Bowls Nat. Titles
No coach 1887-91 5 12-8-1 .595 0
George Hoskins 1892-95 4 .760 0
Samuel Newton 1896-98 3 12-14-0 .462 0
Sam Boyle 1899 1 4-6-1 .409 0
Pop Golden 1900-02 3 16-12-1 .569 0
Daniel A. Reed 1903 1 5-3-0 .625 0
Tom Fennell 1904-08 5 33-17-1 .657 0
Bill Hollenback 1909, 1911–14 5 28-9-4 .732 0
Jack Hollenback 1910 1 5-2-1 .688 0
Dick Harlow 1915-17 3 20-8-0 .714 0
Hugo Bezdek 1918-29 12 65-30-11 .665 1 0
Bob Higgins 1930-48 19 91-57-11 .607 1 0
Joe Bedenk 1949 1 5-4-0 .556 0
Rip Engle 1950-65 16 159-48-4 .679 4 0
Joe Paterno 1966–present 45 401-134-3 .748 90-54 .625 3 35 2
Totals 1887–present 124 819-356-43 .691 90-54 .625 3 41 2

Bowl historyEdit

Penn State has earned invitations to 42 bowl games. The Nittany Lions have compiled a record of 27-13-2 (0.643), the second highest winning percentage in Division I FBS, including a 14-6-1 (0.690) record in the major bowls (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, and Cotton).[1]

Current coach Joe Paterno is responsible for most of these bids and victories, compiling more wins (24) and appearances (36) than any other coach in college football history en route to his bowl record of 24-11-1 (0.686). Paterno also has a record of 14-5-0 (0.737) in "major" bowls and is the only coach to have won all five major college bowls during his career.

Bowl appearances by yearEdit

Year* Coach Bowl Game
1923 Hugo Bezdek Lost Rose Bowl
1948 Bob Higgins Tied Cotton Bowl Classic
1959 Rip Engle Won Liberty Bowl
1960 Rip Engle Won Liberty Bowl
1961 Rip Engle Won Gator Bowl
1962 Rip Engle Lost Gator Bowl
1967 Joe Paterno Tied Gator Bowl
1969 Joe Paterno Won Orange Bowl
1970 Joe Paterno Won Orange Bowl
1972 Joe Paterno Won Cotton Bowl Classic
1972 Joe Paterno Lost Sugar Bowl
1974 Joe Paterno Won Orange Bowl
1975 Joe Paterno Won Cotton Bowl Classic
1976 Joe Paterno Lost Sugar Bowl
1976 Joe Paterno Lost Gator Bowl
1977 Joe Paterno Won Fiesta Bowl
1979 Joe Paterno Lost Sugar Bowl
1979 Joe Paterno Won Liberty Bowl
1980 Joe Paterno Won Fiesta Bowl
1982 Joe Paterno Won Fiesta Bowl
1983 Joe Paterno Won Sugar Bowl

Year* Coach Bowl Game
1983 Joe Paterno Won Aloha Bowl
1986 Joe Paterno Lost Orange Bowl
1987 Joe Paterno Won Fiesta Bowl
1988 Joe Paterno Lost Citrus Bowl
1989 Joe Paterno Won Holiday Bowl
1990 Joe Paterno Lost Blockbuster Bowl
1992 Joe Paterno Won Fiesta Bowl
1993 Joe Paterno Lost Blockbuster Bowl
1994 Joe Paterno Won Citrus Bowl
1995 Joe Paterno Won Rose Bowl
1996 Joe Paterno Won Outback Bowl
1997 Joe Paterno Won Fiesta Bowl
1998 Joe Paterno Lost Citrus Bowl

Year* Coach Bowl Game
1999 Joe Paterno Won Outback Bowl
1999 Joe Paterno Won Alamo Bowl
2003 Joe Paterno Lost Capital One Bowl
2006 Joe Paterno Won Orange Bowl
2007 Joe Paterno Won Outback Bowl
2007 Joe Paterno Won Alamo Bowl
2009 Joe Paterno Lost Rose Bowl
2010 Joe Paterno Won Capital One Bowl
2011 Joe Paterno Lost Outback Bowl

* Year corresponds to the calendar year in which the game was played, not necessarily the football season (e.g.: the 2007 Outback Bowl was played during the 2006 season).

Bowl appearances by gameEdit

Bowl # Appearances Record
Alamo Bowl 2 1999, 2008 2-0
Aloha Bowl 1 1983 1-0
Blockbuster Bowl 2 1990, 1993 0-2
Citrus Bowl/Capital One Bowl 5 1988, 1994, 1998, 2003, 2010 2-3
Cotton Bowl Classic 3 1948, 1972, 1975 2-0-1
Fiesta Bowl 6 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997 6-0
Gator Bowl 4 1961, 1962, 1967, 1976 1-2-1
Holiday Bowl 1 1989 1-0
Liberty Bowl 3 1959, 1960, 1979 3-0
Orange Bowl 5 1969, 1970, 1974, 1986, 2006 4-1
Outback Bowl 4 1996, 1999, 2007, 2011 3-1
Rose Bowl 3 1923, 1995, 2009 1-2
Sugar Bowl 4 1972, 1976, 1979, 1983 1-3


Current rivalriesEdit

Penn State competes for two rivalry trophies, both introduced when the Nittany Lions began Big Ten football in 1993.

Michigan StateEdit

Since 1993, Penn State annually plays Michigan State for the Land Grant Trophy. Penn State has a 13-5 record in these trophy games and Michigan State currently holds possession of the trophy after winning the 2010 contest. Beginning with the league's expansion and new division format in 2011, the two teams will play in opposite divisions and meet twice every five years.


Taking the field

The Nittany Lions taking the field against Minnesota in 2005.

Since 1993, Penn State has played Minnesota for the Governor's Victory Bell. Penn State is 8-4 against the Golden Gophers in this series and holds possession of the trophy after winning the 2010 contest.

Due to the Big Ten's schedule rotation, Penn State and Minnesota did not meet in 2007 and 2008. The series resumed in 2009. Beginning with the league's expansion and new division format in 2011, the two teams will play in opposite divisions and meet twice every five years.

Ohio StateEdit

Ohio State and Penn State first played in 1912, but until 1993 when Penn State joined the Big Ten conference, the meetings were infrequent. Including their last non-conference meeting in the 1980 Fiesta Bowl, the series was 6-2 in favor of Penn State before the Big Ten established the two teams as designated conference rivals playing annually starting in 1993.[15] Penn State trails the overall series by a slim 13-12 margin and is 6-11 in conference play.[16]

Penn State is 5-8 at Ohio Stadium (the 1912 game was played at its predecessor, Ohio Field) after a 13-6 win in 2008, breaking a seven-game away losing streak at Ohio Stadium. Penn State is 5-5 against Ohio State in Beaver Stadium, including a memorable come-from-behind win in 2001 to give Joe Paterno his 324th win, passing Bear Bryant for the lead in career victories among major college coaches.[16][17]

At least two meetings have determined the conference champion.[citation needed] Of the 24 games they played, 9 have been determined by 7 points or less, 14 games by 14 points or less. Penn State has shut out Ohio State three times but all occurred prior to Penn State joining the Big Ten, while Ohio State has never held Penn State below six points.[16] Due to the nature of the rivalry, a large number of games between the two teams are night games.[citation needed]


Since 1999, Penn State has won twice against the Iowa Hawkeyes and lost eight. currently Penn State is on a three year skid against the rival Hawkeyes.


Penn State has been playing Temple frequently since 1931. Temple has not beaten Penn State since 1941, and Penn State holds a 36-3-1 record in the series, after defeating Temple 22-13 in Beaver Stadium in 2010.[18] The current series will continue every season except the 2013 season through at least 2016.[19]

Dormant rivalriesEdit


The Pitt-Penn State rivalry is a currently dormant series between in-state rivals Penn State and Pittsburgh. Once considered the fiercest and most important college football rivalry north of the Mason-Dixon line, this rivalry was first played in 1893 when Penn State won 32-0. The most recent game in the series was played in 2000 with Pitt winning 12-0 over Penn State at Three Rivers Stadium. Penn State holds a 50-42-4 record in the series.[20]

Of the 96 games played between the two, 72 have been held in Pittsburgh. Twenty-two have been played in State College. Two games, in 1900 and 1901, were played in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania.

West VirginiaEdit

First played in 1904, Penn State and West Virginia played every year from 1947 to 1992. The rivalry has been dormant since Penn State joined the Big Ten. Penn State leads the series 48-9-2.[21]


This lop-sided rivalry was first played in 1917, and all but three years between 1960 and 1993, but has remained inactive since. As recently as October 2008, there have been inconclusive negotiations between the schools for a revival.[22] Penn State has a commanding 35-1-1 lead in the series.


With the exception of 1943, Penn State and Syracuse played every year from 1922 through 1990. However, the rivalry became dormant when Syracuse joined the Big East Conference and Penn State joined the Big Ten.

The rivalry was briefly renewed when the teams agreed to a two-game home-and-home series for 2008 and 2009. Penn State holds a 42-23-5 record in this series, after defeating Syracuse 28-7 at Beaver Stadium in 2009. The rivalry will be renewed in a 3 game series at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ from 2013–2015 and there are plans to do a home and home series in 2020 and 2021.[23][24][25]

Notre DameEdit

Penn State and Notre Dame first met in 1913 and played each other in 1925, 1926 and 1928. The two teams would not meet again until the 1976 Gator Bowl which Notre Dame won 20-9.

The series from 1981 through 1992 put the rivalry into focus on a national level.[citation needed] At the time, Penn State and Notre Dame were two of the few remaining Independent teams remaining in Division I FBS. It was also a very successful time for both programs, with Notre Dame winning a National Championship in 1988 and Penn State crowned National Champions in 1982 and 1986. In the 12-game series, Penn State held a 8-4-0 advantage including a 1990 win at Notre Dame Stadium where Penn State knocked off top-ranked Notre Dame with a last second field goal.[26]

The rivalry was briefly renewed with a home-and-home series in 2006 and 2007. Penn State evened the series to 9-9-1, after defeating Notre Dame 31-10 at Beaver Stadium, 2007 after being defeated in the previous year 41-17 at Notre Dame Stadium.[27]


The teams played a series of games before Penn State joined the Big Ten, most notably in the early 1980s. The high point of the rivalry was an epic battle in week three of 1982 season. Nebraska came to Happy Valley ranked #2; Penn State was ranked #8 at the time. After Nebraska had scored to take the lead with a minute remaining, Todd Blackledge led the Lions down the field, and was helped by a controversial call deep inside Husker territory. Penn State won the game with a touchdown as time expired, and went on to win the National Championship. The series was renewed briefly in 2002-03 after a 19 year gap. Beginning in the 2011 season, Penn State and Nebraska will play every year as cross-division rivals.

Penn State Players/AlumniEdit

Individual award winnersEdit


John Cappelletti - 1973
Richie Lucas - 1959
Glenn Ressler - 1964
Mike Reid - 1969
John Cappelletti - 1973
Chuck Fusina - 1978
Kerry Collins - 1994
Larry Johnson - 2002
John Cappelletti - 1973
Larry Johnson - 2002
Kerry Collins - 1994
LaVar Arrington - 1999
Paul Posluszny - 2005, 2006
Dan Connor - 2007
Bobby Engram - 1994
LaVar Arrington - 1999
Paul Posluszny - 2005
A.Q. Shipley - 2008
Bruce Clark - 1978
Todd Blackledge - 1982
Kerry Collins - 1994
Mike Reid - 1969
Larry Johnson - 2002
Kerry Collins - 1994
Michael Robinson - 2005
Daryll Clark - 2009


Rip Engle - 1969
Joe Paterno - 2002
Joe Paterno - 1981, 2005
Joe Paterno - 1978, 1982, 1986
Joe Paterno - 1990, 1994, 2005
Joe Paterno - 1986
Joe Paterno - 2005
Joe Paterno - 1972, 1994, 2005

Other awardsEdit

College Football Hall of Fame inducteesEdit

Including current head coach Joe Paterno, 22 Nittany Lion players and coaches have been selected for the College Football Hall of Fame.[28]

Name Position Year inducted
Hugo Bezdek Coach 1954
John Cappelletti Halfback 1993
Keith Dorney Offensive tackle 2005
Rip Engle Coach 1973
Jack Ham Linebacker 1990
Dick Harlow Coach 1954
Bob Higgins Coach 1954
Glenn Killinger Quarterback 1971
Ted Kwalick Tight end 1989
Richie Lucas Quarterback 1986
Pete Mauthe Halfback 1957
Shorty Miller Quarterback 1974
Lydell Mitchell Running back 2004
Dennis Onkotz Linebacker 1995
Joe Paterno Coach 2007
Mike Reid Defensive tackle 1987
Glenn Ressler Center/guard 2001
Dave Robinson End 1997
Steve Suhey Guard 1985
Dexter Very End 1976
Curt Warner Halfback 2009
Harry Wilson Halfback 1973

Pro Football Hall of Fame inducteesEdit

Penn State is one of 11 schools with five or more inductees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[29]

Name Position NFL team(s) Year inducted
Jack Ham Linebacker Pittsburgh Steelers 1988
Franco Harris Running back Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks 1990
Mike Michalske Guard New York Giants (AFL/NFL), Green Bay Packers 1964
Lenny Moore Flanker/running back Baltimore Colts 1975
Mike Munchak Guard Houston Oilers 2001

Future schedulesEdit

Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result
09/03/2011* Indiana State[30] Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA    
09/10/2011* Alabama Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
09/17/2011* at Temple Lincoln Financial FieldPhiladelphia, PA    
09/24/2011* Eastern Michigan Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
10/01/2011 at Indiana Memorial StadiumBloomington, IN    
10/08/2011 Iowa Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
10/15/2011 Purdue Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
10/22/2011 at Northwestern Ryan FieldEvanston, IL    
10/29/2011 Illinois Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
11/12/2011 Nebraska Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
11/19/2011 at Ohio State Ohio StadiumColumbus, OH    
11/26/2011 at Wisconsin Camp Randall StadiumMadison, WI    
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.
Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result
09/01/2012* Ohio[31] Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA    
09/08/2012* at Virginia[32] Scott StadiumCharlottesville, VA    
09/15/2012* Navy Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
09/22/2012* Temple Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
09/29/2012 at Illinois Memorial StadiumChampaign, Il    
10/06/2012 Northwestern Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
10/20/2012 at Iowa Kinnick StadiumIowa City, IA    
10/27/2012 Ohio State Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
11/3/2012 at Purdue Ross-Ade StadiumWest Lafayette, IN    
11/10/2012 at Nebraska Memorial StadiumLincoln, NE    
11/17/2012 Indiana Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
11/24/2012 Wisconsin Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.
Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result
08/31/2013* vs. Syracuse Meadowlands StadiumEast Rutherford, NJ    
09/7/2013* Eastern Michigan Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
09/14/2013* Virginia[32] Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.
Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result
08/30/2014* Temple[33] Beaver Stadium • University Park, PA    
09/13/2014* at Rutgers[34] Rutgers StadiumPiscataway, NJ    
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.
Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result
09/12/2015* Rutgers[34] Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA    
09/19/2015* at Temple[33] Lincoln Financial Field • Philadelphia, PA    
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.
Date Time Opponent# Rank# Site TV Result
09/17/2016* Temple[33] Beaver StadiumUniversity Park, PA    
*Non-Conference Game. Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game. All times are in Eastern Time.

Charity and awareness effortsEdit

The Penn State football team has worked in coordination with Uplifting Athletes, a non-profit organization, to raise awareness and funds for the Kidney Cancer Association. In 2003 the team turned their annual weight-lifting competition into a fund-raiser when a player’s father was diagnosed with Kidney Cancer. The event that is now known as Lift for Life, has raised more than $225,000 since its inception.[35]

See alsoEdit


  1. "Storied programs dominate Ladder 119's top rungs". ESPN. 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  2. Musselman, Ron (2007-10-27). "Penn State visit from No. 1". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  3. Carey, Jack (2005-10-03). "Storied programs revive tradition". USA Today. Retrieved 2007-12-09.
  4. "Clark passes for 341 yards, 4 TDs as Penn State slams Spartans". Associated Press. 2008-11-22. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  5. "Joe Paterno". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  6. "Galen Hall". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  7. "Tom Bradley". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  8. "Kermit Buggs". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  9. "Larry Johnson". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  10. "Ron Vanderlinden". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  11. "Dick Anderson". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  12. "Bill Kenney". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  13. "Jay Paterno". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  14. "Mike McQueary". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  15. Nesnidal, Bill (2007-11-08). "Remember the Illibuck". Big Ten Network. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 "Penn State vs Ohio St.". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  17. "Penn State Captures Second Straight, Paterno Breaks All Time Record". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2001-10-27. Retrieved 2008-10-27.
  18. "Penn State vs Temple (PA)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  19. "Big Ten football schedules set for 2010-12". Penn State Live. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  20. "Penn State vs Pittsburgh (PA)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  21. "Penn State vs West Virginia". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  22. Jeff Barker, Even counting Virginia, Terrapins are unrivaled, Baltimore Sun, 3 October 2008.
  23. "The History of the Penn State - Syracuse Rivalry". Black Shoe Diaries. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  24. "The Penn State - Syracuse Rivalry Part II". Black Shoe Diaries. 2008-09-12. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  25. "Penn State vs Syracuse (NY)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  26. "Penn State - Notre Dame: A History of the Rivalry". Black Shoe Diaries. 2007-07-11. Retrieved 2008-12-02.[dead link]
  27. "Penn State vs Notre Dame (IN)". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2008-12-02.
  28. "Hall of Famers by College". College Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  29. "Hall of Famers by College". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on 2007-10-21. Retrieved 2007-11-05.
  30. "Large paydays coming ISU football's way". The Tribune-Star. 2009-06-17. Retrieved 2009-06-18.
  31. Ruthenberg, Dave (2009-03-02). "Bobcats to renew series with Marshall". MAC Report Online. Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  32. 32.0 32.1 Fittipaldo, Ray (2007-06-06). "Football: PSU adds Virginia to future schedule". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2007-10-18.
  33. 33.0 33.1 33.2 "Penn State-Temple Gridiron Series To Continue". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2010-09-20. Retrieved 2010-09-20.
  34. 34.0 34.1 "Penn State and Rutgers to Renew Football Series in 2014-15". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2009-04-16. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
  35. "Penn State Uplifting Athletes". Scott Shirley, Uplifting Athletes. Retrieved 2008-06-16.

External linksEdit

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