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Ohio State–Penn State football rivalry

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Title: Ohio State–Penn State football rivalry  
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Subject: Penn State–West Virginia football rivalry, Penn State–Pittsburgh football rivalry, Penn State–Syracuse football rivalry, Maryland–Penn State football rivalry, Joe Paterno statue
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Ohio State–Penn State football rivalry

Ohio State–Penn State football rivalry
Ohio State Buckeyes Penn State Nittany Lions

Total meetings 30 (total includes 6 games vacated)
Series record Ohio State leads, 16-8 [1]
First meeting 1912
Penn State, 37–0
Last meeting 2014
Ohio State, 31-24
Next meeting October 17, 2015
Largest win Penn State, 63–14 (1994); Ohio State, 63–14 (2013)
Longest win streak

Ohio State, 11 (1998, 2000, 2002-04, 2006-07, 2009, 2012-present)

Current win streak Ohio State, 11 (1998, 2000, 2002-04, 2006-07, 2009, 2012-present)

The Ohio State–Penn State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State Nittany Lions. Through 2014, the official series record has Ohio State with 16 wins and Penn St with 8 wins. 6 games between the two schools have been vacated (5 wins for Penn St and 1 win for Ohio St). The unofficial series record (counting all games played on the field) is 17-13 in Ohio St.'s favor. While both programs have been around since the late 1800s, the teams only met eight times before 1993 when Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference, the last of which being the 1980 Fiesta Bowl. After Penn State joined the Big Ten, the series continued as an annual conference game.

Through the years, however, Ohio State has regarded the rivalry as one-sided and do not consider Penn State a rival anymore than other Big Ten schools. On October 22, 2014 Ohio State's Head Coach Urban Meyer stated during his weekly press interview that "I've heard Penn State considers Ohio State their rival, obviously we have one [rival]", that one of course referring to the University of Michigan and not Penn State.[3] Ohio State fan sites have consistently mirrored this widely held sentiment as well, for example creating game posters depicting Penn State as a woman scorned.[4] Penn State has many traditions regarding Ohio State such as "hate week" on social media, the enshrinement of the rail from 2005, and White Out. However, Ohio State has no traditions associated to Penn State and does nothing different from a normal Big10 game. This contrasts sharply with the many traditions, official and unofficial, surrounding Ohio State's rivalry with the University of Michigan and even the Illibuck trophy with respect to the University of Illinois.

1912–80: Pre-Big Ten era

Penn State won the first four meetings in the series, however these meetings spread across 53 seasons, between 1912 and 1964. The first ever match-up was held in Columbus, Ohio in November 1912. Penn State had just come off an 8–0–1 season in 1911. All of the experts had picked Ohio State to win this game in a blowout. However, it was the Nittany Lions shutting the Buckeyes out, 37–0.

It would not be until 1956 when Penn State made a return trip to Columbus, however when they won the second meeting between the schools, 7–6. Penn State would win two more games at Ohio Stadium before Ohio State won a game in 1975. The first ever match-up of the two held in State College, Pennsylvania was in 1976 where Ohio State beat Penn State 12–7. Penn State won in 1978 back in Columbus.

In 1980, the two schools played in their first and only postseason bowl, the 1980 Fiesta Bowl. The Ohio State Buckeyes were 9–3, while the Penn State Nittany Lions were 10–2. The Penn State Nittany Lions won at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona 31–19. As Ohio State and Penn State now play in the same conference, it is unlikely for the two schools to face off in another bowl game.

1993–2000: Penn State enters the Big Ten

Following the 1980 Fiesta Bowl, Penn State and Ohio State did not meet again until Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993. From 1993 to the present, the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions have played annually. Ohio State won the first conference meeting, 24–6 after a close 7–6 first quarter. From 1993 though 2000, Ohio State won 5 of the 8 matchups. The largest margin of victory for ether teams came in 1994 when Penn State beat Ohio State 63–14. Interestingly following this defeat, an Ohio State sportswriter dropped Penn State from #1 to #2 in the AP Poll. In 1995, the Nittany Lions were the losing team, losing 28–25 to Ohio State. In 1996, the Buckeyes beat the Nittany Lions 38–7 in a game that some picked Penn State to win. The Nittany Lions got revenge next year as Penn State, ranked No. 1 at the time and into November before losing to Michigan, came back from 27–17 to win 31–27. The two teams split the next two, and Ohio State won in 2000 45–6. That was the most lopsided Ohio State win over Penn State and the second biggest margin of victory for either team.

2001–10: Paterno vs. Tressel

The 2000s saw several close games between the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions, as they put long time Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, against Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel. Ohio State went 6–3[5] during this period. What would have been the Buckeyes' seventh win in 2010, along with that entire season, was vacated as a result of players receiving improper benefits. The two teams were perennially near the top of the Big Ten standings. Ohio State won seven Big Ten titles, either shared or outright, in 2002 and 2005 through 2010, although Ohio State vacated the 2010 title due to improper player benefits. Penn State shared titles in 2005 and 2008 with Ohio State, but both were vacated due to NCAA action regarding the Penn State sex abuse scandal (see below).

The 2001 game gave Paterno his 324th career win and the record for most wins by a coach in NCAA history. Penn State was suffering through a dismal season with a 1–4 start with Matt Senaca leading the way. Senaca was soon benched in this game where Ohio State climbed to a 27–9 lead and promising freshman Zack Mills helped Penn State come back and nearly saved their season (Penn State finished 5–6, although the five wins would later be vacated). The following year, Penn State would very nearly beat Ohio State in the Horseshoe, only losing 13–7 to the eventual national champions. In 2003, Penn State had a dismal season but actually looked like the better team against the Buckeyes as they took a 17–7 lead at one point. Ohio State came back to win 21–20 with a last second field goal falling just short. Ohio State won the next game 21–10 despite being outscored 10–7 offensively. That game was only one of two times that the Nittany Lions scored double digits at Ohio Stadium since joining the Big Ten in 1993.

In 2005, Penn State was an underdog despite trouncing then-No. 18 Minnesota 44–14 the week before and being undefeated. However, Penn State played defense and shut down the Buckeye ground game. With the help of a loud and boisterous home crowd, Penn State upset the then-favored Buckeyes 17–10 in State College. The noise level of the stadium as a factor in Ohio State's defeat gained national attention and respect for the Penn State student section, giving birth to the "Whiteout" tradition at Beaver Stadium. Penn State went on to controversially lose the next week at Michigan, 27-25, their only loss of the season. Ohio State, after a last second come from behind victory at Michigan, was able to match Penn State's 7-1 conference record. The teams were declared co-Champions of the Big Ten with Penn State as the conference's automatic representative to the BCS due to the head-to-head defeat of the Buckeyes earlier in the season. As the Rose Bowl, the Big Ten Champion's traditional bowl destination, served as hosts of the 2005 BCS National Championship Game between undefeateds Texas & Southern California, Penn State was invited instead to the 2006 Orange Bowl to compete against the surprise ACC Champions, #18 Florida State (8-4). The Nittany Lions defeated the Seminoles 26-23 in three overtimes on a game-cinching field goal from place kicker Kevin Kelly. Penn State finished the season ranked #3 in the nation with an 11-1 overall mark. Ohio State, a BCS at-large selection, defeated #6 Notre Dame (9-2) 34–20 in the Fiesta Bowl, their third Fiesta victory in 4 seasons (2002, 2003). The Buckeyes finished #4 in the country with a a final record of 10-2, their only losses being the National Champion Texas Longhorns and #3 Penn State.

The 2006 edition of the rivalry, hosted by #1 Ohio State (3-0), was the first conference game of the season for both the Buckeyes and #21 Penn State (2-1). The Lions were able to get on the board first and maintained a 3-0 lead at halftime. Penn State fumbled while driving for another score in the third quarter and, after a missed Penn State field goal that would have given the Lions a 6-0 lead, the Buckeyes were able to score the game's first touchdown and gain a 7-3 advantage going into the 4th quarter. Ohio State went up 14-3 when QB Troy Smith, attempting to avoid a sack, threw downfield into coverage. Wide Receiver Brian Robiskie was able to catch the pass and avert a Penn State interception. On the next drive Penn State, starting from its own 20, was able to take the ball to the Ohio State 1-yardline before being pushed back and kicking a field goal to cut the OSU lead to 8. Ohio State was able to score twice in the final two minutes of the game on a pair of interceptions thrown by Penn State QB Anthony Morelli that were returned for touchdowns to secure a 28-6 victory. [6]

Ohio State, despite decisively losing the 2006 National Title to Florida, entered the 2007 edition at Happy Valley undefeated and ranked #1 in the country. Despite the loud Penn State "whiteout" planned by the Lions' student section, the Buckeyes were able to overcome an early 7–3 deficit to win 37–17.

The 2008 meeting between the two teams saw the #3 Nittany Lions (8-0) prevail 13–6 against the #10 Buckeyes (7-1) at Ohio Stadium, snapping a seven-game losing streak at Ohio Stadium. The week after their win Penn State, as in 2005, suffered a heartbreaking 24-23 loss on the road, this time at the hands of Iowa. Ohio State won the remainder of their games and was again able to match Penn State's 7-1 conference record to be declared co-Champions with the Lions. Like 2005, Penn State's win gave them the head-to-head advantage as the conferences automatic Bowl Championship Series representative. Unlike 2005, however, the Nittany Lions were finally able to represent the conference in the Rose Bowl against the Pac-10 champions, Southern California. Ohio State was selected as an at-large participant in the Fiesta Bowl against Big XII runner-up Texas. The #8 Lions were defeated by the #5 Trojans 38-24 in a lopsided contest to finish the season 11-2; the #10 Buckeyes allowed a Longhorn go-ahead touchdown with 16 seconds left in the game and were defeated 24-21, their third consecutive bowl loss.

The 2009 edition of the rivalry again played a factor in the Big Ten championship, with both teams coming into the games tied for first place after previously unbeaten Iowa fell to Northwestern earlier that day. The #15 Buckeyes (7-2), in a reversal from 2008, won a defensive struggle over the #10 (8-1) home team Lions 24-7. Ohio State finished the season with the outright Big Ten title, a 26-17 victory over #7 and Pac-10 champion Oregon in the Rose Bowl, and a #5 final ranking for the year. Penn State finished the season with a 19-17 victory over #17 LSU (9-3) ending, for the second consecutive year, at 11-2 and ranked #8.

In 2010, the #8 Buckeyes (8-1) were heavily favored against unranked Penn State (6-3). The Lions disagreed, however, and shocked the home crowd at Ohio Stadium by dominating the first two quarters and going into the locker room with a 14-3 halftime lead. Ohio State rallied to retake the lead in the third quarter and, with the aid of two Matt McGloin interceptions, scored 35 unanswered points in the second half and capture a decisive 38-14 victory. The Buckeyes would go on to finish the season as Big Ten Co-Champions with Wisconsin and Michigan State at 12-1, 7-1 in conference, and a #5 final ranking and Sugar Bowl Victory over Arkansas.

2011: Rivalry hit by scandal

After the 2010 season, it was revealed that several Ohio State players, most notably QB Terrelle Pryor, received improper benefits. An investigation determined that Tressel had knowledge of the situation but failed to notify the University or the NCAA. This resulted in Tressel resigning from the program. As part of a self-imposed sanction, Ohio State vacated all of its wins from the season, including its win over Penn State, its Big Ten Title, and Sugar Bowl win.

The 2011 season began a new era in the rivalry with new additions to the Big Ten conference, as well as new head coaches for both teams.[7] With the addition of Nebraska into the Big Ten, the conference split into two six-team divisions. Both Ohio State and Penn State were placed in the "Leaders" Division and will continue to play each other annually. The 2011 season also marks a new era for the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions, as Luke Fickell was named the interim head coach for the season after Tressel's resignation and Tom Bradley after longtime Penn State head coach Joe Paterno was fired 9 games into the season following the uncovering of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal (Paterno would not have made it to 2012 in any event, as he died on January 22, 2012).[8] Both schools were ultimately handed postseason bans for the 2012 season (though Penn State's ban was slated to extend through 2015, it was lifted on September 8, 2014[9]).Ohio State vacated its wins from the 2010 season, while Penn State was forced to vacate all of its wins from 1998-2011.

2012–present: Two Fresh Starts

Both schools had new head coaches for the 2012 season. On November 28, 2011, Ohio State hired former Utah and Florida head coach Urban Meyer as head coach, beginning a new era in the rivalry. Meyer had been considered by many,[10] including Paterno himself,[11] as a possible replacement for Paterno at Penn State. Penn State eventually hired former New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien to succeed Paterno as head coach.

The O'Brien Era at Penn State lasted only two seasons, as he was hired as to be the head coach of the NFL's Houston Texans in 2014. During these two seasons, O'Brien's Lions suffered two losses at the hands of the Buckeyes, the last one being the biggest loss in school history since 1899. By scoring 63 points, it was the most points given up by the Lions since 1899 as well. O'Brien was replaced by former Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin in January 2014.

Game results

Ohio State victories are colored scarlet. Penn State victories are colored blue. Vacated victories by either team are shaded in gray

Date Site Winning team Losing team Series Attendance
November 17, 1912 Columbus Penn State 37 Ohio State 0 PSU 1–0
October 20, 1956 Columbus Penn State 7 #5 Ohio State 6 PSU 2–0
November 9, 1963 Columbus Penn State 10 #10 Ohio State 7 PSU 3–0
November 7, 1964 Columbus Penn State 27 #2 Ohio State 0 PSU 4–0
September 20, 1975 Columbus #3 Ohio State 17 #7 Penn State 9 PSU 4–1
September 18, 1976 State College #2 Ohio State 12 #7 Penn State 7 PSU 4–2
September 16, 1978 Columbus #5 Penn State 19 #6 Ohio State 0 PSU 5–2
December 26, 1980 Tempe, AZ1 #10 Penn State 31 #11 Ohio State 19 PSU 6–2
October 30, 1993 Columbus #3 Ohio State 24 #12 Penn State 6 PSU 6–3 95,060
October 29, 1994 State College #1 Penn State 63 #21 Ohio State 14 PSU 7–3 97,079
October 7, 1995 State College #5 Ohio State 28 #12 Penn State 25 PSU 7–4 96,655
October 5, 1996 Columbus #3 Ohio State 38 #4 Penn State 7 PSU 7–5 94,241
October 11, 1997 State College #2 Penn State 31 #7 Ohio State 27 PSU 8–5 97,282
October 3, 1998 Columbus #1 Ohio State 28 #7 Penn State 9 PSU 8–6 93,479
October 16, 19993 State College #2 Penn State 23 #17 Ohio State 10 PSU 8–6 97,007
September 23, 2000 Columbus #14 Ohio State 45 Penn State 6 PSU 8–7 98,144
October 27, 20013 State College Penn State 29 Ohio State 27 PSU 8–7 108,327
October 26, 2002 Columbus #4 Ohio State 13 #17 Penn State 7 Tie 8–8 105,103
November 1, 2003 State College #8 Ohio State 21 Penn State 20 OSU 9–8 108,276
October 30, 2004 Columbus Ohio State 21 Penn State 10 OSU 10–8 104,947
October 8, 20053 State College #18 Penn State 17 #6 Ohio State 10 OSU 10–8 109,839
September 23, 2006 Columbus #1 Ohio State 28 Penn State 6 OSU 11–8 105,266
October 27, 2007 State College #1 Ohio State 37 #25 Penn State 17 OSU 12–8 110,134
October 25, 20083 Columbus #3 Penn State 13 #10 Ohio State 6 OSU 12–8 105,711
November 7, 2009 State College #15 Ohio State 24 #11 Penn State 7 OSU 13–8 110,033
November 13, 20102 Columbus #9 Ohio State 38 Penn State 14 OSU 13–8 105,466
November 19, 20113 Columbus #21 Penn State 20 Ohio State 14 OSU 13–8 105,493
October 27, 2012 State College #9 Ohio State 35 Penn State 23 OSU 14–8 107,818
October 26, 2013 Columbus #4 Ohio State 63 Penn State 14 OSU 15–8 105,889
October 25, 2014 State College #13 Ohio State 31 Penn State 24 OSU 16–8 107,895[12]

1 1980 Fiesta Bowl
2 Win vacated by Ohio State
3 Win vacated by Penn State


  1. ^ If vacated games (5 for PSU and 1 for OSU) are also included, Ohio State would lead 17-13
  2. ^ Does not include vacated 1999, 2001, 2005, 2008, and 2011 Penn State wins and vacated 2010 Ohio State win. If vacated wins were included the longest streak is Penn State, 4 games 1912, 56, 63-64.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ This does not include the 2010 season, in which all wins were vacated by Ohio State in July 2011
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Moyer, Josh (September 10, 2014). "Penn State's postseason ban over".  
  10. ^
  11. ^ ESPN The Magazine
  12. ^ "Box Score". October 25, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014. 
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