Examining the Series History Between Ohio State and Penn State

There have been a number of great games between the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions over the years, especially recently. Take a look at some of the more memorable contests.
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Ohio State and Penn State have become the two most formidable powers in the Big Ten East Division the last several years, and to nobody's surprise, it's led to some extremely memorable games. In a season unlike any other, Penn State is one game into the 2020 campaign and it already faces a must-win scenario if there is any hope of making the College Football Playoff.

Here is a little more information about the series history between two of college football’s most historic programs, which will once again meet this Saturday in primetime on ABC.

Opponent: Penn State Nittany Lions

All-Time Record: OSU leads, 20-14

First Meeting: Nov. 16, 1912 (Penn State, 37-0)

Last Meeting: Nov. 23, 2019 (Penn State, 28-17)

Current Win Streak: OSU, 3

The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions have faced-off 34 times in the series, and 14 times the game has been decided by a touchdown or less (including four of the last six meetings). That includes a pair of 1-point wins for Ohio State in 2017 and 2018.

Of course, perhaps the most painful loss for the Buckeyes came in 2016 - the only loss for the Buckeyes since 2012 in the series. In 2016, the Nittany Lions upset the No. 2 Buckeyes at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State ended up putting that loss behind them just two months later by beating Penn State in the playoff race. PSU is still yet to have clinched a berth to the CFP.

Even though State College is one of the most challenging environments in college football for visiting teams, the Buckeyes have historically fared well there. Since 2005, Ohio State is 5-1 in road games in the series.

One of those wins is among the most thrilling victories in series history.

On Oct. 26, 2014, Ohio State defeated Penn State in double-overtime, 31-24. Initially, the Buckeyes went ahead 17-0, but the Nittany Lions clawed their way back into it. They hit a field goal with nine seconds remaining to force overtime. However, J.T. Barrett scored two rushing touchdowns in overtime to secure the win.

Another significant game in series history occured when the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions met in the Fiesta Bowl in 1980. Despite OSU quarterback Art Schlichter’s (20-of-35, 302 yards, three touchdowns, one interception) respectable performance, Penn State outmatched the Buckeyes thanks to 351 rushing yards in a 31-19 win.

Ironically, both teams have actually won a game by the same bizarre score: 63-14. In 1994, Penn State defeated Ohio State by that score for OSU’s first-ever road loss in the series. In 2013, The Buckeyes replicated the Nittany Lions’ score from 19 prior to vindicate a 20-14 home loss the year beforehand.

In the last meeting between these two teams, No. 2 Ohio State defeated No. 9 Penn State 28-17 in Columbus. The Buckeyes never trailed in the match. The Nittany Lions defense received a heavy dose of J.K. Dobbins, who ran the ball 36 times for 157 yards and two scores.

Last year, the Ohio State defense held Penn State to 227 total yards on offense, led by a 10-tackle performance from Pete Werner. Chase Young all but solidified his status as the best player in the upcoming NFL Draft, as he totaled three sacks and a forced fumble. The OSU offense won the time of possession battle by nine and a half minutes.

The Buckeyes have an 8-6 record when taking on the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. They have a 12-7 record when playing in the month of October. This is the first time these two teams will play on Halloween.


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