Penn State’s 2014 football slate will reunite the Nittany Lions with a number of rivals from their past and an open date still remains for the Nittany Lions to schedule another non-conference opponent, possibly for a game in Ireland.
The Nittany Lions will host Maryland (Nov. 1) and Michigan State (Nov. 29) in Beaver Stadium and will travel to Rutgers in Week 3. The games against Maryland and Rutgers will mark the first time the new Big Ten members play Penn State in a conference tilt as all three teams will be members of the Big Ten East Division starting in 2014.
The game at Rutgers on Sept. 13, the first conference game of the season, will be the Nittany Lions’ first trip to Piscataway, N.J. to play the Scarlet Knights since 1955 and will also be Rutgers’ first Big Ten game after defecting from the Big East.
Penn State has not played Maryland since 1993 and last played Rutgers in 1995. Penn State is a combined 57-3-1 against the Terrapins and Scarlet Knights. The Nittany Lions and Terrapins used to play every year from 1960-93 except for 1976, 1981 and 1983.
The Spartans, another old rival, also return to Penn State’s schedule. Penn State and Michigan State met every year from 1993 until 2010. Their yearly rivalry, with the Land Grant Trophy up for grabs, ended with the reorganization of the Big Ten into the current Legends/Leaders Division format that will be scrapped in 2014 for East/West alignments. Michigan State will join Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State in the East. Penn State is 14-13-1 against Michigan State all-time.
Ohio State will be the other East Division foe that will visit Beaver Stadium. The Buckeyes, who own a 15-13 all-time advantage over the Nittany Lions will visit Happy Valley on Oct. 25.
Penn State will also host Northwestern (Sept. 27) and visit Illinois (Nov. 22) in cross-divisional games. Road games are schedule against Michigan (Oct. 11) and Indiana (Nov. 8) while Temple (Aug. 30), Akron (Sept. 6), Massachusetts (Sept. 20) will visit Beaver Stadium for non-conference games.
Temple has not beaten Penn State since 1941 and the Nittany Lions own a 38-3-1 record over the Owls. In four wins against the Zips, Penn State has outscored Akron 183-57. Massachusetts and Penn State will be playing for the first time.
The Nittany Lions still have room to add another non-conference opponent. For now, open dates for the Nittany Lions are Oct. 4, Oct. 18 and Nov. 15. The final non-conference game could be played in Ireland, as Penn State coach Bill O’Brien has said he wants to play a game overseas at some point during the NCAA-sanctioned years.
“I think we’re getting there,” O’Brien said on the recent Coaches Caravan tour in response to a question about when a game in Ireland could be played.
The 2014 season will mark the second straight year Big Ten teams will play eight conference games before moving to a nine-game conference schedule starting in 2016. Then, Penn State will play all six of its East Division opponents and rotate three cross-divisional games with other Big Ten teams from season to season.