Nittany Lions' 2009 Football Schedule Features Visits by Ohio State, Iowa and Syracuse
Jan. 29, 2009
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa., - Penn State football fans will be treated to a 2009 home schedule that includes visits by three Big Ten bowl teams, a pair of old rivals and Beaver Stadium's 300th game.
The 300th game to be played in Beaver Stadium will take place on Nov. 7, when rival Ohio State visits for the 25th meeting between the squads (series tied, 12-12). The Nittany Lions have an impressive 236-57 (80.5) record in the nation's largest stadium (107,282), earning a 26-2 home record since the Michigan State game in 2004.
Six returning All-Big Ten players from Penn State's 2008 conference championship team that played USC in the Rose Bowl will provide much of the nucleus for the 2009 campaign. Among the returnees are: quarterback Daryll Clark, linebackers Sean Lee, Navorro Bowman and Josh Hull, tailbacks Evan Royster and Stephfon Green, defensive linemen Jerome Hayes, Jared Odrick and Ollie Ogbu, wideouts Graham Zug, Brett Brackett, Derek Moye and Chaz Powell, offensive linemen Stefen Wisniewski and Dennis Landolt, defensive backs A.J. Wallace and Drew Astorino, tight ends Mickey Shuler and Andrew Quarless and punter Jeremy Boone.
Among the highlights of the 2009 home schedule are visits to Beaver Stadium by Big Ten opponents Iowa (Sept. 26-All-University/Varsity "S" Day), Minnesota (Oct. 17-Homecoming), Ohio State (Nov. 7) and Indiana (Nov. 14). The conference begins a new rotation of opponents this fall, as 2008 bowl teams Minnesota and Northwestern return to the Penn State schedule, while Purdue and Wisconsin depart for the next two years.
The Nittany Lions will welcome old rival Syracuse to Happy Valley (Sept. 12) for the first time since 1990. The teams renewed their rivalry this past season at the Carrier Dome, with the Lions winning, 55-13. Penn State and Syracuse have met 69 times, the second-highest total for a PSU opponent.
Penn State opens the 2009 season on Saturday, Sept. 5, hosting Akron in the fourth meeting between the schools. On Sept. 19, old rival Temple visits Beaver Stadium. The Owls, coached by former Nittany Lion team captain Al Golden, are coming off a 2008 season that saw them earn their most overall victories since 1990.
In 2010, old rival Alabama returns to Penn State's schedule. The traditional powers will meet Sept. 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa and on Sept. 10, 2011 in Beaver Stadium. During the 2012-13 seasons, Virginia returns to the Nittany Lions' slate.
Coach Joe Paterno's squad has played several of the nation's premier programs during the non-conference portion of the regular season schedule during the past 10 years. Among the Nittany Lions' non-conference opponents during the past decade: Southern California (2000), Miami, Fla. (2001), Southern Miss (2001), Virginia (2001-02), Nebraska (2002-03), Boston College (2003-04), South Florida (2005), Cincinnati (2005), Notre Dame (2006-07), Oregon State (2008) and Syracuse (2008-09).
The Nittany Lions were 7-0 at home during the 2008 campaign, as an average of 108,254 Nittany Lion faithful jammed Beaver Stadium, the second-highest average in school history. Penn State posted its 15th undefeated home season under Paterno. A total of 757,775 fans packed Beaver Stadium, led by a throng of 110,017 for the 46-17 thumping of Michigan.
There were more than 93,000 season ticket holders for the Greatest Show in College Football in 2008, including 21,000-plus student season tickets. Penn State's enthusiastic and passionate student section will be out to defend its title as the nation's Best Overall college football student section, as selected by ESPN The Magazine this past fall.
The Nittany Lions (11-2) won their second Big Ten title and Bowl Championship berth in the past four years during the 2008 season. Penn State was No. 8 in the final Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls, earning its 22nd final Top 10 ranking under Paterno. The Lions won at least 11 games for the 14th time under the Hall of Fame coach.
Penn State has earned one of the nation's Top 10 records since the start of the 2005 season, posting a 40-11 (78.4) mark, good for No. 9 nationally. The Nittany Lions have won 42 of their last 53 games overall, dating to the final two games of the 2004 season.
2009 Penn State Football Schedule
Sept. 5 AKRON
Sept. 12 SYRACUSE
Sept. 19 TEMPLE
Sept. 26 IOWA (1)
Oct. 3 at Illinois
Oct. 10 EASTERN ILLINOIS
Oct. 17 MINNESOTA (2)
Oct. 24 at Michigan
Oct. 31 at Northwestern
Nov. 7 OHIO STATE
Nov. 14 INDIANA
Nov. 21 at Michigan State
(1) All-University/Varsity "S" Day