The Penn State-Ohio State Rivalry By the Numbers
First meeting: Penn State 37, Ohio State 0 – The first meeting between the teams took place in 1912 in Columbus. It would be 44 years before the two teams met again.
Series Record: Ohio State leads the series 15-13 (official NCAA records be damned).
Most Consecutive Wins: 4 - Penn State won the first four games of the rivalry, all of which took place in Columbus. The latter three of those wins came against top 10 ranked Ohio State teams, while Penn State was unranked. Ohio State had three consecutive wins over Penn State from 2002-2004.
Largest Crowd: 109,839 – After losing the past three games in the series to Ohio State, the fourth-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history watched Penn State continue its undefeated 2005 season with a 17-10 victory over the Buckeyes. The rivalry’s largest crowd in Ohio Stadium was in 2008, when 105,713 people were in attendance to see the Nittany Lions defeat the Buckeyes, 13-6.
Highest Scoring Game: Penn State 63, Ohio State 14 – The highest scoring game occurred in 1994. It also happens to be the largest margin of victory in the series.
Largest margin of victory for Ohio State: Ohio State 45, Penn State 6 – Ohio State’s largest rout over Penn State occurred in Columbus during the 2000 season. The Buckeyes entered the September matchup as the No. 14 team in the country in what would be John Cooper’s final season as head coach before Jim Tressel was hired as his replacement after the season.
Largest Comeback to Win: 18 points – In 2001, Penn State had started its season 1-4 and Joe Paterno was seeking his 324th win. Penn State trailed Ohio State 27-9 in the third quarter. Matt Senneca was benched in favor of freshman Zach Mills, who lead Penn State to a 29-27 victory. This game was the first time neither team had been ranked in the AP Poll before the game, besides the 1912 game, which was before the AP Poll era.
Shared Big Ten Championships: 2 – Penn State and Ohio State “shared” Big Ten Championships in 2005 and 2008, although Penn State beat Ohio State head-to-head in both of those seasons, so I suppose “sharing” is relative.
# of Bowl Games Against Each Other: 1 – The two teams faced off in the 1980 Fiesta Bowl. Penn State trailed 19-10 at halftime, but a solid defense that did not allow Ohio State any net yards in the third quarter and only 73 yards in the fourth quarter stifled the Buckeyes, and the Nittany Lions went on to a 31-19 victory.
# of Games with Interim Coaches: 1 – Both teams had interim coaches for the 2011 game, with Luke Fickell for Ohio State and Tom Bradley for Penn State. No. 21 Penn State defeated Ohio State 20-14 for Bradley’s only win as Penn State’s coach.
Tomorrow, Bill O’Brien looks to even up his record against Urban Meyer after losing to Ohio State last season, 35-23. Some of the most classic match-ups in the rivalry were mentioned in this post, and if you’re hoping to relive them, we’ve compiled some of those games here.