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Penn State and Boston College To Play In Pinstripe Bowl

After two long seasons, the Penn State football team is finally headed back to the postseason.

The Nittany Lions (6-6) will take on Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York City. The news was first reported by Brett McMurphy of ESPN.

This marks the first bowl appearance for Penn State since playing in the TicketCity Bowl in January 2012. The game will be played in historic Yankee Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. on December 27, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN’s family of networks.

Penn State is 27-15-2 all time in bowl games. The last win came in January 2010, when Daryll Clark led the Nittany Lions to a 19-17 victory over LSU in a rain-soaked Capitol One Bowl to close the 2009 season. The Eagles are 13-10 in bowl games all-time, and lost to Arizona in last year’s Independence Bowl.

This will be the fourth bowl game in James Franklin’s career, and first as the head coach of the Nittany Lions. He was he was 2-1 in three postseason appearance at Vanderbilt. The Commodores lost to Cincinnati in the 2011 Liberty Bowl, beat NC State in the Music City Bowl in 2012, and defeated Houston in the Compass Bowl last season.

The Eagles finished the season 7-5 and sixth place overall in the ACC, but don’t let their record fool you. Boston College put together an impressive season under second-year head coach Steve Addazio, who coached against Penn State in 2011 and 2012 as the head coach at Temple (the Owls lost both times). With the exception of an early-season 10-point loss to Pitt, the team’s only losses came against ranked opponents. Even in games where it would appear the Eagles would be run out of the building, the team took both Clemson and eventual ACC champion Florida State to the wire, losing both games by a combined seven points.

BC’s most impressive win of the year came in the third week of the season, knocking off then No. 9 USC by out-rushing the Trojans by 432 yards en route to a 37-31 upset at home in Alumni Stadium. Dual-threat quarterback Tyler Murphy rushed for 191 yards on 13 carries in that game, and is the team’s leading rusher with 1079 yards and 10 touchdowns this season. The senior from Wethersfield, Ct., has the third most rushing yards of any quarterback in the FBS this season.

Looking ahead for Penn State, Boston College plays the type of football the Nittany Lions are accustomed to seeing in the Big Ten. The Eagles run the ball well (251.8 yards per game, 15th nationally) and play outstanding defense (20.5 points allowed per game, 18th nationally), a lethal combination for keeping opposing offenses off the field. In fact, the Eagles rank 11th in the country in time of possession, holding onto the ball for an average of 33 minutes per game. It’s not as if forcing Penn State’s exceptionally average offense to sit on the sidelines would be detrimental, but its normally impressive defense has been worn thin on occasion when forced to remain on the field (see final quarter and overtimes vs. Ohio State, final minutes against Illinois).

Luckily, Boston College’s offense remains very one-dimensional, as the Eagles rank 123rd in the country in passing offense with only 132 yards per game through the air. Bob Shoop and the nation’s best rush defense should be able to handle a scrambling Murphy and bruising freshman running back Jon Hilliman.

It will be interesting to see how both of these team’s matchup, given their strengths and weaknesses. In the cold, possibly wet and snowy conditions at Yankee Stadium, there will be an emphasis on running the football and controlling the clock, a clear advantage for Boston College. However, Penn State’s defense has given the team a fighting chance all season, and the offensive line and running game seemed to be peaking just as the season came to a close.

Penn State and Boston College have only met 23 times, with the Nittany Lions holding a 19-4 advantage. However, the Eagles have won the last three dating back to 1992, with the last win coming in the dreadful 2004 season. Although the teams play in separate conferences, this game will have recruiting implications in the northeast and the New York and New Jersey area, a major emphasis for both programs.

Despite it being a baseball stadium, the New Yankee Stadium has hosted a slew of football games since it opened in 2009. This is the fifth straight year “The House That Jeter Built” will host the Pinstripe Bowl, and the Stadium most recently hosted the 150th meeting of Lehigh and Lafayette in November. This is how the field is set up for football games:

field

Tickets in the Penn State fan section are available on the Penn State ticketing website. Student ticket information will be available in the coming days.

About the Author

CJ Doon

CJ is a senior journalism major from Long Island and Onward State's Sports Editor. He is a third-generation Penn Stater, and his grandfather wrestled for the university back in the 1930s under coach Charlie “Doc” Speidel. Besides writing, one of his favorite activities is making sea puns. You can follow him on Twitter @CJDoon, and send your best puns to [email protected], just for the halibut.

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