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Penn State Football’s Record vs. Pac-12 Teams

Penn State football has played every current Pac-12 team…except for Utah.

Luckily for the Nittany Lions, they have a Rose Bowl date with the Utes — the final piece in Penn State’s Pacific puzzle. Historically, the Nittany Lions’ matchups with current Pac-12 foes have gone favorably. They hold a 25-14 all-time record.

Before January 2 rolls around, let’s take a look back at how Penn State has fared against Pac-12 opponents.

Arizona

Penn State’s only matchup with the Wildcats was the season opener in 1999. Arizona was ranked No. 4 and visited the No. 3-ranked Nittany Lions. Despite the close ranking, the game was a bloodbath and Penn State claimed a 41-7 win.

In 2020, Tucson.com wondered if Arizona’s program ever recovered from such a crushing defeat. Its head coach was fired the next season and the Wildcats have only claimed one season with more than eight wins since.

Arizona joined the Pac-10 in 1978.

Arizona State

Penn State has met the Sun Devils just one time, which was in the 1977 Fiesta Bowl. The Nittany Lions won this matchup 42-30 thanks to an MVP performance from linebacker Matt Millen. The game also featured a block kicked returned for a touchdown and 268 Nittany Lion rushing yards.

At the time, Penn State was still independent and Arizona State was in the Western Athletic Conference. It joined the Pac-10 the next year.

Cal

Penn State is 3-1 all-time against the Golden Bears, but the two teams have not met since 1966. They had a home-and-home series in 1961/62 and 1965/66.

Cal’s only victory came in 1965, which was a 21-17 win in Berkeley. The school was in the Athletic Association of Western Universities (AAWU) at the time, which became the Pac-8 in 1968.

Colorado

The Nittany Lions and the Buffs are gridlocked in a 1-1 all-time record. The two teams had a home-and-home in 1969 and 1970 and each team won its home matchup. Colorado holds the current win streak, winning 41-13 in Boulder.

The Buffs were in the Big Eight Conference in 1970 and didn’t join the Pac-12 until 2011.

Oregon

Penn State claims a 3-1 series lead over Oregon, and its only Rose Bowl victory came over the Ducks in 1995. Before that game, the two teams most recently played in a 1963/64 home-and-home.

The Nittany Lions’ lone loss to Oregon came in a 22-14 defeat at home in 1964. Penn State also claims a 1960 Liberty Bowl victory over the Ducks, which was played at Philadelphia Municipal Stadium.

Oregon joined the AAWU in 1964.

Oregon State

Penn State’s sole game against the Beavers was in 2008, which was a standalone non-conference matchup. The Nittany Lions dispatched Oregon State 45-14 behind 141 rushing yards from Evan Royster.

The Beavers were in the Pac-10 when this game was played.

Stanford

Penn State is 4-1 against Stanford, and the two teams haven’t met since 1993, which was when the Cardinals picked up their sole win in the Blockbuster Bowl.

The Nittany Lions played Stanford for four consecutive years between 1973 and 1976, including two home openers. Just one of those games was in California, and Penn State swept the series.

Stanford joined the Pacific Coast Conference (PCC), which eventually became the Pac-12, in 1918.

UCLA

UCLA is one of two current Pac-12 teams that holds a winning record against Penn State. The two teams haven’t played since 1968, but the Bruins hold a 4-2 all-time edge.

Penn State and UCLA played in five straight seasons between 1963 and 1968. The Nittany Lions bookended the series with their two wins and currently hold the win streak. The Bruins’ largest win was a 49-11 stomping in 1966 in Los Angeles.

UCLA became the 10th member of the PCTT in 1924. It will join the Big Ten in 2024, 100 years later.

USC

The Trojans, who are also set to move to the Big Ten in 2024, are the other squad with a winning record against Penn State. The Nittany Lions have played USC more than any other Pac-12 team and are down 4-6 in the series.

These two teams most recently met in the iconic 2017 Rose Bowl, which USC won 52-49 on a last-second field goal. Penn State’s four wins came in 1996, 1994, 1993, and 1982.

The Trojans joined the PCC in 1922.

Utah

We’ll see.

Washington

Penn State is undefeated against Washington, holding a 3-0 record. The Huskies are the most recent Pac-12 team the Nittany Lions played, which was in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl. Trace McSorley and Marcus Allen claimed MVP awards in the 35-29 win.

These two teams’ other meetings came in 1921 in Seattle and the 1983 Aloha Bowl. Washington was a founding member of the AAWU.

Washington State

Penn State’s only two games with the Cougars were in 1947 and 1948, which were both won by the Nittany Lions. One of the games was in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the other was in Tacoma, Washington.

Washington State joined the AAWU in 1962.

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About the Author

Ryan Parsons

Ryan is a redshirt senior majoring in business and journalism from "Philadelphia" and mostly writes about football nowadays. You can follow him on Twitter @rjparsons9 or say hi via email at [email protected]

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