PINSTRIPE BOWL: PENN STATE vs. BOSTON COLLEGE
Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Yankee Stadium, New York Records: Penn State, 6-6, 2-6 Big Ten (sixth in East Division). Boston College, 7-5, 4-4 ACC (fourth in Atlantic Division).
Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Yankee Stadium, New York
Records: Penn State, 6-6, 2-6 Big Ten (sixth in East Division). Boston College, 7-5, 4-4 ACC (fourth in Atlantic Division).
TV/Radio: ESPN; WNTP-AM (990), WNPV-AM (1440).
Coaches: Penn State, James Franklin (first season, 6-6; 30-21 overall in four seasons). Boston College, Steve Addazio (second season, 14-11; 27-22 overall in four seasons)
Series: The two teams have played 23 times since 1946. The Nittany Lions won 19 of the first 20 games in the series but the Eagles have captured the last three including a 21-7 win in their last meeting in 2004. Penn State's last victory, 28-21, came in 1991.
Bowl record: This is Penn State's 45th bowl appearance. The Nittany Lions are 27-15-2 in bowl games (five wins vacated by the NCAA) with their last victory, 19-17 over Louisiana State, coming in the 2010 Capital One Citrus Bowl in Orlando. In their most recent bowl contest, they lost 30-14 to Houston in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl in Dallas.
Three things to watch:
The main question is: Which team will prevail in a matchup of strength vs. strength – Penn State's No. 1-ranked rush defense (84.8 yards per game) against a Boston College offense that is 14th in FBS rushing (251.8 yards per game) and has scored 29 touchdowns?
The quarterbacks - the Nittany Lions' Christian Hackenberg and the Eagles' Tyler Murphy - present contrasting styles with Hackenberg having thrown for 2,606 yards and eight touchdowns and Murphy picking up 1,079 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns on the ground.
The Nittany Lions have turned the ball over twice as many times as Boston College (24-12). For Hackenberg, who has thrown 15 interceptions and lost four fumbles, ball security is of the utmost importance.
Three things you did not know:
The Nittany Lions defense allowed 300 yards or more of total offense against only one opponent this season and - surprise - it wasn't College Football Playoff participant Ohio State. Northwestern, in the Lions' fifth game of the season, gained 361 total yards.
Franklin and much of his coaching staff are participating in their fourth consecutive bowl game. He led Vanderbilt to a 2-1 bowl record in the last three seasons including a 23-21 win over Houston last year in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
Addazio, 55, began his FBS coaching career as an assistant at Syracuse and coached at Notre Dame, Indiana and Florida before getting his first head coaching job at Temple after the 2010 season. He went 13-11 with the Owls and led the 2011 team to a win in the New Mexico Bowl.
- Joe Juliano