Boston College vs. Penn State: A History


On December 27, it will be Boston College vs. Penn State for the 24th time in college football history. Not bad for two regional teams that have not seen one another in a decade.

Boston College Eagles
Boston College Eagles /

Boston College Eagles

A great deal has happened to both programs since the last time they met on the field in 2004, with some general ups and downs on one end and an all-time major scandal on the other. Both Boston College and Penn State have taken some wild roads to get to this Pinstripe Bowl.

Nevertheless, here they are, and the Eagles will be looking for their first bowl win since 2007. It may be hard to believe for some fans, as they remember the days when Boston College claimed eight bowl trophies in eight years, which were not too long ago. Now, it has been seven years since the last one, and far too long at that.

If this were Penn State at its historical peak, this would be a particularly daunting task, but this game is not played in the history books.

Boston College vs. Penn State: The Big Picture

Of the previous 23 meetings between these schools, Penn State has won 19. At one point, the Eagles were 1-19 against the Nittany Lions, with the tide only turning in recent years.

That’s “daunting” for you.

Boston College vs. Penn State: The Particulars

Boston College and Penn State met for the first time in football in 1949, a 32-14 win for the Nittany Lions in Happy Valley.

In fact, going much further forward into the early into the 1980s, Penn State would go on to win the next ten games in a row in the series; it was an 11 to nothing series by 1982, just as the Doug Flutie era began.

It was, however, that same Mister Flutie who ended the losing streak to Penn State in 1983. In a 27-17 game at Alumni Stadium, Boston College got their first-ever win over Joe Paterno and company.

A Boston College vs. Penn State matchup happened each year in the 1980s except 1980 itself. The Eagles and Nittany Lions faced off 12 years in a row. The series continued into the early 1990s, only to revive their rivalry only briefly in the early to mid-2000s in a home and home. The Eagles won them both.

The Eagles and Nittany Lions have never before met in a bowl game until now.

There is a good amount of history in this series, and with both teams being regional relative to one another, it’s no surprise that this will be one of two-dozen meetings between them.

Nobody is deluding themselves that the history is any good for Boston College. Even Doug Flutie had trouble beating this team, which was in its prime amongst the most elite programs in the nation.

This is why the Eagles will try to make some new history in this new era under Steve Addazio.