The Nittany Lions and Orange have met 70 times previously, the second-highest total for a Penn State opponent. Penn State owns a 42-23-5 on-field series advantage, winning the most recent contests during the 2008 and '09 seasons. The teams met every season from 1944-90, but did not meet again until the 2008 contest in the Carrier Dome. This year's meeting was first announced in 2010.
Penn State will be playing at the Meadowlands for the first time in 13 years, when it faced USC in the 2000 Kickoff Classic at Giants Stadium. The Nittany Lions and Orange met once at Giants Stadium, with the Penn State posting a 35-7 win on October 20, 1979. The Nittany Lions were 10-3 overall at Giants Stadium, while Syracuse is a combined 5-4 at the Meadowlands, including a 2012 loss to USC in MetLife Stadium.
The Nittany Lions will be opening the season at the Meadowlands for the sixth time, having beaten Rutgers (1977), Georgia Tech (1991) and USC (1996) and losing to Nebraska (1983) and USC (2000). The last four contests were in the Kickoff Classic.
"We are thrilled with the opportunity to open the 2013 season in a fantastic venue like MetLife Stadium against Syracuse, a team that Penn State has more than 90 years of tradition with on the football field," said Bill O'Brien, Penn State Football Coach. "With nearly 30,000 Penn State alumni in the New York-New Jersey metro area, we are looking forward to playing in front of a passionate base of Penn State supporters. It will be exciting for our team to open the 2013 season in the same facility that will end the year by hosting Super Bowl XLVIII."
Penn State returns 16 starters and 38 letter winners for the 2013 season. Among the Nittany Lions' returnees are three first-team All-Big Ten honorees: tight end Kyle Carter, wide receiver Allen Robinson and guard John Urschel, as well as defensive end Deion Barnes, the conference's 2012 Freshman of the Year. Robinson was the Big Ten Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year after breaking the Penn State season record with 77 receptions, good for 1,013 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Barnes and Carter were consensus first-team Freshman All-Americans. Urschel graduated with a 4.0 grade point average prior to his junior season and was a 2012 first-team Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America honoree.
There will be at least 11 New Jersey natives on the Nittany Lions' 2013 roster, including four recent signees, as well as seven returnees, including running back Bill Belton (Sicklerville), linebacker Glenn Carson (Manahawkin) and center/guard Angelo Mangiro (Succasunna).
Penn State will distribute ticket purchase details for the Syracuse game to Nittany Lion Club members and 2013 season ticket holders in the spring.
"We look forward to starting our 2013 season by rekindling an age-old rivalry against a prestigious Penn State program," said Syracuse Football Coach Scott Shafer. "It is a great opportunity for us to kick off the three-game series with the Nittany Lions in front of one of our largest alumni fan bases at MetLife Stadium."
Syracuse will ride the momentum of two bowl victories in the last three years and the 2012 BIG EAST co-Championship into the Atlantic Coast Conference. First-year head coach Scott Shafer welcomes back 12 starters, including five on offense and seven on defense, from the 2012 ECAC FBS Team of the Year. The offensive group includes 1,000-yard rusher Jerome Smith, tight end Beckett Wales and three of five starting linemen in center Macky MacPherson, guard Rob Trudo and tackle Sean Hickey. On defense, Markus Pierce-Brewster and Jay Bromley return to anchor the line, while linebackers Marquis Spruill and Dyshawn Davis, cornerbacks Keon Lyn and Ri'Shard Anderson and free safety Jeremi Wilkes will provide Shafer's defense, which ranked sixth nationally in tackles for a loss in 2012, with veteran experience.
The Orange closed its tenure in the BIG EAST with a 38-14 victory against West Virginia in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The game also marked the conclusion of head coach Doug Marrone's four years as the leader at his alma mater, as the 1991 Syracuse graduate moved to the National Football League to coach the Buffalo Bills. The 2012 Orange offense set multiple school records, including total offense yards (6,188), total yards per game (476.0), total plays (1,028), passing yards (3,757), passing yards per game (289.0), completions (295), pass attempts (473) and first downs (328), and touchdown (26).
Public tickets for the Penn State-Syracuse game, which range in price from $75 to $175, go on sale Monday, April 22 at 10 a.m. ET through Ticketmaster. Tickets will be available online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000, and at Ticketmaster Retails Outlets. Tickets will be available at the MetLife Stadium and IZOD Center Box Offices beginning Tuesday, April 23 at 11 a.m. ET. For Group Sales (15+ tickets), contact 201-460-4370. Suites for the game can be purchased by calling 201-559-1616.
In his first season as head coach, O'Brien led Penn State to wins in eight of its final 10 games, beating eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin on Senior Day to finish 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten. O'Brien was the 2012 Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year and the Big Ten-Dave McClain Coach of the Year. O'Brien's eight wins were the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program. Linebacker Michael Mauti became Penn State's 97th first-team All-America selection and led six Nittany Lions that earned first-team All-Big Ten honors. Senior quarterback Matt McGloin, who broke nine school passing records, won the Burlsworth Trophy, presented the nation's top player who began his career as a walk-on.
Season tickets are available for the 2013 season. The Nittany Lions will host three teams that finished in the 2012 BCS Top 25: Michigan (Oct. 12-Homecoming), Nebraska (Nov. 23) and Kent State. Purdue, Illinois, UCF and Eastern Michigan also will visit Beaver Stadium this year.
Source: PSU Athletics