Boston College Eagles vs. Penn State Nittany Lions
Saturday – December 27 – 3:30 pm
Yankee Stadium – New York
Boston College Eagles
The Eagles (7-5, 4-4 ACC) are playing in their second bowl game under second-year head coach Steve Addazio after missing postseason play for the previous three seasons. The game will be against the Nittany Lions (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten), who have not been to a bowl game since the 2011 season.
Boston College and Penn State have more in common than cold weather and Northeast roots. Both teams defend the run and play good defense. The Nittany Lions lead the nation in pass defense, allowing just 84.8 yards/game. The Eagles are fourth in the country with 95.5 yards/game. The PSU defense as a whole ranks second in the country, allowing just 269.8 yards/game while BC’s defense is 14th nationally, allowing 313.5 yards/game. Both the Eagles and the Lions have allowed just two 100-yard rushers this season. The Nittany Lions have racked up 30 sacks for a loss of 200 yards while the Eagles have recorded 31 sacks for a loss of 210 yards. It’s a team effort for both squads as 16 different BC players have recorded at least half a sack and 13 have done so for PSU. The difference between the two Northeast teams lies within the offense: BC runs the ball more than it throws, registering 146 rushing first downs to 69 passing first downs.
Penn State Nittany Lions
The Nittany Lions (6-6) were dismissed early for good behavior from the bowl ban the NCAA levied in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. Instead of sitting home, Penn State is set to play Boston College (7-5) on Saturday in the Pinstripe Bowl. The NCAA lifted the most severe sanctions levied against the program in the wake of the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The Nittany Lions suddenly saw a season playing for pride turn into so much more.
PSU star linebacker Mike Hull is one of 39 holdovers from the summer of 2012 still with the program. Another 10 recruits as part of the incoming class, including sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg, kept Penn State together for two competitive seasons under former coach Bill O’Brien.
The Eagles played the Nittany Lions 22 times in a rivalry dating to 1949. Penn State dominated the series, winning the first 19 of 20 games. The Eagles have won the last three matchups in 1993, 2003 and 2004. The two teams have never met on neutral territory.
Prediction: Both teams love handing the ball off to their accomplished running backs. This will be a low scoring affair. If you love smash mouth football. This will be the game to watch. Boston College 27 – Penn State 24