Penn State Headed to Outback

Nittany Lions will face Florida in the New Year's Day bowl game in Tampa. "I'm happy for the squad," PSU coach Joe Paterno said.

The stars aligned for Penn State on the bowl front this year.

Despite suffering through their worst season since 2004, the 7-5 Nittany Lions have earned a bid to the Outback Bowl in Tampa on New Year's Day.

They also drew a reasonable opponent in Florida, which finished the season at 7-5, too. The bowl pays $3.4 million to each team, which ranks among the top five for non-BCS bowls.

"This team has worked hard all season and has been a great group to work with," PSU coach Joe Paterno said. "I'm happy for the squad that their efforts will be rewarded with an opportunity to go to the Outback Bowl, where we have had some wonderful experiences, and be involved in a good, tough game. It will be fun to go back to the Tampa Bay area."

The game, to be played at Raymond James Stadium, will be televised nationally by ABC at 1 p.m., leading into the network's Rose Bowl coverage. The Monday Night Football team of Mike Tirico and John Gruden will call the action for ABC.

Penn State is 3-0 all-time in the Outback Bowl, with wins over SEC opponents in each game. The Lions last ventured to Tampa for the 2007 game, in which they beat Tennessee 20-10.

Penn State and Florida have only met twice before. In the 1998 Citrus Bowl, with star PSU offensive weapons Curtis Enis and Joe Jurevicius both suspended for the game, the Gators won easily, 21-6. Florida also beat Penn State in the 1962 Gator Bowl, 17-7.

This will also mark the first game between Paterno and his Florida counterpart, Urban Meyer. Paterno is the all-time leader in bowl victories with a career record of 24-11-1.

The Nittany Lions are 4-1 in their last five bowls.

Fight On State Top Stories