After starting the 2014 season with no apparent chance of earning a postseason bid, Penn State is going bowling this year.
Sunday, first-year coach James Franklin's 6-6 team accepted a bid to the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium in Bronx, N.Y., Dec. 27. The Nittany Lions will take on Boston College of the ACC.
We are thrilled to be facing Boston College in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, said Sandy Barbour, Penn State director of athletics. The Pinstripe Bowl brings together three great brands in Penn State, the New York Yankees and New Era in one of the world's truly great cities. The Pinstripe Bowl will provide thousands of Penn Staters, particularly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, an opportunity to support the 2014 Nittany Lions one more time and take in all that New York City has to offer during the holidays. I'm particularly pleased that our senior football student-athletes will have a chance to play in a bowl game, and that as a community we will have one more opportunity to honor and thank them. I can't wait to gather in New York with the Penn State faithful.
We are very excited and appreciative to be going to New York City to play in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, Franklin said. Penn State has a long and storied bowl history and we look forward to another opportunity to keep our family together. I am so happy for our players, especially the seniors, for this chance to play together one more time. The thing that makes Penn State special is the people, and we can't wait to see our alumni and fans storming New York and filling Yankee Stadium on Dec. 27.
While not considered an upper-tier bowl in the Big Ten's pecking order, the Pinstripe is no doubt a welcomed destination for the Nittany Lions. After all, when the season began, they were still in the middle of the four-year bowl ban that was imposed as part of the NCAA sanctions stemming from the Sandusky scandal.
But many of the sanctions, including the postseason ban, were lifted during the season. Once PSU reached the six victories necessary to qualify for a bowl, they were suddenly in.
Penn State reached the qualifying standard for wins in each of the previous two season under former coach Bill O'Brien, but were kept out of bowls by the NCAA sanctions.
The Eagles went 7-5 in the regular season and feature a powerful rushing attack that cranks out 251.8 yards per game, the 14th best average in the nation. It should make for a great matchup with the PSU rush defense, which is first nationally (84.8 ypg).
Boston College went 4-4 in the ACC, good for fourth in the Atlantic Division.
Stay tuned for more.