The last time there was a matchup between PSU and LSU on the gridiron was in the 1974 Orange Bowl, a whopping 36 years ago, but that streak will end on New Year's Day next month, when the Nittany Lions will face the Tigers in sunny Orlando, Fla., in the Capital One Bowl.
Penn State pulled through with a 16-9 win over the Tigers back in 1974, led by Heisman Trophy winner John Cappelletti.
This is the fifth time overall that Penn State has played in the Capital One Bowl, with previous appearances after the 2002, 1997, 1993, and 1987 seasons. The Lions lost their last two visits, though, being defeated by Auburn in ’02 and Florida in ’97.
PSU, ranked 11th with a record of 10-2, has yet to beat a ranked team. After losing to Ohio State and Iowa at home this season, there was concern over whether the team would be able to play in a decent bowl game. Poor special teams play was a huge factor in Penn State’s losses to both teams.
On the other hand, LSU is ranked first in the country in punt returns and averages around 18.6 yards per return by riding the performances of key players Chad Jones and Trindon Holliday.
There is a lot of anticipation for this bowl game, especially because the matchup between both teams hasn’t occurred for over three decades. Both teams have great talent and statistics this season, which should make for an exciting and close-scoring game.
Jono, a current Penn State junior, thinks the Lions can turn a somewhat bumpy season into a successful one.
“Despite some pretty disappointing setbacks this season, I still have some hope that we can pull something big here. We still have the potential to play solid football, however inconsistent it may be.”
Tony, also a junior, took it a step further, saying he thinks it could be one of the "most exciting games of the year," pointing to PSU's strengths.
“The Nittany Lions present many issues of their own, including a defense that is top 10 in the nation in sacks, as well as allowing only 11.8 points a game.
"The one questions for this Nittany Lions team is 'Will they show up?' Most of the problems have been seen on offense, which has been inconsistent for much of the year and just never seemed to get on track, even with a very easy schedule. However, the offense was clicking on all cylinders in their final game against Michigan State, and I believe Daryll Clark, Evan Royster, and Co. will do just enough to pull out the win. Final score: Penn State 24, LSU 17.”
Tickets for the game are currently available on Ticketmaster and range between $45-$200, depending on the section. You can also find more available tickets on other Web sites such as StubHub and Ticket City, but don’t expect to find all tickets as cheap as $200. Tickets will also be sold to full-time students this Saturday at Gate B of the Bryce Jordan Center on Campus. The sale begins at 7 a.m. and ends at 11 a.m., or until tickets are sold out. The price for each student ticket is $80.
With game day just a few weeks away, the only thing keeping the excitement from students for the Capital One Bowl is finals week and going home for the holidays.
I think that it’s going to be a great game, and as long as Penn State plays strong and consistent throughout the match and its special teams unit shuts down LSU’s impressive returns, PSU has a good shot at bringing another bowl game victory home to Happy Valley.