Penn State adds old Eastern rival to future football schedules, but it's not Pitt

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (TNS)
Penn State

Penn State has added an old Eastern rival to its future football schedules ... but it's not Pitt.

The program announced Wednesday morning that it has agreed to a home-and-home non-conference series against Syracuse slated for 2027 and 2028.

"The Syracuse-Penn State series is one of tremendous historic significance for our university, community, alumni and Orange fans around the world," Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack said in a statement about the news. "We are excited to renew this historic rivalry."

The first matchup will take place Sept. 4, 2027 at Beaver Stadium, and that will be followed by a Nittany Lions visit to the Orange's yet-to-be-officially-renamed Dome on Sept. 9, 2028.

This will be the programs' first meeting since 2013, when Penn State scored a 23-17 victory in a neutral site matchup at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The teams last met for a home-and-home series in 2008 and 2009, with Penn State winning both contests. Overall, Penn State holds a 43-23-5 edge in the series and has won each of the past five meetings, a streak that dates to 1989.

Only Pitt has faced Penn State more often historically. And while this series has become lopsided in recent decades, the Orange were once a fierce rival, roughly splitting the matchups played throughout the 1950s and '60s.

The most lasting vestige of those rivalry days is Penn State's guarding of the Lion Shrine tradition that endures to this day. Each year for homecoming, members of the ROTC program stand guard over the famed statue to protect it from vandalism like the kind Syracuse fans once committed on it by drenching it in orange paint.