It is always a big deal whenever your team and city gets mentioned in the national spotlight for one of the biggest games in college football that everyone is talking about.
ESPN College Gameday got started in 1993 and has been at some of the best games in history. Along the way, the iconic Lee Corso has been the headliner of the show by putting on the headgear for his pick in the game of the day. The tradition started at Penn State’s expense when Corso donned the mascot head of Brutus, Ohio State’s mascot, when GameDay attended the 1996 matchup between Ohio State and Penn State in Columbus, Ohio. From there, a tradition was born.
Penn State games against Ohio State have been a bit of a staple for GameDay. The matchup between the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes is tied for the most GameDay spotlights with 11 total. The only other matchup with that many GameDay appearances is Alabama vs LSU.
Here’s a look back at how Penn State has performed anytime GameDay has set up its on-location studio on the scene, whether in Happy Valley or elsewhere in the country.
1994: No. 3 Penn State 31, No. 5 Michigan 24
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQVFimzXAHI October 15, 1994 Penn State's first game to be the scene for GameDay was an important one for the Nittany Lions. A road game at Michigan was the second all-time meeting between the two schools, and national title hopes were on the line in addition to a clear path to the Rose Bowl. Penn State's undefeated season was given legitimate national title contender status with a big win on the road against Michigan in Ann Arbor.
1996: No. 3 Ohio State 38, No. 4 Penn State 7
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno on the sidelines against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
October 5, 1996 It was a frustrating afternoon in damp weather conditions for Penn State head coach Joe Paterno and his Nittany Lions. Ohio State romped in Columbus, setting the tone for a pretty lopsided GameDay record in head-to-head matchups for Penn State and Ohio State.
1998: No. 1 Ohio State 28, No. 7 Penn State 9
Michael Wiley #5 of Ohio State in action during the game against Penn State at the Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Vincent Laforet/Getty Images
Octoebr 3, 1998 Penn State's third appearance on GameDay took place two years later on the same scene of their last appearance. Unfortunately for Penn State, it didn't go much better.
1999: No. 3 Penn State 41, No. 4 Arizona 7
Penn State Nittany Lions running back Larry Johnson (5) in action against the Arizona Wildcats during the Pigskin Classic at Beaver Stadium. RVR Photos-USA TODAY Network
August 28, 1999 College GameDay made its first trip to State College for the 1999 opener between two top-five teams, Penn State and Arizona. This one was all Nittnay Lions in the Pigskin Classic as Penn State blasted the Pac-10 program back to the desert and then some.
2004: No. 20 Wisconsin 16, Penn State 3
Wisconsin's Scott Starks (2) and Jim Leonhard (18) hit Penn State receiver Mark Rubin (80) to break up a pass in the first half Saturday, Sept. 25, 2004, in Madison, Wis. AP Photo/Morry Gash
September 25, 2004 It would be five years until Penn State was back on for a GameDay appearance. Penn State's road game at Wisconsin was a tough experience, with the offense only managing to put three points on the board. Quarterback Michael Robinson was taken off the field in an ambulance in the first half with a concussion, and the offense was lost all game against the Badgers.
2005: No. 16 Penn State 17, No. 6 Ohio State 10
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CjJ86bKIUA8 October 8, 2005 The day that officially declared Penn State had returned to the national conversation started with a full weekend on-site attack by ESPN, including GameDay. Penn State's signature win over the Buckeyes was the first time Penn State topped Ohio State with ESPN in town, and this catapulted Penn State to a Big Ten championship.
2005: No. 5 Penn State 31, Michigan State 22
Penn State quarterback Michael Robinson (12) gets interviewed by ESPN while fans cheer over the victory. Penn State won its second Big Ten title with a 31-22 victory over MSU in East Lansing. Domenic Centofanti/Getty Images
November 19, 2005 GameDay made the trip to East Lansing as Penn State looked to wrap up, officially, its Big Ten championship season. Penn State just that with a victory over Michigan State, sending the Nittany Lions off to the Orange Bowl only because the Rose Bowl was hosting the national championship game instead.
2006: No. 1 Ohio State 28, No. 24 Penn State 6
Penn State Nittany Lions false starts at the goal line being forced to kick a field goal against Ohio State Buckeyes in the fourth quarter at Ohio Stadium. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
September 23, 2006 Ohio State returned to their dominating ways over Penn State in front of the GameDay crew. The Buckeyes used big plays on defense to keep Penn State from putting a real upset scare into effect.
2007: No. 1 Ohio State 37, No. 25 Penn State 17
Penn State Nittany Lions head coach Joe Paterno meets with Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Jim Tressel after the game at Beaver Stadium. Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
October 27, 2007 Once again, Ohio State was too much for Penn State to handle. The top-ranked Buckeyes easily dispatched of the Nittany Lions by 20 points, dropping Penn State out of the top 25 as a result.
2008: No. 3 Penn State 13, No. 10 Ohio State 6
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFKn2d2hYXM October 25, 2008 Penn State picked up a rare win in Ohio Stadium in 2008, with a strong defensive effort and backup quarterback Pat Devlin coming in to relieve Daryll Clark in the winning effort. The win helped keep Penn State's national championship hopes alive at the time, although those hopes were later snapped with an upset loss at Iowa as USC and Texas appeared destined to collide for the national championship anyway.
2009: No. 5 USC 38, No. 6 Penn State 24 (Rose Bowl)
Penn State Nittany Lions wide receiver Jordan Norwood (24) runs the ball against the defense of Southern California Trojans defensive end Clay Matthews (47) during the second half of the 2009 Rose Bowl game at the Rose Bowl. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
January 1, 2009 Penn State's Big Ten championship season ended with a tough matchup against a high-powered USC Trojans squad. USC was too much to handle for the Nittany Lions, who came up short by two touchdowns in Pasadena, their second trip to the Rose Bowl since joining the Big Ten.
2009: Iowa 21, No. 4 Penn State 10
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive end Adrian Clayborn (94) blocks a punt by Penn State Nittany Lions punter Jeremy Boone (41) during the second half at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
September 26, 2009 One of the more frustrating nights of Penn State football came against the Iowa Hawkeyes, who silenced the home crowd with a dominating defensive performance. Iowa shut down the Nittany Lions from start to finish and walked out of Beaver Stadium with a 21-10 victory that tossed Penn State immediately out of the national championship race.
2010: No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 18 Penn State 3
Julio Jones #8 of the Alabama Crimson Tide is tackled by Nick Sukay #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
September 11, 2010 Penn State picked a bad time to revive its history with Alabama. As the Nittany Lions were regressing, the Crimson Tide were on cruise control to national championship-contending status under Nick Saban. At least Saban took it relatively easy on Joe Paterno and Penn State in Tuscaloosa.
2010: No. 7 Ohio State 38, Penn State 24
Ohio State Buckeyes defensive back Jermale Hines (7) tackles Penn State Nittany Lions running back Stephfon Green (21) after a short gain at Ohio Stadium. Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
November 13, 2010 Another road trip to Columbus resulted in another loss for the Nittany Lions with GameDay on the scene. Ohio State dispatched of Penn State, who had been outside the top 25 and stuck in mediocrity for much of the season. Penn State put up a decent fight for a bit, but Ohio State was too much to contain.
2016: No. 8 Penn State 38, No. 6 Wisconsin 21 (Big Ten Championship Game)
https://youtu.be/6M-7vGnwFh4 December 3, 2016 It had been a long time since Penn State was in a GameDay game, but this one was worth the wait. Penn State rallied against Wisconsin to come away with its first Big Ten championship game victory, clinching a spot in the Rose Bowl after not quite making the cut for the College Football Playoff.
2017: No. 9 USC 52, No. 5 Penn State 49 (Rose Bowl)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5okV8MzEaNw&t=24s January 2, 2017 Penn State once again faced USC in the Rose Bowl, and they nearly came away with a thrilling victory. But despite plenty of offensive fireworks, it was USC that walked away with a wild Rose Bowl victory.
2017: No. 2 Penn State 42, No. 19 Michigan 13
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsVPpl5DNOo October 21, 2017 A record crowd at Beaver Stadium enjoyed a blowout of the Michigan Wolverines in a whiteout atmosphere. Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley had quite the evening.
2017: No. 6 Ohio State 39, No. 2 Penn State 38
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROrsXuHmIAY October 28, 2017 For the first time, Penn State made back-to-back College GameDay appearances. This time, it was since again in Columbus against the Ohio State Buckeyes. And this is the one that got away from Penn State. After jumping out to a big lead in the Horseshoe, Ohio State rallied back with an incredible fourth-quarter comeback for the ages led by J.T. Barrett.
2018: No. 4 Ohio State 27, No. 9 Penn State 26
https://youtu.be/CrD7jXEojj0?t=260 September 29, 2018 Another year led to another missed golden opportunity against the Buckeyes for Penn State. Once again, Penn State was unable to cross the finish line after leading Ohio State for much of the night. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9SjFc1_7-w
2019: No. 7 Penn State 28, No. 16 Michigan 21
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3a-mIjODJAw October 19, 2019 Penn State won a thriller in Happy Valley in front of a rowdy Whiteout crowd, but Michigan made them sweat it out a bit in the second half. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VyI51gk0ulo
2019: No. 2 Ohio State 28, No. 9 Penn State 17
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Pete Werner (20) watches as the ball falls to the ground after helping break up a pass intended for Penn State Nittany Lions tight end Pat Freiermuth (87). Joshua A. Bickel/Dispatch
Osu19psu Jb Xtra 09
November 23, 2019 Ohio Stadium has been a house of horrors for Penn State, but the underdog Nittany Lions managed to make some surprising plays that caused a little bit of a panic from the favored Buckeyes. But Penn State was unable to finish the job and Ohio State celebrated another key victory over the Nittany Lions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qgGiTNLCGGs
2020: No. 3 Ohio State 38, No. 18 Penn State 25
Jahan Dotson (5) makes a one-handed touchdown reception in front of Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Shaun Wade (24). Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch-USA TODAY NETWORK
October 31, 2020 A week after starting a delayed Big Ten-only season with a controversial loss at Indiana, Penn State opened its home schedule against Ohio State. After digging a big hole early, Penn State was unable to dig out of it despite some top highlight plays by Jahan Dotson. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGtp-Yws5gI Follow Nittany Lions Wire on Twitter and like us on Facebook for continuing Penn State coverage and discussion.