For the first time in the 21st century, Beaver Stadium will play host to a matchup of top-10 teams.
The latest AP and coaches polls have Penn State at No. 9 and Ohio State at No. 4 headed into Saturday’s primetime showdown in Happy Valley.
It will be the first time in nearly two decades — almost 7,000 days — since Penn State was will face another top-10 team at home. On Aug. 28, 1999, No. 4-ranked Penn State took on No. 3 Arizona in the season-opener, won 41-7 by the Nittany Lions.
As it happened, ESPN’s then-fledgling College GameDay show was in State College for the game.
GameDay will be back in town for this top-10 showdown, ESPN and Penn State announced on Saturday night. It will be the 18th time the traveling pregame show will be at a Penn State game and the seventh time orginating from State College.
The Lions are 3-3 in the previous visits, winning the 1999 game against Arizona as well as the 2005 upset of Ohio State and last season’s trampling of Michigan. Penn State lost in 1997 to Michigan, 2007 to Ohio State and in 2009 to Iowa.
Last year’s GameDay broadcast also came before a White Out game at night, in which the all-time Beaver Stadium attendance record was broken with an annouced crowd of 110,823. ESPN changed the location of the GameDay set from outside of the stadium to the Old Main lawn on campus. Details for this year’s setup will be announced Monday.
Saturday’s game will pit the two highest-scoring teams in the country as Penn State is No. 1 at 55.5 points per game and Ohio State is right behind at 54.5.
Penn State launched its return onto the national stage by upsetting No. 2 Ohio State under the lights at home in 2016. The Buckeyes returned the favor with a huge second-half rally in Columbus last fall to knock off the No. 2 Lions.