UNIVERSITY PARK – Another of Penn State's traditional opponents is returning to the 2012 football schedule.
Penn State Director of Athletics Tim Curley and Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced on Wednesday that the Nittany Lions and Midshipmen will meet on Sept. 15, 2012 in Beaver Stadium. Penn State and Navy have played 37 times previously, but the squads will be meeting for the first time since 1974.
The previously announced Temple at Penn State game in 2012 has been moved to Sept. 22. The Nittany Lions will visit Virginia on Sept. 8, 2012.
"We are excited to have Navy returning to the Penn State football schedule," said Curley. "Navy was our season opening opponent a number of times in the 1960's and '70's and we've had many memorable games against the Midshipmen. Navy has a great football tradition and has returned to being one of the top programs in the nation during the past decade. We're looking forward to having Navy playing again in Beaver Stadium."
Penn State holds an 18-17-2 edge in all-time series games, which began in 1894 with a 6-6 tie in Annapolis. The Nittany Lions are 7-3 vs. the Mids in State College and 2-1 in neutral site games, while Navy owns a 13-9-2 advantage in Annapolis.
The Nittany Lions and Mids met 12 times from 1961-74, with Navy serving as Penn State's season opening game eight times from 1961-71. The last game in the series was on Sept. 21, 1974, as former Penn State assistant coach George Welsh led the Mids to a 7-6 upset over the No. 8 Lions in State College
"Playing Penn State again will bring back many memories for our alumni and friends of Navy Football," said Gladchuk. "The opportunity to visit one of the most impressive stadiums in all of college football and take on the challenge of this storied program will be very inspiring to our coaches and student-athletes."
Penn State will visit Alabama on Sept. 11 (7 p.m., ESPN) and host the Crimson Tide in 2011 in the renewal of another series with a long-time gridiron opponent. The Nittany Lions will play Virginia in 2012 and '13 and Rutgers in 2014 and '15. During the past decade, Penn State has had non-conference series with Miami (Fla.), Nebraska, Virginia, Boston College, Notre Dame and Syracuse.
Penn State is 51-13 (79.7) since the start of the 2005 season, tied for the nation's No. 7 winning percentage over that span, under Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno. The Nittany Lions return 36 letterwinners for this season, including 13 starters, as well as 10 players that have starting experience. Penn State opens the season Sept. 4 vs. Youngstown State in Beaver Stadium (12 p.m., Big Ten Network) and visits 2009 BCS national champion Alabama the following week.