Penn State (6-6, 2-6, Big Ten) will compete with Boston College (7-5, 4-4) for the right to hoist the New Era Pinstripe Trophy on December 27 at 4:30 in the afternoon. The game will take place at the infamous Yankee Stadium.
This is Penn State’s first bowl game since 2012. During the outing, head coach James Franklin will look to the nation’s top-ranked rushing defense (84.8 yards per game) with the hope of containing Boston College’s 14th-ranked rushing offense (251.8 yards per game). Instrumental in this effort will be senior All-American linebacker Mike Hull, who leads the Big Ten and is ranked seventh in the nation in total stops with 134 tackles. Senior defensive tackle Anthony Zettel has racked up at least one sack in his last four games.
Quarterback Christian Hackenberg has thrown a sophomore record of 2,606 yards this season, but has struggled with accuracy and a weak offensive line to collect only eight touchdowns. To supplement the Nittany Lions’ scoring, freshman wide receiver Daesean Hamilton and sophomore running back Akeel Lynch have combined for 1,451 yards and five touchdowns.
For the Eagles’ offensive effort, quarterback Tyler Murphy and freshman running back Jon Hilliman run the show for head coach Steve Addazio. Murphy is a double threat – he passed for 1,526 yards, rushed for 1,079 yards, and accounted for 21 total touchdowns. Hilliman rushed for 712 yards and collected 12 touchdowns this season.
Defensively, Boston College relies on defensive back Justin Daniels. His 70 tackles lead the team and he has contributed two interceptions. Linebacker Josh Keys has tallied 63 stops, ranking third for the Eagles.
Franklin communicated his excitement and reservations about the game, recognizing that Boston College is a strong team and that this game will not be a walk in the park for the Nittany Lions.
“We don’t have one guy in our program who has won a bowl game. I don’t have anyone in the program who can tell the young guys what it’s like to win a bowl game. I also went back and looked at our record against BC the last three or four times we played them. We have a tremendous challenge.”
Despite squaring off in 23 games since 1949, this is the first time that the two teams will meet since 2004 when Penn State fell to Boston College 21-7 after five turnovers gave the Eagles the edge. Penn State owns the series lead 19-4 overall.
The New Era Pinstripe Bowl will be broadcasted on ESPN on Saturday, December 27 at 4:30 p.m. with Bob Wischusen, Matt Millen, and Quint Kessenich calling the game.
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