This will be a very emotional game for the Penn State seniors on the team who stuck by their alma mater during the NCAA sanctions, and they would love nothing more than to cut-short the Spartan’s journey to victory for one last hoorah on their home field.
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A Look into Land Grant Trophy
When Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1993, the Nittany Lions and the Spartans were designated as their official rivals. Their rivalry continued into the 21st century with Penn State taking a huge lead in their series together. They led the series 13-5 until 2011 when news broke of one of the worst events to happen in the history of college football - the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
We all remember the tragic story. By June 22, 2012, Sandusky was found guilty on 45 counts of child molestation on school grounds between the years of 1994 and 2011, and school president Graham Spanier, athletic director Tim Curley and head coach of the team Joe Paterno were fired for covering up the events. The program was stripped of all wins between the years of 1994-2011 (121 wins in all), put on 5 year probation, and put on four-year postseason ban.
As a result, Michigan State now leads the series 13-5-1, and needless to say, the NIttany Lions have had to start from scratch on their football program. However, Penn State hasn’t seen the Spartans since 2010, giving them time to rebuild from the ground up.
When Nebraska moved into the Big Ten in 2011, Michigan State and Penn State were moved into different divisions, resulting in their cease in rivalry games to be played annually. Now, under the new organization of the conference, Michigan State and Penn State would only see each other four times out of every ten years. So, since their last game in 2010, the Spartans are the current holder of the trophy from their last face-off in 2010 (Final score 28-22). A lot was riding on that game. It was to decide who would go on to the Big Ten Championship Game, which fuels the rivalry fire in the game this weekend as the Nittany Lions will be seeking revenge on their enemy Michigan State.
This brings us to the game on Saturday, their first meeting since the new division changes and Penn State trial. A lot has changed since they last saw each other. The Spartans are the defending Big Ten Champions, and once again, this game will determine if the Spartans will return to the conference title game. The Nittany Lions are the only thing standing in their way