In 1904, West Virginia traveled to University Park to face Penn State for the first time. Penn State won 34–0. West Virginia traveled to University Park for 1905, 1906, 1908, and 1909 games against Penn State; all losses. In 1923, after a 13-year hiatus, the two schools met again at Yankee Stadium in New York City. The result was a 13–13 tie.
In 1925, the first game of the rivalry was played at Old Mountaineer Field in Morgantown. It was also West Virginia's first victory of the rivalry, 14–0. Six years later in 1931, the next game was also played at Morgantown, resulting in another Mountaineer victory. Nine years later, 1940, the next game was played at Penn State, a Nittany Lion victory. In 1941, the Lions won again 7–0.
In 1942, the Mountaineers won at home 24–0. Penn State won the next year 32–7, but West Virginia beat them at home in 1944, 28–27. The next six matchups up to 1952 were all Penn State victories.
In 1953 and 1954, West Virginia upset Penn State at "New Beaver Field", the Nittany Lions' home since 1909, 20–19 and 19–14. In 1955 West Virginia won at home 21–7. Penn State ended West Virginia's 3-game streak in 1956 with a 16–6 home victory. They won 27–6 in 1957, then there was a 14–14 tie in 1958 at Old Mountaineer Field.
From 1959 to 1983, Penn State posted a 25-game win streak. Penn State had consecutive victories over some of West Virginia's greatest quarterbacks, such as Oliver Luck and Penn State-transfer Jeff Hostetler. Joe Paterno also became coach of Penn State in 1967, while Don Nehlen became coach of West Virginia in 1980.
In 1984, West Virginia broke the win streak in Morgantown, with a 17–14 upset. However, Penn State won the next three contests. In 1988, under lead of Mountaineers' legend Major Harris, West Virginia won 51–30, en route to an undefeated regular season, making them the only team to score more than 50 points on any Joe Paterno coached Penn State squad. Penn State followed up by winning the last four games of the rivalry.