Michigan State–Penn State football rivalry

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Michigan State–Penn State football rivalry
First meeting November 13, 1914
Latest meeting November 26, 2016
Next meeting November 4, 2017
Trophy Land Grant Trophy
Meetings total 31
All-time series Tied, 15–15–1
Trophy series Penn State leads, 13–6
Largest victory Penn State, 61–7 (2002)
Longest win streak Michigan State, 5 (1949–66)
Current win streak Penn State, 1 (2016–present)

The Michigan State–Penn State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Michigan State Spartans and Penn State Nittany Lions. The Land Grant Trophy is presented to the winner of the game. Penn State are the current holders after beating Michigan State 45–12 in 2016. The series is tied 15–15–1.

Series history[edit]

When Penn State joined the Big Ten Conference in 1993, the Nittany Lions and Spartans were designated as permanent rivals, and met each other for the trophy in the last week of conference play. The trophy, designed by former Michigan State coach George Perles, features pictures of Penn State's Old Main and Michigan State's Beaumont Tower, as well as figurines of The Spartan and Nittany Lion Shrine statues. The trophy is infamous for its unwieldiness and hodgepodge appearance.

On September 24, 2005 during Michigan week, a couple of Penn State students brazenly defaced the newly installed bronze Sparty statue. “It happened during broad daylight, with people all around” according to MSU police Sgt. Randy Holton.[1] The statue was splattered with blue paint and the base tagged with the letters PSU. The perpetrators were able to evade capture despite the incident occurring in the middle of the day, during the traditional period of time when the statue is guarded by MSU student employees and Spartan Marching Band members, in what is called Sparty Watch.

In 2011, Nebraska joined the Big Ten, and the conference split into two divisions. Michigan State was in the Legends division and Penn State was in the Leaders division, so they no longer played each other annually. Instead, Indiana and Nebraska were designated as Michigan State and Penn State's permanent rivals, respectively. Under this setup, Penn State and Michigan State would compete on average two out of every five years,[2] but the two teams did not play against each other during the three years that this system was in effect (2011–13).

In 2014, when Maryland and Rutgers joined the Big Ten, the conference was realigned into two geographically-based divisions, East and West. Michigan State and Penn State are both in the East division, and thus resumed a yearly series. As before, the game is played on the final weekend of the regular season, which is the week before the Big Ten Championship Game.

Michigan State University followed by Penn State University are the nation's oldest land-grant universities, hence the name for the trophy. In 1955 on the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the land grant system, Michigan State and Penn State were commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp honoring the "First of the Land-Grant Colleges". These two universities were the first ever universities to be placed on a U.S. postage stamp.

They are the 4th and 5th most recently joined members of the Big Ten, after Nebraska, who joined in 2011, Maryland and Rutgers, who both joined in 2014. Fellow Big Ten members Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue and Wisconsin all these being land-grant schools.

Game results[edit]

Michigan State victories Penn State victories Ties
No. Date Location Winner Score
1 November 13, 1914 State College Michigan State 6–3
2 October 24, 1925 State College Penn State 13–6
3 November 17, 1945 East Lansing Michigan State 33–0
4 October 19, 1946 State College Michigan State 19–16
5 October 23, 1948 State College Tie 14–14
6 October 22, 1949 East Lansing Michigan State 24–0
7 October 20, 1951 State College #3 Michigan State 32–21
8 October 25, 1952 East Lansing #1 Michigan State 34–7
9 September 25, 1965 State College Michigan State 23–0
10 September 24, 1966 East Lansing #1 Michigan State 42–8
11 November 27, 1993 East Lansing #14 Penn State 38–37
12 November 26, 1994 State College #2 Penn State 59–31
13 November 25, 1995 East Lansing #14 Penn State 25–20
14 November 23, 1996 State College #7 Penn State 32–29
15 November 29, 1997 East Lansing Michigan State 49–14
16 November 28, 1998 State College #23 Penn State 57–28
17 November 20, 1999 East Lansing #15 Michigan State 35–28
18 November 18, 2000 State College Penn State 42–23
19 November 24, 2001 East Lansing Penn State 42–37
20 November 23, 2002 State College #16 Penn State 61–7
21 November 22, 2003 East Lansing Michigan State 41–10
22 November 20, 2004 State College Penn State 37–13
23 November 19, 2005 East Lansing #5 Penn State 31–22
24 November 18, 2006 State College Penn State 17–13
25 November 17, 2007 East Lansing Michigan State 35–31
26 November 22, 2008 State College #8 Penn State 49–18
27 November 21, 2009 East Lansing #14 Penn State 42–14
28 November 27, 2010 State College #10 Michigan State 28–22
29 November 29, 2014 State College #10 Michigan State 34–10
30 November 28, 2015 East Lansing #6 Michigan State 55–16
31 November 26, 2016 State College #7 Penn State 45–12
32 November 4, 2017 East Lansing
Series: Tied 15–15–1


  1. ^ "Rivalry week: MSU Vs. U-M, 5 days until kickoff". The State News. Retrieved 2016-11-22. 
  2. ^ "Big Ten Schools to Play Nine Conference Games Beginning With 2017 Season", Big Ten, August 4, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2015.

External links[edit]