AUBURN — As Auburn welcomes Penn State to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the first time ever, it will be the Tigers’ fourth time facing off with a team from the Big Ten Conference in the regular season and their second in the last 90 years.
The first time Auburn faced a foe from the Big Ten was during the 1917 season, and it was a “neutral site” game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Soldiers Field in Montgomery, Ala.
Mike Donahue and the Tigers fought the undefeated Buckeyes, coached by John Wilce, to a 0-0 tie, the only blemish on the Buckeyes’ undefeated season.
It would be 14 more years before Auburn would meet the Big 10 again, traveling to Madison, Wisc., to face the Badgers at Camp-Randall Stadium, in front of 38,000 fans. The Tigers tied another Big Ten opponent, 7-7 in their second game of the year and second season under Chet A. Wynne.
After that, the Tigers would face Nebraska and Maryland a combined five times before 2000, but those teams were each in different conferences and did not join the Big Ten until later. Last year’s trip to Penn State was Auburn’s first regular season matchup with a team currently in the Big Ten in 90 years, and it did not disappoint.
This was Auburn’s third matchup ever with Penn State and the first in the regular season.
The Nittany Lions and the Tigers clashed for the first time ever in the 1995 Outback Bowl, with Penn State handily winning the game 43-14.
Auburn finished the year 8-4 and ranked No. 22 in the final AP poll, while Penn State was 9-3 and ranked No. 13 in the AP poll.
Seven years later, the two teams met in a Florida postseason bowl again, this time in Orlando’s Capital One Bowl. Tommy Tuberville, in his fourth season on the Plains, faced off with Joe Paterno, coaching for his 37th season in Happy Valley.
Hot off the heels of a huge upset win over No. 9 Alabama in the Iron Bowl, the Tigers shut down the Nittany Lions’ offense on the way to a 13-9 victory, tying the series at 1-1.
The teams would meet again in 2021, and with the whiteout, one of the most incredible and hostile environments in all of sports, in full force, the Tigers had the ball inside the five with a chance to win, but came up short, losing 28-20.
This year the Tigers look for revenge, to even the series against the Nittany Lions and extend their lead in the overall series with the Big 10. Regular season and postseason combined, Auburn is 12-11-2 all-time against current Big 10 opponents.
“Penn State, they’re 2-0. Very good football team, we played them last year, they beat us. They're scoring 40 points a game. They look good, fast, physical and well-coached,” said Auburn head coach Bryan Harsin. “At quarterback, Sean Clifford, a very good player. Was last year continues to be.”
Auburn defensive coordinator Jeff Schmedding was asked at Tiger Talk about Clifford’s performance last year, when the veteran quarterback completed 87.5% of his passes in one of the most efficient games of his career.
"I'd prefer to not let that happen, so we're on the same page," Schmedding said.
Auburn and Penn State will kick off inside Jordan-Hare Stadium at 2:30 p.m. CST on CBS.
Don’t miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.