STATE COLLEGE – When Auburn plays Penn State on Saturday, the contest will mark the 47th time the Nittany Lions have met an Southeast Conference opponent and the third time Penn State will have play Auburn.

For Auburn, it will be the first time in 90 seasons that they have hit the road to play a team from the Big Ten. In 1931, Auburn traveled to Wisconsin in what ended in a 7-all tie.

The Nittany Lions and Tigers enter the weekend’s match with the series knotted at 1-1-1 with Penn State scheduled to play in the back end of the current two-game series next season at Auburn.

Penn State earned a 43-14 win against Auburn in the Outback Bowl during the 1995 season, and Auburn defeated Penn State, 13-9, in the Capital One Bowl during the 2002 season.

Penn State historically has a 23-23 record against SEC opponents, its most recent meeting occurring in January 2019 in a loss to Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl.

The Nittany Lions played their first contest against a current SEC member in 1940 when South Carolina visited State College in a game in which Penn State won, 12-0.

Although South Carolina is the first SEC Penn State has ever played, Alabama lays claim to being the Nittany Lions’ most-played opponent. The Nittany Lions and Crimson time have met 15 times, with Alabama owning a 5-10 series advantage.

Three of the Nittany Lions’ games against the Crimson Tide have been in bowl games: Liberty Bowl (1959) and the Sugar Bowl (1975, 1979).

Alabama and Penn State’s 1979 Sugar Bowl meeting determined the national champion that season as the Crimson Tide defeated previously undefeated Penn State, 14-7.

After a 20-year hiatus, Penn State and Alabama renewed the series when the Crimson Tide hosted the Nittany Lions in Tuscaloosa in 2010 in a game that Alabama won, 24-3. A year later, the Crimson Tide played at Beaver Stadium in a 27-11 win for the visitors.

The Crimson Tide is the last SEC team to travel to Penn State.

While Alabama stunted Penn State’s quest for a national championship in 1979, the Nittany Lions earned the program’s first consensus national championship by defeating Georgia, 27-23, in the Sugar Bowl during the 1982 season to cap an 11-1 campaign that year.

Georgia defeated Penn State in the January 2016 TaxSlayer Bowl in the series’ only other meeting.

Including South Carolina, the Nittany Lions boast winning records against five current SEC members in LSU (2-0), Texas A&M (3-1), Missouri (3-1) and Tennessee (3-2).

Penn State is 3-3 in games against Kentucky

The Nittany Lions have losing records against Florida (0-3) and Vanderbilt (0-1), they have yet to play games against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. 

Elton Hayes is a veteran sports writer who covers Penn State for CNHI LLC publications. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.

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