Big Ten releases conference-only schedule; Penn State football kicks off Sept. 5

STATE COLLEGE – The Big Ten announced a 10-game conference-only football schedule and medical protocols for all sports Wednesday morning. Penn State opens the 2020 football season Sept. 5 at Beaver Stadium against Northwestern.

The Nittany Lions open preseason practice Friday.

The Big Ten schedule will span 12 weeks with each team having two open dates. The Big Ten schedule was constructed in a way that allows season to start as early as the weekend of Sept. 5, but also provides the ability to move the start of the season back to Sept. 12, 19 or 26 through strategic sequencing that allows games to be moved to a latter part of the schedule.

The Big Ten championship game remains scheduled for Dec. 5 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, though it could be moved as late as Dec. 19.

Game times will be announced at a later date.

Penn State opens against Northwestern at Beaver Stadium before consecutive road trips to Indiana (Sept. 12) and Michigan (Sept. 19). Penn State’s back home Sept. 26 to host Michigan State and heads to Rutgers on Oct. 3.

The Nittany Lions are off Oct. 10 before returning to Beaver Stadium to host Maryland on Oct. 17 and Iowa (Oct. 24).

That’s followed by a road trip on Halloween to Nebraska.

Penn State hosts Ohio State in a highly anticipated matchup Nov. 7.

Penn State is then off Nov. 14 before heading to Illinois for the regular-season finale Nov. 21.

The Nittany Lions return 18 total starters from last season (10 on offense, five on defense, three on special teams) and 40 letterwinners (16 on offense, 21 on defense, three on special teams). Of the returnees, nine earned All-Big Ten recognition in 2019.

Capped by a 53-39 win over No. 17 Memphis in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic on Dec. 28, the Nittany Lions posted their third 11-win season in four years with an 11-2 record. It marked Penn State’s 18th 11-win season overall and eighth since joining the Big Ten.

Penn State’s last stretch with 11 wins in three out of four years was 1968-71.

Penn State finished in the Top 10 of the Associated Press poll and the Amway Coaches polls for its third Top 10 finish in both polls in the last four seasons. The Nittany Lions came in at No. 9 in the final AP and Amway Coaches polls. Additionally, Penn State was No. 10 in the final College Football Playoff Rankings.

The Nittany Lions have ended the season in the AP Top 25 in four-consecutive seasons for the first time since a seven-year stint from 1993-99. Penn State is one of four teams (Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma) to rank in the Top 12 of the CFP final rankings in each of the last four seasons (2016-19).


SEPT. 5 — vs. Northwestern

SEPT. 12 — at Indiana

SEPT. 19 — at Michigan

SEPT. 26 – vs. Michigan State

OCT. 3 – at Rutgers

OCT. 10 – Bye

OCT. 17 – vs. Maryland

OCT. 24 — vs. Iowa

OCT. 31 — at Nebraska

NOV. 7 — vs. Ohio State

NOV. 14 — Bye

NOV. 21 — at Illinois

DEC. 5 – Big Ten championship game


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