The Syracuse Orange return to MetLife Stadium to face the Penn State Nittany Lions in New York's College Classic on Saturday, Aug. 31.
The matchup marks Syracuse's second of 14 games to be played at MetLife Stadium through 2038 and Penn State's first return to the Meadowlands in 13 years, when it faced USC in the 2000 Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands. The August game, whose gametime will be determined, will be the season opener for both universities.
Tickets, which range in price from $75 to $175, go on sale Monday, April 22, at 10 a.m. ET through Ticketmaster. Tickets will be available online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800-745-3000, and at Ticketmaster retail outlets.
Tickets will be available at the MetLife Stadium and IZOD Center box offices beginning Tuesday, April 23, at 11 a.m. For Group Sales (15 tickets), contact 201-460-4370. Suites for the game can be purchased by calling 201-559-1616.
Syracuse will ride the momentum of two bowl victories in the last three years and the 2012 Big East co-championship into the Atlantic Coast Conference. First-year head coach Scott Shafer welcomes back 12 starters, five on offense and seven on defense, from the 2012 ECAC FBS Team of the Year.
The offensive group includes 1,000-yard rusher Jerome Smith, tight end Beckett Wales and three of five starting linemen in center Macky MacPherson, guard Rob Trudo and tackle Sean Hickey. On defense, Markus Pierce-Brewster and Jay Bromley return to anchor the line, while linebackers Marquis Spruill and Dyshawn Davis, cornerbacks Keon Lyn and Ri'Shard Anderson and free safety Jeremi Wilkes will provide veteran experience for Shafer's defense, which ranked sixth nationally in tackles for loss in 2012.
The Orange closed their tenure in the Big East with a 38-14 victory over West Virginia in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl. The game also marked the conclusion of head coach Doug Marrone's four years as the leader at his alma mater, as the 1991 Syracuse graduate moved to the NFL to coach the Buffalo Bills. The 2012 Orange offense set multiple school records, including total offensive yards (6,188), total yards per game (476.0), total plays (1,028), passing yards (3,757), passing yards per game (289.0), completions (295), pass attempts (473), first downs (328) and touchdown (26).
"We look forward to starting our 2013 season by rekindling an age-old rivalry against a prestigious Penn State program," said Shafer. "It is a great opportunity for us to kick off the three-game series with the Nittany Lions in front of one of our largest alumni fan bases at MetLife Stadium."
Penn State returns 16 starters and 38 letterwinners for the 2013 season. Among the Nittany Lions' returnees are three All-Big Ten first-team honorees — tight end Kyle Carter, wide receiver Allen Robinson and guard John Urschel — as well as defensive end Deion Barnes, the conference's 2012 Freshman of the Year.
Robinson was the Big Ten Receiver of the Year after breaking the Penn State season record with 77 receptions, good for 1,013 yards and 11 touchdowns, while Barnes and Carter were consensus Freshman All-America first-teamers. Urschel graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average prior to his junior season and was a 2012 Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-America® first-team honoree.
In his first season as head coach, Bill O'Brien led Penn State to wins in eight of its final 10 games, beating eventual Big Ten champion Wisconsin on Senior Day to finish 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten. O'Brien was the 2012 Bear Bryant, Maxwell Football Club and ESPN National Coach of the Year and the Big Ten–Dave McClain Coach of the Year. O'Brien's eight wins were the most by a first-year Penn State coach in the 126 years of the program. Linebacker Michael Mauti became Penn State's 97th All-America first-team selection and led six Nittany Lions that earned All-Big Ten first-team honors. Senior quarterback Matt McGloin, who broke nine school passing records, won the Burlsworth Trophy, presented to the nation's top player who began his career as a walk-on.
"We are thrilled with the opportunity to open the season in a fantastic venue like MetLife Stadium against Syracuse, a team that Penn State has more than 90 years of tradition with on the football field," said O'Brien. "With nearly 30,000 Penn State alumni in the New York-New Jersey metro area, we are looking forward to playing in front of a passionate base of Penn State supporters. It will be exciting for our team to open the 2013 season in the same facility that will end the year by hosting Super Bowl XLVIII."
Syracuse and Penn State met at the Meadowlands once, on Oct. 20, 1979, with Penn State taking the win, 35-7. The Nittany Lions were 10-3 overall at the Meadowlands and Syracuse was 5-3. The Orange are 0-1 at MetLife Stadium (a 42-29 loss to Southern Cal last Sept. 8).
About MetLife Stadium
MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Jets and New York Football Giants, sets the standard for venue excellence with state-of-the-art technology, comfort and amenities. The only active venue to serve as the home stadium for two NFL teams, MetLife Stadium hosts 20 NFL games per season, more than any other stadium.
With a full gameday seating capacity of 82,500, MetLife Stadium is one of the largest stadiums in the National Football League. It boasts numerous dining options and a rail line that drops guests directly at the front door. During its inaugural year in 2010, MetLife Stadium was selected to host Super Bowl XLVIII, and in 2014 the venue will become history's first open-air venue in a cold-weather region to hold football's biggest game.
In 2011 MetLife Stadium was ranked No. 1 for safety by Security magazine's "Security 500" in the Arenas/Stadiums/Leagues/ Entertainment division and for the third consecutive year was cited by Billboard magazine as the highest-grossing stadium in North America (No. 1 in the world in 2012). For more information, visit metlifestadium.com.