STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s been 10 years since the last time Penn State played Ohio. In 2012, the Nittany Lions hosted the Bobcats to open the season following the Jerry Sandusky scandal and sanctions from the NCAA.
Steelton native Jordan Hill says the 24-14 loss was the toughest in school history.
“That game and at that time for Penn State Football was the most emotional game we have probably ever had,” Hill said.
Fresh off the sanctions, many star players fled the program. Bill O’Brien took over as head coach in what was a shell of what was Penn State Football.
“It was the first time you were going to see what the sanctions had done,” Hill said.
The signs in the crowd at Beaver Stadium that morning read “You stayed with us… We stand with you.”
“Going into it knowing everything we had been through, knowing that many people were sticking by us, it was a job that we needed to continue,” Hill said.
The game was about resurrecting a storied program, and was the first step in that direction.
“We were playing for the University and we were playing for all the guys that chose to play together for each other,” Hill said.
It was the birth of the Iron Lions in what Hill calls the toughest loss in program history.
Penn State takes on Ohio in the Nittany Lions home opener on Saturday, September 10. It’s the first time these teams have met since the 2012 season.