For the second straight season, Penn State will open Big Ten conference play with a road Friday night game. Penn State’s game with Maryland was moved from Saturday to Friday, Sept. 27 2019, at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. The time of the game is yet to be announced.
The Nittany Lions played their first Friday night game of the Franklin era in 2018, defeating Illinois 63-24 in Champaign to open conference play. Penn State looked out of sorts for the first half, a possible byproduct of the change in schedule. A 35-point fourth quarter for the Nittany Lions ultimately made the game a blowout. You may remember Franklin voiced his disapproval of weekday games at Big Ten media days in Chicago:
“Friday nights are for high school football, Saturday is for college and Sunday is for the NFL,” he said. “So we’re not going to do this at Penn State, at home, but we also appreciate, and understand and respect that other teams in our conference are going to use a different approach. For me, I’m a little bit of an old school guy, I believe that the Friday, Saturday, Sunday model has worked for a long time and I’d like to keep it that way.”
Surely playing Friday night in the heart of Penn State's Mid-Atlantic footprint will not land favorably with the coach and his recruiting efforts for the class of 2020. The Maryland/DC/Virginia area is absolutely loaded next cycle, and the staff would have used Friday night to make appearances at the games of marquee recruits. The Nittany Lions are heavily involved in eight of the top 10 players in Maryland, the top five in D.C., and the top two players in Virginia, who are both from the metro area.
The game will be the first conference game for new Terps head coach Mike Locksley. Locksley was Maryland's interim head coach when these two teams met in 2015 after Randy Edsall's firing. The Nittany Lions sneaked by 31-30 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Maryland went on to lose five of the six games of Locksley's interim tenure.