When Penn State kicks off against Villanova Saturday in State College, it’ll be the first time the Nittany Lions and Wildcats will have squared off in football since Oct. 6, 1951, when they played at Allentown High School Stadium
The circumstances that led to that game, won by Villanova 20-14, being played in Allentown were influenced by an unlikely source, the Philadelphia Phillies’ 1950 “Whiz Kids” National League pennant-winners.
According to a report in the Oct. 7, 1951, edition of the Allentown Sunday Call-Chronicle, Villanova, as the home team, would have hosted Penn State at Philadelphia’s Shibe Park in 1951, but when making out the schedule for that season, school officials figured there was a good chance the stadium, also the home of the Phillies, would be in use for the World Series.
The youthful Whiz Kids in 1950 had made an appearance in the Fall Classic against the New York Yankees. But the Phils fizzled in 1951, finishing in fifth place with a 73-81 record.
Villanova often played home football games in Shibe Park in that era, rather than in its smaller, on-campus stadium.
The game was moved to Allentown High Stadium, now known as J. Birney Crum Stadium, and was deemed a success by both schools, according to the Sunday Call-Chronicle.
A crowd of 16,000 attended the game, and the Sunday Call-Chronicle reported that “Villanova and Penn State were so well pleased with arrangements here for their game yesterday that they are almost certain to be back here two years hence, and possibly for next year. Yesterday’s game was a ‘home’ contest for the Wildcats, and they definitely said they wanted to come back. ... State is scheduled to be the home team next season, and may agree to play the game here instead of State College.”
However, those games never materialized and the series, which Penn State leads 5-3-1, was discontinued ... until the 2021 game on Saturday.
Even though the Penn State-Villanova game generated a lot of interest in the Lehigh Valley in 1951, it wasn’t enough to earn the top headline in the Sunday Call-Chronicle sports section. That distinction went to the Muhlenberg College football team, which lost at Lebanon Valley, 12-6.
Penn State and Villanova are scheduled to meet again on Sept. 13, 2025, at Beaver Stadium.
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Source : https://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/mlb/penn-state-football-played-villanova-in-allentown-in-1951-thanks-to-the-phillies-e2-80-99-whiz-kids/ar-AAOIpWL450