Game Preview: Penn State vs. Pittsburgh
Josh Starr, Dylan Huberman and Tom Johnston preview Penn State's week two matchup at Pitt:
It’s week two of the college football season, which presents another week of non-conference action. This week, No. 13 Penn State will travel to Pittsburgh to take on in-state rival Pitt Panthers in a prime-time matchup that will air nationally on ABC at 8 p.m. at Heinz Field.
Last weekend, Penn State faced the Appalachian State Mountaineers of the Sun Belt conference. The game in many ways was gut-wrenching. The Mountaineers gave Penn State a true challenge. However, Penn State prevailed with an overtime victory 45-38. Additionally, quarterback Trace McSorley completed 21 of his 36 attempted passes for 230 yards. He also had three touchdowns on the day, one passing and two rushing. Running back Miles Sanders also had himself a game rushing for 95 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.
Furthermore, the Nittany Lions defense struggled throughout the game on Saturday. Appalachian State quarterback Zac Thomas completed 25 of his 38 attempted passes for 270 yards. He also had two touchdowns and one interception in overtime to end the game. The Mountaineers also gained 177 yards on the ground on 37 attempts. In total, the Nittany Lions on defense gave up 469 yards.
Last weekend, the Pitt Panthers defeated the Albany Great Danes 33-7 at Heinz Field. However, all the scoring was done in the first half of the game. Pitt quarterback Kenney Pickett threw two touchdowns, completing 16 of his 22 passes for 154 yards. He also threw one interception during the game.
Furthermore, the Panthers brought shutdown defense to the game. Overall, they had five sacks for 33 yards. Damar Hamlin had one interception returned for 79 yards though not for a touchdown. Pitt also scored 19 points in the first quarter and an additional 14 in the second quarter.
Last season, the Pitt Panthers finished the season 5-7 overall and 3-5 in ACC conference play. They finished sixth in the coastal division as well.
As for Penn State, they finished 11-2 overall and 8-2 in Big Ten play. They also defeated the Washington Huskies in the Fiesta Bowl 35-28.
Since the Keystone classic rivalry was renewed in 2016, both Pitt and Penn State have won one game apiece.
Back in 2016, Pitt won 42-39 and Trace McSorley threw an interception that sealed the Nittany Lions fate. On the other hand, Penn State earned a 33-14 victory last year at Beaver Stadium. However, this time around James Franklin and the team will be better prepared to take on the challenging atmosphere Heinz Field is sure to have since this is the last game between the two in Pittsburgh for quite some time.
Tom Johnston is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.