After the heartbreaking 42-39 loss the Lions faced against the Panthers last year in Pittsburgh, Penn State is hungrier than ever for a win.
Head Coach James Franklin gave his tried-and-true “focus on the moment” speech this week during the coaches’ press conference.
“People kind of keep asking me about this game and I understand the significance of this game...but I'm also a huge believer that this is the most important game on our schedule because it's the one we play this week,” said Franklin. “This week, the Pitt game is the most important game in the universe. It's the only thing that exists for us.”
After standout performances last week from quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.), running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.), and tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.), fans should be expecting the Lions to go hard from the first whistle to the very last.
McSorley recalled that last year the team struggled against Pitt due to a slow start, but that this year, things are sure to be different.
“Something that kind of stands out is you can't start slow in games,” McSorley noted. “Obviously that slow start really crushed us...and we were fortunate enough towards the end of the year to be able to come out and come back and win some of those games.”
Although Penn State fans love to poke fun at Pitt, the Panthers do have a few talented players that fans will want to be on the lookout for:
Wide receiver Jester Weah (Madison, Wis.) was a force against Pitt’s marginal win against Youngstown State last weekend, capturing an 11-yard touchdown pass and deftly avoiding YSU’s defense for much of the game.
Redshirt senior quarterback Max Browne (Sammamish, Wis.) was consistent for much of Pitt’s opening game, completing 17 passes for 140 yards and logging one touchdown.
Penn State defense won’t want to hold back on Pitt’s quick offense - although word has it that Pitt tried to replicate the “harsh” environment in Beaver Stadium by practicing with extra sound during their practices this week.
As if the Penn State vs. Pitt game wasn’t already emotionally charged, Penn State will be unveiling the “2016” year that was added to Beaver Stadium’s wall of significant years in program history before kickoff on Saturday.
For those who have been with Penn State through every up and down, we thank you and we know this will be an emotional and meaningful event for all in attendance.
You did it last week, Penn State fans, now get ready to do it again; bring your passion, your cheering, and your Penn State pride to Beaver Stadium in full force this Saturday as Happy Valley prepares to show Pitt which Pennsylvania school really is the best.