Pregame Predictor: The Moment of Truth

Pregame Predictor: The Moment of Truth

I’m just going to come out and be frank about this folks, Round 3 in Pittsburgh scares the bejeezers out of me. Long before App State rolled into Happy Valley and almost crushed another giant, I’ve been giving this one the stink eye. Not because I don’t believe in our squad. I do. Not because I think they have more talent on their roster. They don't. Most definitely NOT because I think their coaches are better. It’s not even close. Nope, on paper we check all the usual boxes that normally equate to a win. Those details are not the issue. The only issue in my eyes is the one thing that reared its ugly head more than anything else last Saturday: growing pains.

App State took advantage of our growing pains in the fourth quarter and you better believe Pat Narduzzi and the Pitt Panthers were licking their chops watching it all unfold. So here WE ARE today, at a crossroads in this oh-so-young season; both literally and figuratively in regards to Penn State football. Call it the Keystone Classic if you will. The Battle of PA is what I named it when this rivalry renewed itself for the first time in decades two years ago, but all things considered, I’m just going to go ahead and tag this one “The Moment of Truth” for our young Lions. They may not be the underdogs according to Vegas, but those point spreads may be the only opinions that really give us a fighting chance to walk into the ‘Burgh and walk away with a victory.


Don’t blame our warrior of a QB for that, or the head coach that has given his everything from the very second he got his dream job and stepped onto campus. No, don’t blame the vets left on this team for the early season doubt that has crept in. Just take a look at our roster littered with youth and look no further. The irony here is that two years ago, youth played a factor in a close loss that coulda, shoulda, woulda, and eventually played a huge role in keeping us out of the playoffs. That warrior of a QB that has now thrown a TD in 29 straight games was only making his second start last time he was in Pittsburgh. A lot has changed since then but I remember thinking that although we lost that game in heartbreaking fashion, you could clearly see the fire in Trace McSorley's eyes. It was crystal. The same fire we all saw last week as the General led his squad to victory from the jaws of defeat.

A wise old man used to say something along the lines of, “There is no bigger improvement than from the first week to the second.” His name was Joe. JoePa to all of us that bleed blue and white. He roamed those sidelines for decades and tussled with Pitt more than his Lion's share. He was a wise old soul and this week, those words ring truer than ever. No friends, there won’t be any taunts of “here kitty, kitty” coming from me this week for those of you that remember. That’s the last thing a team this young needs to hear and this is, after all, their moment of truth. I fully expect our heated rival to throw everything they can at us, including the kitchen sink, but in the end, the fire that burns inside those eyes of our on-field leader will be too much for even our growing pains to stumble over: Penn State 31 – Pitt 20 in a close one!