The Rivalry Game: Penn State vs. Pitt

The Rivalry Game: Penn State vs. Pitt

No one needs to tell Nittany Nation what week it is – Pitt game week. This is the first time in 16 years that the teams will square off; nearly two decades of tradition and rivalry have built up to this exact moment, this exact weekend.

Although the game will be played at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, the Panthers’ (1-0) home field, Penn State (1-0) is close enough in proximity to dominate the fan base. After all, Pitt is not known for its impressive showings at games.

There is currently a movement to #WhiteOutHeinz on Saturday. If you’re heading to the game, bring a white shirt!

Currently, Pitt has a one game win streak, having won the most recent showdown in 2000, a tight 12-0 win on their home turf.

However, Penn State has history on its side. Penn State leads with total wins (50 to Pitt’s 42) in the history of games played between the two.

The first game ever played between Penn State and Pitt was in 1893 – Penn State won handily, 32-0 at home in State College. From 1966 to 1974, when this game occurred every year, Penn State had an undefeated streak that was ended in 1977.


This past Tuesday, Head Coach James Franklin held his weekly press conference. This week, he was inundated with questions about the storied rivalry between these two teams.

Before answering any questions about the game itself, Franklin gave a nod to Pitt player, James Conner.

“I do want to mention James Conner,” said Franklin. “Not only did he overcome a knee injury, but cancer, and he makes it back for the opening game of the season. So he’s a tremendous young man, tremendous example of college athletics and his passion for the game and his passion for his university.”

Coach Franklin remained calm, collected, and candid with the press, stating that this game should not be blown out of proportion.

“We approach this like every other game on our schedule. Keep our focus consistent. Focus on the process of being successful, not the results or not a specific type of game… But I think understands the significance of it.”

Statistically, Penn State has some early season advantages over Pitt.

Penn State bests Pitt in rushing yards (145.0-86.0), passing yards (209.0-175.0), and total offense (354.0-261.0).

The players are confident yet mature in their approach to this game.

Junior wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) stated, “We treat as a normal game because it’s our next game on the schedule and now it’s our most important game.”

Penn State has a lot of room to prove itself this coming weekend. Be sure to tune into ESPN at noon if you can’t be there in person for some Nittany Lion football! We Are!