Penn State defeated, trounced, destroyed and otherwise had their way with Pitt en route to a 51-6 final score that was, in fact, only 14-6 at the half.
Let’s get one thing out of the way . . . Pitt does not deserve to have this series continue past next year. It is not Penn State’s duty or responsibility to support Pitt’s athletic department, particularly when their own fan base can’t support their team. Even when Toledo defeated Penn State at Beaver Stadium in 2000,there were more Penn State fans in the stands at the end of that game than there were Pitt fans in the stadium at the end of the third quarter Saturday. I assume their band was forced to stay. Most everyone else abandoned ship. And quickly.
It was raining.
Oh boo hoo. The rain fell on the Penn State fans too.
I almost feel sorry for Pitt fans–especially actual graduates who like football. The University paraded before us a montage of Nine National Football Championships (8 occurring 1937 or earlier, and one in 1976) and a few hall of famers (the youngest of which was Dan Marino.) Is it coincidence that Pitt football has been irrelevant since they tore down Pitt Stadium and chose to become a basketball school, which strangely has not won an NCAA tournament?
And before you few Pitt fans start an argument, I know full well that Penn State has not had a recognized championship since 1986. But Penn State has been ranked in the Top 5 many times, including failed championship runs in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008, and 2016. PSU was ranked #2 before a ONE POINT LOSS to #6 Ohio State in 2017. Penn State has been ranked every week in the AP poll since defeating Ohio State in 2016. Pitt has ended up in the final AP ranking twice in 14 years (#15 in 2009 and #25 in 2004.) I’m not going to waste any more time debating this issue.
Pitt gave up about midway through the third quarter. Their fans followed suit. I praised Appalachian state last week for their tenacity and dedication. They gave us a game. Pitt gave us a nauseating replay of their glory years in the Great Depression era. Pitt-iful. Were there potential Pitt recruits at that game? How does Narduzzi spin this? It’s hard to use smoke and mirrors when there is no smoke and your mirrors are broken.
You want to be a big time program? You want to demand scheduling respect as a big time program? Then how about acting like one? How many big time programs–pick one any one, Alabama, Ohio State, USC, Clemson–would prohibit fans from parking and tailgating until three hours before a “rivalry” game? Oh wait. Those schools have their own stadiums. They don’t depend on rentals or interfering with baseball games for a team that has no chance at the playoffs.
Where do you even begin? How about at the top. A fifteen yard penalty on the head coach. Classy. Multiple penalties. Botched extra point. Failed fourth down after eschewing a chip-shot field goal to potentially take the lead. A bobbled and then blocked punt by the special teams.
And despite the lop-sided score, Penn State did not put on one of their best performances. McSorley was a meager 14 of 30 for 145 yards. His stats were plagued to some degree by dropped passes, and he did score one rushing TD. The offense was hindered also by two fumbles by Ricky Slade. But neither turnover led to Pitt points.
The Penn State defense gave up what seemed like an incredible amount of yardage in the first half (over 200 yards?) yet inexplicably held the panthers to a mere 6 points. They shut Pitt out after their only score. It was like some kind of magic show–things were not as they seemed.
Penn State continued another Franklin era tradition of making good adjustments at halftime, both offensively and defensively.
I’m over 50. I grew up in the seventies and eighties when this was a rivalry. But today, there is no compelling reason for Penn State to ever return to the ‘burgh again. Especially if we might interfere with a Penguins exhibition game or an art exhibit at the Carnegie museum.
Despite the weather and the location, it was a fun night to be a Penn State fan. Not because we defeated a worthy opponent, but because we defeated Pitt and their delusional coach 51-6 on the Steeler’s field, in their own city, before a national TV audience.
The rain came. The evil was washed away like the wicked witch of the West(ern) PA. Ding Dong the Pitt (and series with them) is dead.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Any estimates about how many PSU fans were there? It looked like about 50%. That number approached 100% by the time James Franklin challenged the second fumble.
Pitt had only 56 yards passing. I guess we ain’t Albany. That’s why we kept reminding them who we are . . we are PENN STATE!
PSU averaged 6.1 yards per play to Pitt’s 4.3.
PSU leads the series 52-43-4.
Pitt won the coin toss but elected to receive. Apparently that was botched as well as it appeared Narduzzi wanted to defer.
Miles Davis notched his first career 100+ yard rushing game.
Trace McSorley extended his streak of games throwing a touchdown to 30.
Nice 39-yard punt return by Thompkins.
Blue Band Drum Major stuck both flips on a wet field. Can we recruit drum majors or what?!
Appalachian State, by the way, defeated Charlotte 45-9.
THE BIG (TEN) PICTURE:
The Buckeyes rolled all over the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers, 52-3. Rutgers Al is in the ICU. Meyer knew nothing about it.
THEM rebounded over Western Michigan, 49-3.
However, in the Eastern part of the state, things were different. EMU defeated Purdue 20-19. Not to be outdone, Sparty was upsot by the ASU Sun Devils 16-13, giving up 13 points in the fourth quarter. It was a bad day for the Big Ten versus devils, as Northwestern fell to the Duke Blue Devils 21-7.
The Gophers beat Fresno State 21-14.
Illinois beat Western Illinois 34-14.
Iowa beat Iowa State 13-3.
Indiana outlasted Virginia on a muddy field, 20-16.
And Nebraska fans should have prayed for more rain. The Huskers lost to Colorado 33-28.
Maryland out-rolled Bowling Green 45-14.
And The Badgers beat New Mexico 45-14.
Kent State comes to Beaver Stadium next Saturday for a noon kick-off. Hate the nooners.
The Golden Flashes lost a close one to Illinois, 31-24, but then had an amazing victory over Howard the Duck 54-14.
I expect the coaching staff to tone things down–conservative offense–limit showing plays on film and minimize injuries to key players. Kent State appears to be ranked around #120. Let’s face it, this should be a scrimmage, but don’t forget Appalachian State!
I expect a big win and lots of substitutions on offense and defense.
GO STATE! BEAT FLASH!