This will be the 99th meeting of the Penn State and Pittsburgh football teams since 1893. Heinz Field will be sold out and rocking. Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi puts a lot of emphasis on this game because it's Penn State. James Franklin puts a lot of emphasis on this game because … it's the next game.
There wasn't much to judge from Pitt's 33-7 win over FCS member Albany last week. The Panthers scored all their points in the first half and apparently kept it basic in the second half, not showing much to Penn State coaches. The Nittany Lions barely escaped with a 45-38 overtime win over Appalachian State after allowing 28 points in the fourth quarter.
The defense must control Pitt sophomore Kenny Pickett, an accurate passer and a tough runner, and a rushing attack that gained 238 yards last week. More important, the unit needs to tackle better than it did last week. On offense, the Lions need to come out strong and be more consistent early.
It's difficult to have much confidence in the defense after last week, but it will improve, and Trace McSorley should be in a better flow now that he has a game under his belt.