In 2016, Penn State and Pitt renewed their football rivalry for the first time in sixteen years at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. It appears that the series may be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
With two years left on the current four-year deal that will see the Nittany Lions and Panthers battle once a year on the gridiron, Pitt AD Heather Lyke said that a deal to extend the series beyond the 2019 season is “very close to being done.”
“We have two games left in football,” Lyke said in an interview with The Canton Repository. “We play them next year on Sept. 9 at Heinz Field and it’ll be the 99th meeting between Pitt and Penn State. Then we play the Century Game back in Penn State in 2019.”
“We have a contract very close to being done and being sent to Penn State to extend the football deal and I think that’s a huge priority and a huge rivalry and it’s necessary, so we’re working hard on that.”
Last season, a Penn State comeback bid fell short in the first Pitt-Penn State game since 2000. The Nittany Lions would exact their revenge this season with a resounding victory in which Pitt never looked like winning thanks to dominant performances from Saquon Barkley and the Nittany Lion defense.
Historically, Penn State leads the all-time series against its in-state rivals 51-43. Penn State’s longest winning streak against the Panthers stands at ten, when Pitt could not find a way to beat Joe Paterno’s teams from 1966-1975.
For now, James Franklin’s team returns to Beaver Stadium this Saturday when it takes on Rutgers. Kickoff is at noon and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.