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No. 13 Penn State Football Survives Pitt 17-10 In 100th Meeting Between Teams

No. 13 Penn State football (3-0) squeezed by the Pitt Panthers (1-2) at Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon by a score of 17-10.

After a 40-minute delay, the two squads finally took the field to begin the final chapter of the Keystone Classic. Penn State once again had a slow start in this one and struggled to stay consistent on offense throughout the day. The Nittany Lions escaped thanks mainly to their stingy second-half defensive effort.

How It Happened

Pitt received the opening kickoff and went three-and-out on its first drive, picking up just three yards of offense. Sean Clifford and Co. looked strong to open up their first possession, but a sack and a near turnover pushed the Nittany Lions back to a drive-killing 3rd and 23.

Penn State got the ball back on its own 2-yard line after a strong Panthers punt, but Journey Brown led the offense out of brutal field position with an 85-yard scamper that put them in the red zone. Devyn Ford finished off Brown’s work with a 1-yard touchdown run just a few plays later. The Nittany Lions took a 7-0 lead with 4:31 remaining in the first quarter.

Pat Narduzzi’s squad bounced back with a 25-yard field goal shortened Penn State’s lead to 7-3 with 6:34 remaining in the half.

Pitt looked strong again on its next possession. Pickett continued to find open receivers on another long drive, and the Panthers capped it off with a 3-yard touchdown rush from Vincent Davis. The Panthers took a 10-7 lead with 2:08 remaining in the first half.

The Nittany Lions got into field goal range — for Jordan Stout, at least — on their next drive. Stout nailed a 57-yard kick to tie the game up 10-10 heading to the locker room.

Penn State’s offense got rolling again about halfway through the third quarter. Thanks in no small part to Clifford’s agility in the pocket and several strong carries from Noah Cain, the Nittany Lions produced a 13-play, 88-yard drive. Cain capped it off with a 13-yard rushing touchdown, and Penn State took a 17-10 lead with 5:50 remaining in the third quarter.

Sacks from Jan Johnson and Cam Brown gave the ball right back to Penn State’s offense, but the Nittany Lions failed to get much of anything going and held a 17-10 lead entering the fourth quarter. Penn State’s defense was scary throughout the third quarter, allowing just nine total yards of offense to Pitt.

After a massive fourth-down conversion on a 36-yard reception, the Panthers had the ball on Penn State’s 21-yard line about halfway through the fourth quarter. Pitt continued to drive down to Penn State’s own one-yard line but was unable to punch it in, settling for a 19-yard kick that Alex Kessman doinked off the left upright. The Nittany Lions held a 17-10 lead with 4:54 remaining in the game.

The Nittany Lions failed to score on their next drive and returned the ball to Pitt with 1:56 left in the game. The Panthers converted on 4th and 12 thanks to an amazing catch by Taysir Mack and had the ball on Penn States 37-yard line.

Narduzzi’s squad had one last gasp on Penn States 27-yard line. Pickett lobbed it into the end zone on a last-ditch effort but the pass came up incomplete after Jaquan Brisker swatted it away to help the Nittany Lions escape with a 17-10 win.

Takeaways

  • Penn State’s linebackers played a huge role in today’s defensive effort. Jan Johnson and Cam Brown each had sacks, while Micah Parsons led the team with nine total tackles and two for loss. Although the Panthers had a solid day through the air, they could only muster up 24 rushing yards — much of that due to the fact that the linebackers were constantly coming up to make big tackles.
  • Journey Brown had a big day in his first career start at running back for the Nittany Lions. The redshirt sophomore finished with a team-leading 109 rushing yards on the day, including an 85-yard scamper that set up Penn State’s first score.

What’s Next?

Penn State will have its first bye week of the season next weekend. After that, the Nittany Lions will travel to College Park to take on Maryland at 8 p.m. Friday, September 27. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a sophomore majoring in journalism and is Onward State's assistant sports editor. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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