The Penn State Nittany Lions beat up on in-state rival Pitt by a score of 33-14 on Saturday.
The showdown resumed last season after more than two decades, and handed Penn State a 42-39 defeat that ultimately kept the Lions out of the NCAA Playoffs.
The Panthers' defense instead rendered the junior tailback with uncommon strength and speed virtually incidental, leaving National Football League scouts observing from the press box mighty curious about when last season's Big Ten offensive player of the year would begin to get on track.
"I thought we played a very complete game", Penn State coach James Franklin said.
Penn State outblocked and outhit Kevin Hambly's Cardinal in Huff Hall, battling back from a 2-1 deficit to improve to 7-0 on the season in non-conference play. Pitt's was nonexistent. The Nittany Lions scored twice, but ran just 17 plays on four other first-half possessions and punted three times. "It just matters what we think, and if we think it is, then it is for us, and it doesn't have to be for them". "Guys had, like, grudges, a chip on their shoulder, coming into this game".
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However, two particular teams that were behind the Nittany Lions in the poll last week put on impressive performances Saturday. "This win is no more significant than last week". It added up to a satisfying, if not gratifying 33-14 win over the Panthers.
"This was cool", said wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton, who dropped a pass behind the Pitt defense a year ago in the fourth quarter. At the time, Penn State was unproven, 1-1 after the loss and still recovering from the Jerry Sandusky scandal and a rotating cast of coaches over the past five seasons.
"He could have been a game-wrecker", Franklin said. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley made the easy throw over the top. It was telling for the Panthers and Narduzzi, who often points out that teams make their biggest strides between Week 1 and Week 2. "I definitely did, due to my grandmother not being able to see this game previous year".
Penn State players said this week that despite the turn the 2016 ended up taking, the loss to the Panthers still seems fresh. "I've had tons of injuries throughout my career, and it's just that mental aspect of always putting in so much work and not feeling like you're getting the fruits of your labor".