Nittany Lions dominate Panthers in penultimate meeting of series
By Philip Stein
It was a wet and miserable night for Panther fans last Saturday at Heinz Field as the Penn State Nittany Lions cruised to a 51-6 victory over Pittsburgh in the nationally televised, primetime game.
Penn State started the scoring with a 32-yard run by KJ Hamler before Pitt responded with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 13-yard run by Qadree Ollison. Following the score, Pitt went for a 2-point conversion, but they were unsuccessful. Penn State’s kicker Jake Pinegar missed a 45-yard field goal, but Pitt failed to capitalize as Kenny Pickett threw an interception. Pitt was able to force Penn State to punt, but Pitt’s kicker Alex Kessman missed a 35-yard field goal to keep the score 7-6 Penn State. Pitt had a big opportunity to score after forcing a fumble and starting the drive on the Penn State 31. Unfortunately, they went for the touchdown on 4th down with the ball on the Penn State 4-yard line and were unable to score. After a stop by the Panther defense, Pitt’s return man Rafael Araujo-Lopes muffed a punt but was able to recover it. The troubles didn’t end there as Pitt’s punter Kirk Christodoulou was unable to properly punt the ball and Penn State started their drive on Pitt’s 35. Trace McSorley completed a 14-yard pass to KJ Hamler to give Penn State a 14-6 lead at halftime.
After a pair of punts, Penn State drove down and scored with a 4-yard run by Trace McSorley. A pair of penalties and a run for a loss followed by a holding penalty in the end zone led to a Pitt safety, adding two points to the Nittany Lion lead. Another pair of punts were followed by a punt return for a touchdown by DeAndre Thompkins to extend Penn State’s lead to 30-6. Pitt continued to struggle to move the ball as they punted twice and fumbled once over their next three possessions. In the meantime, Penn State scored three touchdowns of their own, including backup quarterback Sean Clifford throwing his first ever pass 34 yards for six. Pitt was unable to get anywhere on their penultimate possession. Penn State’s Ricky Slade fumbled the ball in garbage time, but it did not matter. The Nittany Lions defeated the Panthers with ease, 51-6.