Know The Enemy – Penn State

Byline: Chris Logue and it is a good one…

It’s go time for another week, another opponent and worst of all, a whole new slew of athletic receivers, running backs, most of which I am sure can run the wheel-route, and a quarterback that can beat you in a myriad of ways. This could just as easily be time-stamped in 2016 heading into Death Valley and Clemson, but this year’s edition of that is in Happy Valley to take on the Nittany Lions.

While I would love to be the sole interpreter of Penn State this week, I also felt that it would be doing our readers an injustice. This edition of “Know Your Enemy” comes with a guest, Centre Daily Times Penn State beat writer, John McGonigal. John pulls no punches and lets it all fly which is why he fits the bill to be our guest this week.

John provided incredible feedback and you’ll notice it throughout our inside look at what our Panthers face this week in Centre County.

Last week, Penn State drubbed Akron 52-0 and did it in a multitude of ways. Whether it was breaking a long, very strong, streak of not having a return for a touchdown, intercepting Akron quarterback, Thomas Woodson or if it was quarterback Trace McSorley and his trusted back, Saquon Barkley, Penn State looked good. Very, very good at that. It’s no mystery that McSorley and Barkley will be the key drivers for PSU on offense, it goes back to the basics, deep in the trenches who kick-starts this offense.

“Outside of Barkley and McSorley, I think an underrated guy on this offense is center Connor McGovern. I could’ve gone with flashier picks like breakout wide receiver Juwan Johnson or tight end Mike Gesicki — who I think will lead the Nittany Lions in all receiving categories this year — but McGovern is a guy who guides the offense,” says McGonigal.

Like Pitt who has shifted and mixed the offensive line over the past two seasons, McGovern is amid transition himself, “The Penn State staff moved him to center in the offseason after the departure of senior Brian Gaia — the Nittany Lions’ lone loss from the o-line — and McGovern has lived up to all expectations so far, being more vocal and impressing against Akron.”

Reed and I exchanged emails and we both had the same feel that a lot of what Penn State wants to do and should succeed in doing is planting roots in the trenches and making it their own, and it seems as though McGovern is sturdy in that task where “[McGovern] had a lot to do with that, and the lineman will play a key role in the Pitt game.”

How big of a task do the Panthers have this week on the defense? Look for yourself at PSU’s last game’s offensive stats:

PSU Game 1

McSorley and Barkley combined for 220 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, no matter who runs it, the line must be sturdy and headed by a damn good center. They all fit the description.

Does it end there for Penn State?  Far from it as John mentioned….

“Offensively, I really think the Nittany Lions hold an advantage in every aspect. McSorley, with his talented wideouts, could have a field day tearing through Pitt’s battered secondary.

After the Youngstown State game, it’s apparent the Panthers can’t cover a wheel route, so Barkley could feast on that — and that’s not even considering what he could do in the run game with an improved offensive line. It’s tough to give any edge to Panthers’ defense after losing so many key guys from last year’s victory,”

He’s not wrong and the Pitt defense was far from dispelling that notion against a less than FBS team last week. Reed and I both initially said this was going to be a difficult task in the Penguins, while Reed held firm, and correctly predicted the score, I loosened my stronghold on pessimism and took Pitt by a wider margin than seven.

The part of the game that places fear in myself, and I would imagine would be the same across the Pitt fandom zone, is the ability of McSorley to tuck-and-run. We know Pitt is going to place extra emphasis on shrinking the pocket and that will start from the outside with Allen Edwards and Dewayne Hendrix(who was injured for last year’s game), but how will the Pitt linebackers be able to adjust and keep an eye in the backfield for McSorley to take off? Pitt can’t afford to have Brightwell on a QB-spy the entire afternoon, it’ll have to be a calculated attack coordinated by Josh Conklin, Pat Narduzzi and Rob Harley.

“Now, it’s hard to say how the offense will be balanced. Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead isn’t a guy who approaches game week by saying, “Ok, we want a 50-50 split between the passing game or running game, or a 60-40 split.” He adapts his play-calls based on the defensive look. But to answer your question, I think the balance will be fine with both McSorley and Barkley having big days through the air and on the ground, respectively.”

Two things must happen to re-instill faith in the Pitt fan-base, not only for this game, but the season and especially the week after. First, Narduzzi should be telling the truth in “his guys” taking their foot off the gas to face adversity.  Second, the defense must be good enough in the technical side of things to recover from last week to provide results when the pedal is to the medal, for as cliché as that might be.

While it all looks gloomy from the presentation so far and respectfully, it probably should, Pitt still presents a few tough tasks that McGonigal feels should be closely watched.

“The only thing I could see going in Pitt’s favor on Saturday is Jester Weah and Quadree Henderson. Weah’s 6-foot-4 size caused problems for opponents in 2016, and Henderson’s speed is a nightmare to deal with.  Penn State’s players said all this week they’re preparing for those two Panthers.  But even with all the prep in the world, those are two guys who can hurt the Nittany Lions.”

In the next snippet from the interview, there is confidence and scarcity.  Interpret for yourselves and comment on each:

“Quadree Henderson has to go off with a special teams touchdown or two, and Max Browne needs to find his high school form if the Panthers are going to win.  Henderson ripped an 84-yard kickoff return in last year’s 42-39 matchup, and he’s a problem for every opponent.  He needs to make a major impact. And Browne, a former five-star recruit, has the talent in there somewhere.”

Against YSU, Pitt really sheltered themselves from any possible play identification in week two, or in the prep leading up to week two.  The 2016 opening showcase provided a Natural Light offense, but for a play on all meme’s online, Shawn Watson said, “Hold My Beer,” while he outclassed the previous season’s opener by running what seemed to be only five plays.  Running back dive (sometimes stretched to the outside), jet-sweep, running-back flat, tight end seam, and one blown up play in the backfield.

Watson could be the greatest X-factor for Pitt his weekend, however.  Last season, as a member of the Indiana coaching staff as the QB leader, Watson saw Penn State, too, despite being in a 45-31 defeat.  His quarterback, Richard Lagow, had an extremely efficient day passing for 292 yards and two touchdowns without surrendering the ball to the PSU defense.

Can he have the same effect on Max Browne, our guest thinks it’s a 50/50 proposition for this game, especially.

“If Pitt offensive coordinator Shawn Watson can get him playing to his full potential, Saturday has a chance to be respectable. And if Penn State wins, I don’t know if it’s anything that Pitt does wrong — the Nittany Lions are just more talented in pretty much every facet of the game.”

Going into last seasons match-up, you could easily say a coin flip could determine the outcome of the game, that’s not the narrative for this seasons edition.  You’d be a fool to think otherwise.

Quite possibly the biggest match-up of the two schools is Pat Narduzzi vs. James Franklin. It’s been well reported this week of the direction Narduzzi is taking this week. Silence is golden, don’t bother my players, don’t provide distractions – while providing a distraction. You can’t argue with success, being 1-0 with that philosophy, I suppose.

On the other end of the spectrum is James Franklin. Is it all smokescreen in his taking it as just another week, or is it legitimate?

McGonigal elaborates:

“Franklin understands it’s an important week, for sure; all he has to do is go on Twitter to find that out. But the way he’s wired and the way he approaches running a program, he believes the Pitt game is “just another game” because it’s the next game on the schedule.  I’m not inside his mind and can’t say if he does or doesn’t truly believe it’s a rivalry game.  But that’s approach he’s always had, so I’m not one to question whether it’s genuine.”

For as much as I want to believe “it’s just another game” for Franklin and his team, I just don’t.  He knows the messages he will receive if he goes 0-2 against the Panthers in the reborn series.  Losing to Pitt has actually been extremely generous to Franklin who has seen an up-tick in recruiting and also a Big-however many Championship.  Nonetheless, Franklin has his players wired into robotically downplaying the importance of this game. We shall see.

In the end, it is just a single game and a single tally mark on this season in one form or the other. In a season that I think is extremely difficult to gain traction and win the ACC, this game could be a season-maker. It’s the exact equivalent of Pitt vs West Virginia or Pitt vs. Clemson. We’ve seen some crazy things happen and maybe, just maybe, our Panthers can pull another upset. It’s not out of Narduzzi’s playing cards completely.

Predictions anyone?

John McGonigal:  “I think Penn State covers the 21-point spread safety.  My prediction for the game is Penn State winning 42-13. I wouldn’t be surprised if that margin of victory is larger, either.  The Nittany Lions are going to want to leave no doubt after last season’s loss, and given the difference in talent, I’d bet that this one gets out of hand.”

Chris Logue:  Everything suggests Penn State should win this game, after all they are ranked fourth in the country, trailing perennial powers.  I agree and don’t think they have a hiccup this season. Penn State takes it 38-17.

Reed Kohberger:  I’ll parrot what these two writers feel.  I believe the 1st quarter of the game will give Pitt fans hope that we will keep it close enough to make it a game in the 4th quarter and that will be on the strength of a good kickoff return or two by Henderson to put us in short field position to score 7 to 10 points rather quickly.

After that though Penn State’s talent is going to steadily score points and we won’t be able to answer. The real key is going to be Penn State’s  much deeper and more talented bench, based on their last three recruiting classes that were 21st, 15th and 24th nationally.  That is going to grind our guys down.  They have real talent in-hand after their starting 22 players – we do not.

Here is a scary fact – PSU has 16 starters returning from their 11-3 season of 2016. Phil Steele rated them #81 in ‘experience’ last season – this year he jumped them up to #12!

He also had Pitt at experience level #33 in 15, up to # 7 last season and now we drop, dramatically, to #123 (out of #128).  That speaks volumes to me as you all know I value experience as much as raw talent, and I think it shows up Big Time in PSU’s “Lost Memories Stadium” tomorrow.

Our only chance is if fine RB Saquon Barkley gets taken out of the game early on somehow. If you remember we held him somewhat in check last year… except for those pesky four TDs he scored…

Barkley 16

Remember that Barkley is 5’11” and 228 pounds – he’s no lightweight scatter back but a strong, fast and shifty runner who gets the ball forward every play almost.  If he gets anywhere near ½ the YPC average he had against Akron last week – which would shake out to be 6.2 ypc – then it’s a bloodbath for Pitt.

They will beat us up in the trenches, run over us and have a field day in the air – but we get a pick or two for feel-good status.

Browne has to play 180° differently if we want to have a chance here. Another key for Saturday is how well Browne is protected by out OL. I think it falters again and so we’ll see some sacks allowed and INTs unlike last game.

So the 2nd half will be all PSU and they will win going away – Penn State 41- Pitt 21.  I do not think Franklin runs up the score if they are well in front toward the end of the game… I also hope Narduzzi sits Browne down if the game is out of hand and gets DiNucci some series.

Let’s hear your predictions also readers – who, what, why… and;

Hail To Pitt !!

 

 

155 thoughts on “Know The Enemy – Penn State

  1. Reed, I agree that the experience and depth win out. However, I think Pitt keeps it close until they get a little rattled at the end, and PSU scores late to seal it. PSU 34, Pitt 24

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  2. My brain says 48-14 again psu
    My heart says 35-31 PITT
    My full blooded German fingers say listen to your brain. My fingers don’t control me so…….

    PITT…..38
    psu……37

    Although It’s been said I’m part Italian and part Russian because I have Roman fingers and Russian hands. ike

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  3. Having seen every Pitt – PSU game (TV or in person) since 63, I approach this one with fear. But sometimes fate steps in to help. We need a special game event to be competitive.

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    1. Had Akron been able to score even just two touchdowns, it would have made me feel quite a bit better about this match-up. That 0 on the scoreboard was a very loud character.

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      1. Chris – Akron was projected (preseason) to be 123″rd of 130 in S&P. Akron is not a good team. Reed posted a projected ranking for preseason from a site called Team Ranking. YSU was at #88. Akron was way lower. I can’t find the link in reviewing past blog posts.

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  4. Pitt 38-34

    Reed, great summary and I fully agree with you that State is experienced, loaded with talent and should walk away with this game. That being said, just think this a game Pitt wins. Browne delivers, tight end sets create problems, running game by committee works and defense hangs in there as blitz package creates issues and State is over hyped to win big. Panthers get the breaks. Delusional? Maybe, but hopeful,

    Interesting tidbit, Chris Fallica of College GameDay points out Pitt has been the underdog by 14 or more points 5 times in the past 10 years. The Panthers are 5-0 in those games winning 3 of them outright while being a 20 point underdog in 2 of those wins and losing the other 2 by a combined total of 7 points.

    Something positive.

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  5. Jay91, Richman and JPK, I’ll see you there. I will not honor my nieces’s (PSU grad) request to buy her something for her office in FL, unless I can find a Joe Knew bobblehead.

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        1. Can’t be his brother this week since he’s taking Pitt with the points. Don’t think Pitt will be able to stop the run or pass game from PSU. In fact 55 points might be too low if PSU keeps its foot on the accelerator through out the game. My guess is that PSU will run some very basic plays after they get a big lead in order to hide some of their play book for the Big 10 season.

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    1. BTw, that was a good stat about the experience factor and Pitt ranking so low. This is definitely a rebuilding year with the team hopefully getting better as the season progresses

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  6. I do see some positives in this game for the good guys:
    – It’s a rivalry game and thus, anything can happen!!!!
    – Our very young Panthers will gain great game experience and better understanding of their individual positions to prepare them for their upcoming ACC play.
    – One early game does not make or break a season.
    …….And it does break my heart (and hope I’m wrong) to predict this game at: :<(
    PSU: 57
    PITT:26
    ……but wait til next year!!!!!

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  7. Lopsided loss. PSU 63 Pitt 20.

    IMO, when Pitt has upset a much better team (WVU 13-9 and Clemson last year), we’ve had either experience or a couple of future NFL guys on the squad. In the WVU game McCoy ran the ball many times (I want to say 40 or 50 times, but that sounds high) for like 150 yards. We were able to control the ball and shorten the game. McKillop, a solid LB, ran the D. Against Clemson we had upper classmen at QB, LB, DL, OL and RB, a couple of which have made NFL rosters.

    I just don’t see that kind of talent or experience on this Pitt squad. If Taleni, Whitehead and Wirginis weren’t suspended injured or kicked off the team, we still would lose, but it might be close.

    The thing that might lower the score is if PSU just keeps it on the ground with Barkley gaining 6 to 10 yards a carry. This could shorten the game as the clock will continue to run. If that is the case, then the score may be more like 42-10.

    We ain’t winning this one. PSU is the far better team.

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  8. Rocky Mountain,
    After reading your good comments my one fear is that Franklin wants redemption bad(ly) from last year and his ego will drive him to beat us by 90 if he can.
    Hope I’m wrong about his EGO but I don’t think SO (did you notice the awesome rhyme there) :>)

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    1. Pittman – yes, I notice the awesome rhyme!

      You may be right about his ego. i would add that both head coaches have substantial egos in my opinion. I figure that the Pitt squad will do some growing up beginning tomorrow. That’s not a bad thing. The majority of the defensive starters will be back next year, so that is a big plus.

      And, living out west, I’m insulated from all of the PS fans. It’s all CU and CSU with a lot of Texas and Nebraska transplants as well.

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  9. Couple things:

    Brian Asamoah is a player I would have really liked to see come to PITT. PITT did recruit him very hard but when you lose player to a team like Oklahoma it lessens the blow for me somewhat.

    However, for those who like to think Narduzzi is an average recruiter and moan a little about only getting 3 star players, Asamoah is a 3 star rated player. So what’s the big deal? Sounds to me like he just can’t win with some of you guys.

    But again, I think PITT lost a good recruit who just may get lost out in Norman. Then he could also be a good one down the road. Maybe Narduzzi will pick up a 5 star player instead…

    Today I’m back to feeling a lot skeptical about a PITT win tomorrow but then again it’s cloudy and I do have serious mood swings. After-all, I have been called the most passive/aggressive poster Reed had ever came across. Now that was several years, medication and psycho therapy ago. < The last one isn’t true but I have mellowed out as we use to say… . . . .ike

    We Are
    Not psu
    H2P!

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  10. My prediction first, penn state 45, Pitt 27. There it is. Pitt covers the 21 point spread but still leaves creepy valley defeated.

    Now on to the unrealistic speculation.

    I claim “Fake News” on how Franklin views this game. He is well aware that the loss to Pitt last year kept his team out of the BCS playoff. That had to sting, however the “Pitt’s not our rival” attitude I do believe is a genuine one for Franklin & his team. I think that is to Pitt’s advantage.

    By contrast, even though Narduzzi comprehends that the pursuit of an ACC Coastal title is not impacted at all with a loss to the Nitters, he fully appreciates the historical validity of the rivalry with penn state. So while they are looking down their noses at their little brother wannabe to the west, Pitt is taking the on this one as beating their hated rival, once again, while playing the role of the underdog spoiler. Narduzzi sees the significance of this as a huge game in that rivalry, that’s lost on Franklin. Advantage Pitt!

    Another thing, didn’t the Panthers already face both McSorley & Barkley in last year’s game? Yeah, I thought so. This Panther squad will not be left in awe of the talent that they’ll face on Saturday. They’ve been there, done that, & came out with a win to boot. Advantage Pitt!

    I’ve never figured this one out but it is a trend. For some reason Pitt has always had the knack of playing up to superior competition. 13-9 was the most obvious example of that in Pitt’s not so recent history but last year’s win against Clemson, in Death Valley just 10 months ago really has no valid explanation other than that. Advantage Pitt!

    But remember, I predict a Pitt loses by more than two TDs, there are just too many things that need to go right for Pitt to win this one, at Beaver Stadium no less! But here is how that miracle happens.

    A necessary key will be winning the turnovers. Pitt must gather up fumbles &/or INTs to at least a + two advantage to have a chance. Henderson has to have a stellar day. Q has to do his best imitation of UNC’s Switzer vs. Pitt past performances in order to put at least 6 on the board all by his own exploits, either a return for a TD or a long receiving TD. If it’s via the air then that other essential ingredient will be a good performance by Browne. Max need not put the team on his back but he must be effective in feeding Weah & Co. in order to keep up with a prolific PSU scoring machine.

    The other factor that has to have an entire about face will be our defensive effort. Like last year, when we were lucky enough to have recovered a couple PSU fumbles and that final deciding INT, these youngsters on our D have to show up big time tomorrow to have any chance at victory.

    My logical mind says we’re 1-1 come 7 pm tomorrow but I fully expected a Pitt beatdown at Death Valley last year too! Weird how those things workout sometimes at Pitt. We’ll know for sure soon enough.

    Lot’s of questions still on this Pitt squad. More answers available come tomorrow plus a very large amount of invaluable experience provided by opposing a very good ball club in creepy valley. H2P!

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    1. Franklin is clearly playing to his PSU audience in terming this as just another game. Guaranteed that his team is well aware of how damaging last year’s loss was to them. But of course, PSU has to worry about Georgia next week. Oops .. make that Georgia State.

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    2. Barkley and McSorley are guys where it doesn’t matter if you’ve seen them before, that’s how good they can be together. Our defense is significantly different especially the front..that’s where the concern comes into effect for me.

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    3. I hope you’re right about the score. If Pitt were to produce 27 points outside of Henderson returning kicks/punts I would view that as promising.

      I believe that Pitt has 9 new starters on defense for tomorrow’s game versus the team that faced Barkley and McSorley last season. Of the current starters, only Maddox and Idowu started the PSU game last season. Hendrix, Zeise, Camp, Wheeler, Garner, Weaver, Pine, Williams, McKee Jr and Mathis didn’t play against PSU at all last year. I seriously doubt that Jackson, Briggs, Brightwell, Watts, Roy, Edwards and Stocker played much if at all against PSU last year. Point is that almost none of the current two-deep have been there or done that.

      Penn State returns at least six starters on offense returning from last season. Penn State will be playing in front of nearly 100,000 tuned up fans. Advantage Penn State.

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  11. Narduzzi will realize that his offense needs to open things up, big time, to counter Penn State’s talented defensive line. We won’t be able to use our conventional running game this week. I see us spreading things out and using all four of our fast receivers and the tight ends to allow Browne to hit short and intermediate passes. Short passes to Ollison and the running backs out of the backfield should be another option. If we can keep the nitters’ defense off balance this way, take some shots down field, and not make too many mistakes, we have a chance. Pitt 35-34. HTP.

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  12. The vaunted Narduzzi led Pitt pass defense makes every single QB they face – D1 D2 whatever – look like they are winning the Heisman that year. Add in a RB who actually may win the Heisman .. equals epic beatdown.

    PSU will be playing their 3rd string 4-stars by the beginning of the the 4th.

    If Syracuse can drop 50+ points on this defense…. well…

    PSU 52
    Pitt 14

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  13. #123 in experience! One-twenty-three.

    123 is the number of yards the a I-AA team gained on wheel routes.

    123 is the number of yards Saquon Barkley is going to have …receiving

    123 is the number of snaps that or Defensive Line will get no pressure on McSorley.

    123 is the number of times Narduzzi is going to say “we weren’t good enough” in the post-game press conferences this year

    123 is the number of days we are going to have to painfully watch this team go through it’s growing pains

    one-twenty-three

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    1. A Phil Steele guy. Like it. His publication is my can’t live without purchase every year. Phil is on the Lions this week, playing the trend. Don’t think I agree, but that is why they play the games.

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  14. Oh Reed, I will wager a cookie or two that Franklin will still be throwing deep with two minutes to go. If they can score 100 they will try and do so.
    Listening to the fan93.7. Can someone tell me why Cook hates Pitt so much? I know he’s an ahole but can someone ask EJ what the deal Is?

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    1. Cooks hates everyone, even Northwestern his alma mater, except for Steelers and Penguins which he sucks up to.

      BTW, Jimbo Covert on the The Fan at 1 pm

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  15. Reed, you probably served me a soda pop or 3 at the Mardi Gras…we went there every game day from about 1971-1977. And the Raspberry Rhinoceros.

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    1. I had a running tab there and paid once a year. When I went back to visit 15 years later the bar tender whipped out my old tab and I owed $35. So I paid it, drank for a few hours and said… “Put it on my tab”

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  16. Psu 45 – PITT 27

    Offense better & Kessman with two fg,s, Defense still has problems. One of the 4 losses I had for the year.

    At least they beat the spread.

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  17. Got to be competitive the next 2 weeks to keep these kids believing in themselves.. we can “Take it” but I have a feeling Franklin will be on the sideline thinking “Take That!”
    We are so young and lack experience but these youngsters will be tested under fire many times- maybe the mantra should be “Fight on”

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  18. I hatecPenn State w every ounce of my body. My dad went there and his brother and his dad and his 7 brothers. I had $ waiting if I choose Penn State. I have never cried as bad as after the 75 game when Carson Long (and wide)missed 3 FGs and an extra pt. and Gordon Jones catching a pass and then tripping over a prone Nit defender … the only object in his way to acTD.

    It pains me greatly that we are being slaughtered in recruiting by Franklin. PSU 2018 class ranked #3 and Pitt #55.

    Thus PSU 70 – Pitt 19 (accounts for 2 Pitt missed extra points.

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  19. I wish someone would “bring back- reinvent” the straight-on kicker complete with the square-toed kicking shoe! Never trusted those side-winders and Kessman reinforces that feeling… thank you Pete and Charlie Gogolak

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  20. Hey B, what about George? Another WPA QB and a hell of kicker until nearly 50 years old. Born 5 miles from my hometown. < Youngwood. …………………………………ike

    H2P!

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  21. Wow! No sign of the glass half full. Hell, there’s no sign of a glass anywhere on the table! Michaelangelo – you’ve reached your “ceiling”- but you’re in a dwarf’s house…at 123 psux Parkway

    Nard Dog let’s no one into practice; gives no meaningful info to the press; last year suffered thru a horrible win to milli vanilli, and a loss to okie-fenokie, just to hide capabilities from jimbo, and y’all roll over and play dead??!!

    Here’s an idea – let’s change our mascot from The Golden Panthers to The O’possums! At games, our student mascot could just lie “dead” along the side of the field!

    There’s no such thing as an “Upset”, if the underdog never wins. Nard pulled off TWO last year, and there’s hardly a sniff of one today.

    How ’bout this: Max displays 5* talent, Nard forgoes Smash Mouth, gives the year’s best imitation of Hurricane Irma, and lays waste to “quaint little state college” THRU THE AIR!!! Pitt D reveals the BLITZKREIG, in what could best be described as The Nazi Defense! Kessler kicks 4/4, the shortest of which is 47 yards!

    James from state college signs surrender papers aboard the USS Black Shoes. Papers declare “V-psux” Day…Pitt wins 36-9

    Hey, look! The glass is half full!!

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  22. FBI/CIA and PITT football head coach Narduzzi, even moved the practices indoors the past couple days. Says to make it louder but he did mention there are too many windows that can see the practice field. You don’t think he’s cooking up something special do you?

    Nah, PITT didn’t hold back anything last week. . . .ike

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  23. Last week I went out on a limb and predicted a 13-1 season. So far I’m 7% of the way there … why quit now?

    The shirt says 35 – 34 Pitt

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  24. Ike.. yep! Old George Blanda was the all- time leading scorer in the NFL.. Tom Dempsey- longest field goal with part of a foot.. Lou Groza and Lou Michael were lineman who did the kicking on the golden age of football..

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    1. Big Picture? It’s not good for the program at all.

      Fans want wins…Pitt wants revenue… The closed practices and this Media blackout might give us one win a season but it really hurts in the long run.

      Pitt alumni are all over the country and most of them can’t get to any football games but they may still want to follow the football program and the way they do that is because of the media reporting and the blogs and websites writing about it.

      But if there’s nothing to write about then they are disinterested and keep their pocketbooks closed. I don’t think Narduzzi gets this I think he thinks that one extra win is everything and for him as head coach it might be because as I’ve said before I don’t think this is his last stop. So get that resume padded.

      But I can guarantee you that E J Borghetti loves the POV and the other blogs because we’re what keeps the ‘advertising’ going for the program and believe me he doesn’t like the blackout one bit because it handcuffs him in his ability to do his job.

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  25. Everyone wants to talk about Barkley and McSorley and the tight ends and wide receivers and Browne and the Quadrees. But if Pitt wants a chance, I think they have win in the trenches. Coach Peterson I think has demonstrated a distaste for PSU, maybe he can get the O line ready to play. And I’m still hoping that the addition of Coach Partridge leads to noticeable D line improvement.

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  26. The whole game plan early will use Q Henderson as decoy to freeze the safeties and linebackers and we are going to hit him deep early and often. I see Q Henderson throwing at least one pass in this one.

    Weah, Ffrench, and Flowers all have long touchdown catches and our Running Game is our best defense.

    Pitt 44 PSU 35

    H2P

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    1. That is about as complimentary and optimistic that we are going to get from you, I’ll take it. Pitt backdoor cover and it will crush all my gambling PSU friends who are betting big on them.

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  27. Well, I have to say that I picked the wrong winner in last year’s game so I can understand some Pitt fans thinking we’re going to upset the Nittany Lions this year but I just can’t really bring myself to believe that that’s going to happen. I think best case scenario for us and is we keep it close the whole game and he’s kids play well enough that they can go into the next week thinking hey we held our own against the team that was more talented than we are. I hope that’s what happens anyway.

    Like

  28. The Pitt team that we all saw last week will not look like the Pitt team we see this week. Last year PSU was the young team and Pitt was the more experienced and the roles seemed to have reversed. Absolutely no experts have given Pitt a shot and I hope they use that as motivation. Probably the talent, experience and home field advantage wins out but Pitt can certainly play as if they have nothing to lose. As evidenced by all the comments here this week, even their own fans have written them off. PSU wins but closer than the experts think…38-28(I will gladly take the +21). A good learning experience for this very young team. H2P!!!! On a side note PSU fans are supremely arrogant and annoying and a win on Saturday will only make it worse.

    Like

  29. Ummmm, bradley? Texas a&m just gave up 44 points to ucla. Not sure we want him and he gets higher ranked recruits than we do. No thanks!

    Look for Asamoah to go to OSU once they offer. Remember, they haven’t offered yet. If he gets to 4 star status, they will and he will go there. Just a guess. Thought that would happen even had he committed to Pitt. Fast, but just had knee surgery .

    As far as our game tomorrow, Pitt will be 1-0 in games they play tomorrow. The great thing about not knowing anything about your team is that…you just don’t know.

    Somebody asked what Narduzzi should do about Conklin and our defense since they have performed so poorly. Thinking outside the box, I would send Conklin out to recruit during the game, that is the best way to utilize him during that time slot and potentially get a return on the investment. Funny, but think about that. Recruits would think they were our priority and Conklin wouldn’t make a bad scheme call for an entire game.

    Also, if I were DC, I put Phil Campbell in to shadow Barkley, and Brightwell to shadow McSwirley. Crowd the box and run blitz at every chance to get penetration before Barkley can get started.

    Pine needs to replace Zeise. Too slow and too confused.

    Pitt wins 35-34 on a kessman 55 yarder. Narduzzi runs out to the huddle and gives him a kiss after Franklin tries to freeze him with a timeout. I can dream, right?

    Like

  30. Penn State 59
    Pitt 17

    A long day for Pitt. Hoping that the linebackers play substantially better than they have and that the defense does not stay in a 4-3 all game.

    Like

  31. I’m with my new friend Altoona Josh that we use the Q-tip as a decoy on offense. Opens the middle for quick slants and tight end screens. AJ replaces the Q-ball and runs wild in the second half…good guys 28-24.

    Fran – this assumes their LBs suck, which they don’t.

    Like

  32. UPitt and I are in agreement on this one. I think Pitt can cover the 21+. From a betting perspective, I love the spot for Pitt as a huge road dog. Over 3TDs for any power 5 rivalry game is too large a number in my opinion. I expected the line would come in at PSU -14. But PSU has covered 11 STRAIGHT so you have a ton of momentum betters on the Lions. You will win way more than you lose by taking the underdog under those circumstances.

    That said, I am 99.9% confident that the defense will let them down again. PSU wins 41-27 as the defense can’t get a stop in the 4th quarter. To paraphrase the words of Urban Meyer, “do not blame the players Narduzzi. Coach ’em up!” If they don’t understand the defensive concepts in year 3 of the program, then it is on you. So tired of hearing, “wait until he gets HIS guys in there.” Urban and I call BS on that excuse making.

    Like

  33. Huff … and after Duzz kisses Kessman for the game winner he quickly finds Franklin and puts a lip smack with sucker bite suction on his shining cranium.. setting up the 2018 re-match at Heinz !!

    Like

  34. I want to pick Pitt soooooo badly, but my mind says don’t be a fool.
    Well here’s to being an idiot
    Pitt 35
    PSUcks 31

    MVP–Saleem Brightwell on a huge 4th down stop late to win it.

    Like

  35. Urban forgets, he inherits 5 star recruits. Narduzzi inherited zero QB potential.

    It’s actually hysterical that Urban says stuff like that considering the school he coaches at has bottomless pockets when it comes to money. ike

    Like

  36. You yinzers are making me sick … maybe we should just stay home, get in an extra practice, avoid injuries and roll over. Isn’t that why they actually play the games.

    Franklin is a horrible game day coach and without “old high-water pants” they haven’t beaten Pitt since 1947!!!!

    You all been readin too much Pedo propaganda. They couldn’t carry Clemscum’s jock straps.

    Like

  37. Reed.. Chris.. really enjoyed the article especially have a representative on the other side expounding.. that took extra effort on your part and made for a great read.
    Thank you

    Like

  38. In the last decade Pitt, I believe, is 5-0 against double digit spreads. Just saying. I’d at least bet they cover.

    Pitt 38 PSU 35 … no chance in hell I’d ever concede anything to Penn State.

    I’m in Pleasant Gap now. 10 miles from the belly of the beast. Dominate the State shirt in tow. Heading over to the stadium around 11AM.

    Like

  39. Here is a bit of an invasion of privacy… Pitt’s ticket office tracking if I used my seat or not – which I didn’t as I had to babysit Fran all afternoon…

    “Good Morning,

    I noticed you were unable to utilize your tickets for last Saturday’s game. We hope to see you at the Oklahoma State game on Saturday, September 16. In the future, let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you through the digital ticketing platform that allows you to exchange, transfer, or donate your tickets. Even if you’re unable to make it to any of the upcoming games, I want to make sure you get all the value you can out of your tickets and we have as much support as Heinz Field as possible!”

    Not sure I like this very much actually.

    Like

    1. I have no problem with it at all. Glad they are making attempts to fill up the stadium.

      Here’s a good story about the ticket office. I asked for another ticket to the YSU game and spoke to Nick. Since they know, I live in Virginia, Nick asked how long I had season tickets and how often Im able to mek it up. We had a nice chat and I wished him well with sales.

      When I arrived at my seats last Saturday, there was an envelope taped to my seat, addressed to me. Nick handwrote a very nice thank you note for being a season ticket holder and the effort I make to come to the games.

      Classy move.

      Like

  40. Record man poster makes a great point, actually a couple great points. franklin himself doesn’t throw the fear of Gadd in me. Good recruiter but overblown as a head football coach. The little we know about our own team is the bizarre part of it though.

    The little faith in PITT winning this game is kind of bass akwards when we think of last year. Didn’t PITT prove they can win a big game after they beat psu and then went on to beat the National Champs? SOP fans.

    I read some comments and it does seem like there are excuses being made before the game even kick-offs. My reputation in football prognosticating aside, why would anyone pick PITT to lose? Take a leap of faith and bring good Karma and vibes to this PITT football team…. or do you guys dislike Narduzzi that much? . . . . . . …ike

    H2P!

    Like

  41. Weird email Reed, I got one as well thanking me for using ours. I think all that is has to do with the electronic scanning and the new ticket exchange program?? I don’t think your actual seat was bugged?

    Like

  42. Easy to get around that next time Reed. Enter the Credentials Gate and then go to Fran’s seat. Buuda bing budda boom.

    Or, if you want to make it appear as if attendance is higher, use your press pass and then leave and then come back in through a regular gate.

    Maybe that’s why our attendance figures are so hi and the yellow empty seat looking things are so plentiful. It’s a two fer.

    Have never gone against Pitt. Only way to beat their defense are their weak corners. Wweah, FFrench and Mmathews to the rrescue.

    Like

  43. Like someone mentioned above, it pains me to say it but
    PS 49
    Pitt 23
    I want to believe we can pull an upset but I just don’t think our D can stop them – in fact I’m not sure they punt the whole game. 49 might be significantly low. We need to create an early TO or 3 like we did last year and get them really doubting themselves. JF can say publicly whatever he wants but I’m not buying any of it. He’ll be feeling a lot of heat and eating a lot of crow if he goes 0-2 against Pitt, especially with the expectations of this year’s team. All of the pressure is on them. They are not unbeatable. I’m just not sure we’re ready to play on that stage. If we had their QB I’d be more willing to wager differently.

    Like

  44. Never said their linebackers sucked…I implied they would be sucked in by the decoy Q-tip. Keeping them guessing and off balance. Sheesh.

    Like

  45. Reed
    Checking the link … they talked about all our rushing yardage last year and showed a pix of Conner .. from my eye’s view last year JC was nowhere near back to himself during the milking school game. That didn’t happen until closer to mid season. So yea he is gone but maybe our ball totin by committee will equal out there. It is all on the offensive lines cohesion this week IMHO.

    PS thanks for posting that pix of my 30 year old (this year) shirt.

    Like

  46. After a Pitt win at PSU, I asked a vendor outside the stadium if he had a Penn State Sucks T shirt. He tried to come over the counter at me but my friends dragged me away. Strange things happen when you are drunk.

    Like

  47. Reed, all that email was about was they wanted you to know that you could have exchanged that unused ticket last week for another game later on this year. It’s not a bad idea.

    Like

  48. Panthers 27

    PSwho 21

    Gotta think positive too many negative waves on this site. I pulled out my Tony D signed old school jersey and will be headed to the Panthers alumni watch party at:

    Peach and Porkchop
    12040 Etris Road
    Suite D100
    Roswell, GA 30075

    Be there!!

    Like

  49. Huff — Brian Asamoah is now a hard commit to Oklahoma.

    Pitt/PSU — the Over/Under is in the mid-sixties. ‘Fraid to say this, but PSU very well might go Over that by themselves.

    PSU 63, Pitt 20

    Like

  50. I do not have a PhD in clairvoyance, so my prediction is a guess.
    Pitt 52 – psu 28

    Furthermore, I am in no way related to Miss Cleo.

    Like

  51. Let’s see doc and UPitt are in agreement on a Pitt loss? First sign of the apocalypse
    Pedophiles 38 Pit 10. God I hate State..
    Guys Bradley? It came out in a civil suit that he admitted he knew of the sexual assaults. Bradley. NEVER

    HAIL TO PITT – a moral University. P-E-N-N S-T-A-T-E SUCKS

    Like

    1. No worries rkb, I suck at being a pessimist & Upitt, unlike Coach Joe, knows nothing. So just as easily as all of our Negative Nancy predictions coming to be, we could be scratching our heads in 12 hours wondering how the hell all of these inexperienced Pitt troops pulled off another major upset?

      Remember that the football is not round for a reason. A few favorable weird bounces of the football and the Panthers could be right in the thick of it in this one.

      Hail to Pitt!

      Like

  52. By it came out in a civil suit I should clarify – He admitted under sworn testimony he knew. All those who speculated he was too good to know you were wrong eg Ron Cook who still denies Paterno knew. Bradley lied in public statement but then his sworn testimony was released and he refused to make a statement. Why would anyone want this piece of &#$@ on a Pitt staff. NEVER..They all knew, period.

    Like

  53. The tee shirt belongs to “9-2, 8-4, 11-1, 11-1, 11-1” purchased in the parking lot at the 87 game which Pitt won 10 – 0.

    Like

  54. 43-42 Pitt wins on a Kessman FG

    Last season, psu’s biggest win was over tOSU (playoff team) in creepy valley.

    Pitt’s biggest win was over clemscum (playoff team and National Champions) in Death Valley.

    In the 1st round of the playoffs, clemscum shut out tOSU in dominating fashion, 31-0.

    It’s not rocket science – the pedos are good, but so is Pitt. And there will be an emotional factor, a desire factor, a dislike factor and a HC-ing factor. Did you watch James from state college blow the USC game in the Rose Bowl? It was a thing of beauty…

    Yeah, I’m not buying all the pedo hype with the fake news media. Hogwash.

    Cat Fight at 3:30pm Saturday, 9/9 in creepy valley on ABC. The lethargic lions get pounced on by the Proud Panthers from the city of Champions.

    HTP!

    Liked by 1 person

  55. So my golfing with psu friends could not have gone better today. Shot one of my best rounds of the year 83, to their 86, 89 and 91. 😂

    Took the day off from work and arrived at the course early so I could get my favorite parking space. Only one way in and all cars pass by and see the hind end of my vehicle with my (color correct) Pitt script magnet. Several golfers asked me as the day went on if that was my vehicle at the entrance.

    To boot, I had my new Pitt script head covers, towel, Titleist Pitt script hat and Pitt script football shirt. There were golfers from all over the country at this charitable outing – great comments about last year’s game, the clemscum game and questions about what I think tomorrow would bring.

    My pedo fan friends were pretty confident with their sarcasm all day – I’m telling you, the pedo fans are not ready to deal with a loss tomorrow. A loss is not even on their radar.

    So, one of the money events was to pick numbers on a large board ($20 per) with a drawing at the awards dinner. I bought two #’s – you guessed it, 42-39. Winner, winner, chicken dinner with the 42 ($200 golf bag). Custom irons with professional fitting was the last number drawn – 34 was pulled – close, but no cigar.

    I’m feeling like Pitt has some MO going into tomorrow that no one is seeing – I’m feeling it.

    Back to the golf course again tomorrow morning with different pedo fan friends. I’m loving this!

    HTP!

    Like

    1. When “losing the game” is not even on the radar in a team’s minset, then that is by definition termed a trap game. Keep on reading your own press clippings Nitters. Overrated.

      Like

  56. I plan on pissing on a Penn State voodoo doll I made tonight and then after the piss drys I plan on lighting it on fire. But I need to drink another two bottles of beer first for enough piss. I have plenty of lighter fluid though. 🙂

    Like

  57. EE, I like your prediction.

    The psu crybabies weren’t ready for a loss last year let alone this year.

    Reed’s .50 psu porch flag he sent me is going down tomorrow in the fire-pit. If it gets to smokey I’ll piss all over it to put the fire out. < safety first. I’ll leave it to your imaginations what I’ll do to it next. Yeah, it’s on POVer’s … ike

    H2P!

    Like

  58. Sorry TX_ I paused and missed your comment on peeing. Not sure if thinking like you is a good thing but hey, great minds think alike. ike

    H2P!

    Like

  59. Thank you Steve Peterson, OK St. may be more explosive than the Nitters. Well, the Duzz’s defense will get a workout. Man, do they run that offense fast!! One test at a time!
    Funny thing, all the Nitters I know think Ohio St fans are arrogant, I just laugh at them, as they are truly clueless. They will never, ever be able to accept a loss. But they will have millions of reasons why it never actually happened.

    Like

  60. Clubber, what’s your prediction for the fight? Prediction – pain. (For you Rocky fans).

    I’m predicting pain for our panthers – but not in blowout fashion.
    Pitt – 20
    School that should not even have a football program anymore – 41

    Like

  61. For my prediction, I’ll use the same score I picked last week, 45-28, but with Pitt on the losing end this time. However, using myself as a lucky charm it could got either way.
    I am 0-3 in Pitt away games, including a loss to WVU in the late 80’s and the last 2 bowl games. BUT, I am 2-0 in attending PSU games. I saw Mike Gottfried beat PSU while coaching Cincinnatti, and then the Pitt win at Heinz Field last year. I will be at “Happy Valley” tomorrow so we’ll see what happens.
    I sent a picture of my tickets to some of my buddies, one of whom said “I just like the name of the stadium”…..Hail to PITT!

    Like

  62. Oklahoma State has a more bogus ooc schedule then pedo enabling U. Let’s not talk falsely here. Alabama State is a fabricated football program in it’s infancy.

    OSU is really good though. I’ll take one game at a time… ike

    H2P!

    Like

  63. @PetePitt – My post was that IF Asamoah turns into a 4 star, ohio state will offer and he will go. That is his dream school as he is local there and has said that in interviews. He also just had surgery within 6 weeks and looks a bit slower. I understand he is a 3 star and verbaled to Oklahoma.

    Pitt just gets a break as Bundage from OkSt just got ejected for targeting in the 2nd half. He will miss first half of Pitt game.Cmon ok state, keep targeting!

    Like

  64. Erie – that’s a great post.

    Last year, if you remember, Pitt’s first possession was around our own 10. Could have been ugly, but Pitt got a 1st down and then JC ripped off a physical man-against-boys run of 20 yards or so which I thought really set the tone for Pitt on offense.

    We really need a couple of Pitt players to step up and set a physical tone tomorrow. On defense, we need Hendrix or Brightwell to make a big play early to show UPS we are going to be a serious opponent.

    On offense, we need to show both speed and toughness. If the OLine can keep the pressure off MB, a big if, we have a shot to score in the 30s and make the game competitive.

    My guess:
    UPS 44
    Pitt 34

    Go Pitt

    Like

  65. I expect to see a more dynamic offense today – much more different than the vanilla showing vs YSU. Min/Max will show his talent and leadership – the Q’s will make plays – Weah, Mathews, Clark and Flanagan will cause the psu DB’s & LB’s trouble.

    It’s the D that will be the difference maker. Tackling will be the key – Barkley will be productive – Pitt needs to limit his yards by getting him on the ground with the initial contact (sure tackling). Maddox, Jackson and the two FR DB’s need to shut down their WR’s. The TE needs pounded at the line of scrimmage and covered well by a LB.

    If Pitt is physical, Duzz makes good in game decisions and the team wins the TO battle, we should be smiling at 2-0 come 7pm tonight.

    Perfect weather for a Cat Fight.

    Youth vs the B1G Joke champion – no one, outside of a few optimistic Pitt fans, is giving the Panthers a chance –

    Wipe out the white out in creepy valley.

    HTP!

    Like

  66. You never know what could happen in a rivalry game. Advantage Pitt because we all know that this is just another game on PSUs schedule for the bad guys.

    Like

  67. Savannah, I wanted to get the WE ARE ….FARMERS t-shirts made for my nitter friends but didn’t find the time. I searched online and found the “lyrics” are bum da bum bum bum bum bum. It even lists the band as Three Loco. Just pop the PSUx logo on the shirt and it’s done.

    Like

  68. If the 1980 Pitt team could be beaten, then certainly this ‘team that should not even exist if the NCAA had any balls’ can certainly be beaten. They are good, but this is not david and Goliath. Difference will be based solely on what Pitt team decides to show up.

    Like

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