First, I would like to congratulate the #6 Pitt Women’s Volleyball team for defeating the #10 Oregon Ducks on Wednesday night in four sets.  That folks, is what athletic excellence should look like.  Enjoy these highlights and Hail to Pitt.

Second, Pitt Football’s Tre Tipton (WR, Apollo Ridge HS) was named to the AllState AFCA Goodworks Team.

Tipton is one of 22 players nationwide named to this year’s team, which was selected from a pool of 137 nominees by an esteemed panel of judges, including ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and former Florida Gators and NFL quarterback Tim Tebow.

As a reward for being named to the team, Tipton will be invited to the 2020 Allstate Sugar Bowl to join Tebow and Allstate volunteers to give back to New Orleans through a special community service project. Allstate will recognize the team during the halftime show.

Not too shabby.  Tipton’s perseverance in the face of adversity has certainly paid off.

Most importantly,  you should vote for him to be named Captain by clicking this link.  You can vote once per day, so get out there and vote for this outstanding Pitt Man.  And do it more than once!

Okay now lets talk some Pitt-Penn State.

A little hope can be a dangerous thing.

I could feel myself starting to believe this past week, starting to believe we might win.  And there were so many ways I could convince myself:  Penn State really hasn’t played anybody.  They showed some weakness against Buffalo.  They have a redshirt freshman quarterback and questions on the offensive line.  They gave up over 400 yards of offense to the Buffalo Bulls.  Sure they hung 79 on Idaho, but Idaho sucks.  Our defense is really good.  Texas Panther has been posting uncharacteristically positive things…  Yes, there were plenty of good reasons to believe we could win.

But hope, as pleasant a feeling as it might be, is not a strategy, and as I listened to Chris Peak’s Pantherlair Podcast today on the ride home yesterday, I was brought back to reality.

Did you know that Pitt hasn’t scored a second half touchdown since Wake Forest?  Did you know that by the time the Penn State game rolls around that will be 301 days since Pitt has scored after halftime?  Yes there is an offseason in there but for the love of God, 301 Days!  Take the offseason out and that’s still five full football games.  That’s ten full second half quarters across two different offensive coordinators where Pitt has been held scoreless.

If that doesn’t scare the hope out of you, I don’t know what will.

But lets say that you are still optimistic.  That is great.  That is really good for you.  There are plenty more metrics that will cut you down.  ESPN FPI is one.  It’s a broad measure of team power.  Pitt is ranked 63.  Penn State is ranked 5.  ESPN gives Pitt a 6.3% chance of success.

Still clinging to a shred of hope?  Are you familiar with Jeff Sagarin’s football ratings?  Sagarin is an MIT mathematician (okay well he only has a bachelor’s but still…) who’s been doing statistical power ranking for USA Today since 1985.  He gives Pitt an overall ranking of of 75.58 (Good for 41st in the country).  Penn State?  89.27 (9th…).  Oh yea, Sagarin also says you should add +3 points for home field advantage.  That bumps Penn State to 92.27.   For reference he gives Ohio a 70.00 (#67) and Virginia and 82.70 (#22).  So far, so good for Mr. Sagarin.

So yes Pitt faithful, despite all the positive momentum, it would be wise to keep your expectations low on Saturday.  Very low.  A win in Happy Valley would be an upset of epic proportions.

And yet, in college football upsets do happen, although probably less than 6.3% of the time.  And that, coupled with our undying (and completely irrational) love for the Pitt Panthers is why we will watch the game, perhaps even in person.

So what should we be looking for?  I’ll compare the teams unit-for-unit for your reading pleasure.

It all starts in the trenches…

Pitt’s Defensive Line vs. Penn State’s Offensive Line:  The success of Pitt’s defensive line is well documented.  They are coming off a six-sack performance vs. Ohio, and they also accounted for three sacks and many pressures vs. Virginia.  You’d have to think Penn State will be a sterner test than either.  Idaho (who dropped to FCS a couple of years ago) notched six Tackles For Loss (TFL), but no sacks and just one QB hurry.  Buffalo (#94 in the Sagarin ratings, FYI) sacked the Penn State Quarterback three times and accounted for seven TFL.  If you listen to Peak’s podcast, his PSU counterpart claims that most of PSU’s protection breakdowns came when the Nitters were playing their second string guys.  Did they?  Because I see a couple of inexperienced dudes up front for the Lions.  Left Tackle Rasheed Walker is a true Sophomore who played only three games on offense last year.   You have to expect he can be taken advantage of.   Oh and PSU’s starting Right Guard Position seems to be up for grabs.  It’s a battle between Redshirt Sophomore CJ Thorpe (who played some on the OL last year before being moved to the defensive line mid-season, and then back to offensive line) and Redshirt Sophomore Mike Miranda, who started one game last year.  The fact that neither has seized the starting job is telling.  Pitt will likely need to attack these two weak points in order to get pressure, but they should have the personal and the scheme to be able to do it.  Advantage Pitt.

Pitt’s Offensive Line vs. Penn State’s Defensive Line:  While Penn State is breaking in two new starters on the OL, Pitt is breaking in four, and based on what we’ve seen through two games, the break-in process is by no means over.  Pitt has given up five sacks and 15 hurries this season.   Penn State has generated eight sacks and 15 hurries.  They’ve also accounted for 21 TFL.  We know Penn State has talent up front, and we know that 80% of the Pitt offensive line is still learning.  If Penn State’s DL shows up, it’s probably going to be a long day for Pitt.  Advantage Penn State.

Penn State’s Running Game vs. Pitt’s Front Seven:  Well, we know that PSU’s offensive line is still a work in progress (well at least 40% of it is).  We also know that State ran for only 78 yards against the Buffalo Bulls.  On the other hand they ran for 331 vs Idaho.  But…Idaho.  Meanwhile Pitt is tied for #24 in rush defense nationally.  They shut down Ohio, who is a pretty good running team, and until the end of the game they pretty much held Virginia in check.  Pitt’s linebacking corps is fast and deep.  Pitt’s linemen are pretty good at playing the run.  Penn Sate still doesn’t have an answer at running back. I’m going to go ahead and say Advantage Pitt.

Pitt’s Running Game vs.  Penn State’s Front Seven:  Pitt’s offensive line has literally had two series in two games where they consistently opened some running lanes.  That is not a good thing.  Pitt does seem to have found two running backs who can play in Davis & Davis (AJ and Vincent), but… running against Ohio is not the same as running against Penn State.  Did I mention Penn State has tallied 21 TFL so far this season?   Advantage Penn State.

Penn State’s Passing Game vs Pitt’s Secondary:  Well this should be interesting.  Penn State has a redshirt Freshman quarterback who has shown a propensity for the long ball against weak competition.  Pitt’s secondary on the other hand is supposed to be one of the strengths of the team.  Still, Senior Safety Damar Hamlin has gotten burnt at least four times in two games, so you can expect that he will get picked on.  I predict he’ll give up at least one long touchdown.  Additionally Pitt’s corners have gotten away with some very physical play at Heinz, and that’s not going to fly at Happy Valley.  Yes, we’ve got at lot more talent than Idaho or Buffalo, and our guys are seasoned.  They’ll pull a receiver off his feet and take the 15 yards sooner then give up a touchdown, assuming they aren’t beat by three steps.  The question is will they get beat by three steps?  In the case of Penn State receiver KJ Hamler, the answer is probably yes.  He’s a 5’9″ speedster that averages 25 YPC.  Jahan Dotson is a 5’11” guy that averages 24 YPC.  He can probably fly too.  The other guy to watch out for is 6’5″ TE Pat Freiermuth.  Pitt has yet to show that it can cover a quality TE, and Freiermuth has nine catches for 124 yards and two TD’s on the season.  As much as I want to say our secondary will shut these guys down, you have to know that this one is Advantage Penn State.

Pitt’s Passing Game vs. Penn State’s Secondary:  It’s tough to truly gauge State’s secondary since neither of their opponents has much of a passing game.  Then again, you could argue that Pitt also does not have much of a passing game.  Oh sure we have Mark Whipple and he’s a guru yadda yadda yadda, but the fact is the Kenny Pickett still has pretty bad instincts and he’s only thrown for more than two hundred yards twice in seventeen games.  He’s done it once against a pass defense ranked in the bottom ten in FBS (Wake Forest), and he did last week against MAC-favorite Ohio (who also has a pretty poorly-ranked pass defense).   If Pickett plays well you can probably expect his performance to be something better than against Virginia (185 / 1 TD/ 2 INT), and something worse than Ohio (321 / 1 / 0).  It’s likely he’ll throw at least one INT.  If he throws any more than that Pitt has zero chance of winning.  The other aspect that we need to consider is protection.  Can Pitt’s O-line keep Kenny upright against a talented front seven that is sure to bring some heat?  Until they prove otherwise, it’s got to be Advantage Penn State.

Special Teams vs Special Team:  PSU’s kickers are 4/4 on field goals.  Pitt’s Alex Kessman is 2 for 4 and he’s playing on the road.  Punters are probably equal.   Pitt Punt returns are anybody’s guess with Ffumble-prone Maurice Ffrench back there.  Kick returns are probably a Pitt advantage if Ffrenchy gets a chance, but how many chances has he gotten in two games?  Advantage Penn State.

Narduzzi vs Franklin:  Well the good news is that if there exists a worse game-day coach than Pat Narduzzi, he probably works at Penn State.  James Franklin’s gameday decisions have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory more than once, and I’m sure he’s not done yet.  Yes Franklin will run up the score if he gets a chance, but that doesn’t make him any less of a bonehead.   Advantage Pitt.

Penn State vs Karma:  We all know about the morally reprehensible things that happened during Joe Paterno’s watch.  We all know how they were swept under the rug in the interest of winning football games and keeping football dollars flowing.  We all know that the thousands of sheep (and I use that term both literally and figuratively) that Penn State produces each year are brainwashed into thinking this is not an issue.  Or at the very least they choose not to believe it is.  And while it would do little to ease the pain and suffering of the many victims of this tragedy, there would be no sweeter on-field justice than for the Football Gods to deliver defeat to the perpetuators of this crime on their home field, to their “little brother”,  in the final game of what was once a storied rivalry.

My Prediction is Hail to Pitt

That is all.

136 thoughts on “Penn State Hate Week: Game Preview and Prediction Thread

  1. Thanks Mike. Great write up!

    I posted my prediction elsewhere but will repeat it here.

    PSU – 45 Pitt – 17

    Now, that said, PSU might score one less TD and Pitt one more and that would make it 38-24 which is more like the bookies’ spread.

    But what I’ve seen of our offense so far this season hasn’t impressed me one bit…averaging 17ppg pretty much sucks especially since we played a decent FBS team and a lower FCS team.

    I might be surprised in that area but not by a Pitt win I don’t believe.

    Here is an article from Pitt-Gamecocks about Fitz:

    https://www.bannersociety.com/2019/9/12/20755160/larry-fitzgerald-pitt

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Reed for reaching out to me & offering to post my link.

      I now know it’s not a problem with how I copy & paste a link.

      On to football. l predicted Pitt would go 8-4. This was one of the 4 projected losses. I see no reason to change my mind even though my heart says otherwise. So:

      Pitt 20 – Psu 34

      Like

  2. Bravo Maestro. Sadly, I don’t think we can win. And I am tired of fighting with all my Penn State friends up here in NEPA this week. They continue to be blind about the cesspool that existed there, and care only about winning football games. Is there any other institution in the WORLD, where three top administrators went to jail, as occurred at PSU? Quite honestly, I’m happy we don’t have to play them anymore. It would really be amazing if we could pull off a victory. Karma.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Re: lack of 2nd half scoring, two reasons: 1. Either inability or incompetence to make halftime adjustments, and 2. Lack of proper conditioning. That picture of the OL without shirts said it all about what kind of shape they are in.

    So, Pitt tries to keep it close in the first half, fails to make any adjustments at halftime, and gets blown out in the second. Penn State 52, Pitt 10.

    Like

  4. Pitt wins 26-20 (Kessman redeems himself with 4 FG’s and zero missed).

    Pitt scores 6 times while the Pedos score 4 times. However, the nits dominate time of possession and Pitt wins the turnover battle. Two TO’s turn into FG’s on a short field with the nit D holding Pitt to 3 twice.

    The Davis RB’s will run through the White Out and erase any energy the crowd brings.

    Oh the fun we Pitt fans will have…

    Liked by 3 people

  5. A fellow once said that it can not be done,
    But I gave a laugh and cried out,
    That maybe it’s so, but I would be one to give it a healthy bout.

    So, I spit on my palms, rolled my sleeves up my arms,
    And in a minute or two, I’d begun it.
    And I started to sing,
    As I tackled that thing that cannot be done,
    AND I DONE IT!

    Author unknown

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Excellent article, MM.

    “Ffumble-prone” – most excellent! (But he can ffly!)

    Alas, we will lose this ffootball game. My only hope is that we make Ffranklin sweat for a while…

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see PSU run a wheel route on the first play of the game – and score…

    I’ll guess PS-41 Pitt-20

    Win or lose:
    Hail to Pitt!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jeez – how depressing. We have no chance! I’ll call Narduzzi and tell him to cancel the bus. No sense wasting a perfectly good Saturday afternoon.

    Like

  8. A 1-fingered despot from Nantux,
    Plays MAC patsies while the whole world yucks.
    But he stepped into deep chit,
    By refusing to play Pitt.
    Now the whole world knows how bad psux!

    That RS QB is going to be hit with so many different and FAST blitzes, he’ll be waving the white flag in the 3rd Q. And, I’m not talking MAC speed; I’m talking MACH SPEED!

    Pickett plays WFU REDEUX, Kessman becomes the Bestman (50 yarder in final minute – think Clemson, a couple years ago), and earthquakes are felt in Central Florida!

    Pitt 31. psux 28

    Jimmy 1-Finger was right: if psux wants to be undefeated, and get into The Big Dance, they have no business scheduling PITT!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Here’s the good news — after Saturday, two of the best defenses we will face on our schedule will be in the rear-view mirror…

    Our Oline will immediately get better…😊

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well first order of business, PITT will not be blowing out psu by 30 points so I won’t be eating any Rocky Mt Oysters anytime soon. I did see something interesting in PITT’s game last week, the appearance of one Aaron Matthews. So he catches a few passes then disappears again The interesting part is he was lining up near the tackles. Was PITT hiding him? This might get him a match-up with a safety, you know, the miniature one from Clairton at 5′-8″, Mathews is 6’4″ I look for him to have a breakout game.

    I just don’t see KP being very successful which will make running the ball much more difficult than it already is. This mean PITT will have to hit on big plays and probably not sustained drives. It’s important that Pickett keeps the linebacker and safeties out of the box to be successful. So when he runs and scrambles he draws them closer so beware PITT.

    On defense PITT may be able to control the line of scrimmage making Clifford pass a little more. Right into the trap Narduzzi has set. I look for the D-backs to have a big day and Paris ford will make the ESPN highlights tomorrow night.

    But will it be enough? NO. PITT will lose the turnover battle and the game but keeps it close for a long while. jimmie “one finger” will tack on a meaningless TD and cover the spread by the end of the day.

    PITT……17
    psu…….35

    Like

  11. I am playing with house money… last year I put it on the Orangemen knowing I would lose.. just me luck… so here goes $180 on the Nots…. Hail to PITT as our D shows the are no fluke and the O takes a step forward as a team…. 38-37 Gargoyles in OT….

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t make predictions because I haven’t got a clue.

    Just a few thoughts.

    Penn State needs and gets a week off after this game so don’t tell me it is not important to them.

    I think the 17 points is a lot and is based on last year when PSU had a very good offense and ours had not hit it’s stride. They have a first year QB.

    I think our defense is much more mature than last year.

    Our O-line is still a big question mark as are our running backs.

    Our starts have been slow and our finishes have been poor.

    I am hoping PSU believes their press clippings.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Q1: Penn State 10 / Pitt 3
    Q2: Penn State 20 / Pitt 13
    Q3: Penn State 27 / Pitt 23
    Q4: Penn State 33 / Pitt 33
    OT1: Penn State 36 / Pitt 36
    OT2: Penn State 39 / Pitt 42

    Santa delivered

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Pitt went into State College in 1999 as a 34 point underdog, and lost by 3. Think about those two teams that day – the talent disparity was absolutely bigger then than it will be tomorrow. Whether or not our staff can coach these guys up tomorrow the way Walt & Co did in ’99 is the real question.

    Weird stuff happens in football. In 2017, Penn St outgained Iowa by over 300 yards, yet needed a last second miracle to win.

    Something similar will happen tomorrow. State marches up and down the field without the points to show for it, outgains Pitt by several hundred. HOWEVER, Pitt gets a last-minute TD and goes for 2 and the win, gets it. 18-17 final in favor of the good guys.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. To win, Pitt must be +2 in turnovers. So far, Pitt is -2 for the year with no turnovers forced. Which could make it a long day,

    If turnover margin is 0 for the game, I see it something like PSU 31 Pitt 17.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry, no! I’ve been asked that all my life. There has to be a connection back in the day, but we’re not aware of any. I even went to Greensburg!

          Go Pitt!

          Like

  16. Mike, thanks for the great article!

    Prediction #2… If psu doesn’t get to tack on that extra TD, it makes the score 28-17 .. so if PITT scores one more TD and psu one less wala

    PITT wins 24 over psu 21 << This is the one I’m going with…. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Hey Joe, nope, no song. Great to hear from you and happy landings. I really think I could get into some of that Spanish Tabas y Cervesa. Stay thirsty my friend! << Maybe I watch the food channel too much? 🙂

        Like

  17. 21-17 Good over Evil…
    Defensive MVP, Paris Ford.
    Offensive MVP, Vincent Davis.
    The guy the Nitters dont want living in their neighborhood after a Pitt win, ME.

    Liked by 5 people

  18. I also won’t consider a win tomorrow to be any type of “monumental” upset. Look what happens week to week in cfb – it won’t even be the biggest upset of the week.

    Like

    1. I don’t know about you Osborne, but I think most Pitt fans would be willing to erect a monument if Pitt upsets Penn State this Saturday 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Osborne, good points.

    But we were coming of a 8-5 win season when we lost to the Nitters 33-14…then last year got blown out by 45 points even though we had a darn good running game going. We racked up 245 yards on the ground and scored only 6 points.

    Everything I read about PSU’s preseason predictions has this team as good or better than last season, even with McSorley gone. Plus they have an RB averaging 15+ ypc.

    Its going to be a tough game for us.

    Like

    1. Re: 2017 – Kenny Pickett may ultimately be a bad quarterback. But I absolutely do not believe that he and the rest of the passing game are worse than Max Browne and his supporting cast. Browne was dreadful, and Q Henderson was dreadful as well when he was asked to do anything other than run the jet sweep.

      The fact that Pitt acquitted themselves very well at the line of scrimmage in both ’17 and ’18 gives me hope for tomorrow. The wheels came off in 2018 because we again had absolutely no threat of a pass game, and the field position was absolutely atrocious. If Pitt can, on average, start past it’s own 30 yard line, and present a decent threat of throwing the ball (which they didn’t in ’17 or ’18), they can win.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Pitt 31 – PSU 28

    And no I haven’t been drinking early!

    I was going to say that I will give up drinking, gambling and sex for one year if Pitt wins but after my heart tests on Tuesday, I may have to give them up anyhow.

    Been studying the Buffalo tapes. Penn States D line is very soft and same w their secondary save for Wade. They have one home run hitter in Hamlin and a mediocre QB.
    Pitt’s offense explodes with the short passing game and the D hangs on.

    Check out my past predictions ! Hell … TVax won a house last week.
    I will have a house full of Pitt Alums and you will hear us yelling all the way to Pittsburgh. H2P. Go get em Panthers!

    Liked by 5 people

  21. psu also lost RB Sanders a high NFL draft pick as well…. and I think a good WR?

    After two games, one against Idaho and the other against a decent lower class Buffalo team, statistics aren’t all that pertinent imo.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Some base all their predictions on the Star quality of 17 year old HS players; some on past year(s) stats; some on blow out win stats. I don’t put a lot of faith in those. I think football is mostly a mental and emotional game (played, admittedly, by goliaths).

    There is no way to measure heart and mental performance- except via final score

    I had no idea I would be this emotional for the final PITT – psux game. I would like to quote my absolute favorite sports quote. It was given by Ben Crenshaw in his Saturday evening press conference during the 1999 Ryder Cup. The US trailed 10-6, and no team had ever come back to win on a Sunday being down by more than 2 points:

    “I’m gonna leave ya’ll with one thought: I’m a big believer in fate. I have a good feeling about this. That’s all I’m gonna say.”

    Liked by 2 people

  23. We’ll, if stats don’t count at this point then let’s throw out KP’s 321 yards passing against an FCS opponent.

    Should we go on scoring then?

    We are averaging 17 while PSU is on a 63 ppg clip.

    Hey, anything can happen, right?

    Like

    1. Reed, this is the second time in this article you’ve referred to a FBS team as a FCS team. Buffalo and Ohio U are both FCS teams. They play in the MAC and are not in P5 conferences, but they are surely FBS teams.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. wow Reed, you almost said something positive…almost. MM and you should have a bet with Reed, if pitt beats the spread you write a totally positive article about Pitt football (and vice versa).

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha Reed’s head would explode if he had to do that. 😁

        I already got my negative article out of the way after Virginia so I’m +1 on him

        Like

    3. Sorry Reed, Ohio is a P5 FBS team. Pitt has played their FCS opponent yet (Delaware). Buffalo in same conference as Ohio.

      In Columbia, had to come to here for something & decided to stay for Alabama – South Carolina game. Hope my daughter/son in law get their tailgating act together. No where near Fran, Scooter & company.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I hate PSU as much as anybody and I will be cheering for Pitt as hard as anybody. And I hope we kick their a$$, and Franklin gets run over by a medial cart at halftime!!

    All that said – Score will be PSU 38, the good guys 14. We will be minus 2 in the turnover department.

    Like

  25. ^^ I agree REED. After only two games and with psu playing Idaho and racking up 79 points, what in the hell do those stats from that game really mean.. Bupkis.

    Like

  26. BTW, if Ohio would have played Idaho two things would have happened. One, Ohio would have put up 56 points and two. There would have no talk about Ohio’s QB named Skippy or something having the sniffles.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Here’s a way better to look at it:

    The experts say that if these two teams played 100 games tomorrow, PS would win 94 of them and the Fightin’ Pitt Panthers would win six of them.

    We just have to play one of those six games!

    Easy-peasy! 😊

    Go Pitt.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. As a high school and college student, I used to really take Pitt losses hard. After years of .500 seasons, I’ve come to accept the hiney whooping that is supposed to come to us on days like tomorrow…but as Tim Robbins said in the Shawshank Redemption, “Hope is a good thing.”

    I hope we win the damn game, I believe in the Duzz, and if we don’t win, at least make them sweat it out.
    H2P

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I still take losses to Penn State hard

    And hope is truly a beautiful thing. It was you know the last thing left in Pandora’s Box.

    I also believe in Santa Claus and he’ll be delivering a very nice present to every Pitt fan.

    H2P!

    Like

  30. My prediction is Pitt loses 56-7. We are never in the game as Penn State scores on their first possession and never looks back. I am glad this is our last game with them!

    Like

  31. Usually when there is an upset, even in a rivalry game, the dog has something in their favor. The home field, coaching, position groups, or stars. I really don’t see a single area in which we have the advantage. In the 13-9 game we played a very fast, but undersized Hoopie team, and we had Shady. No Shady type player on this years squad. The matchups are horrendous. Sorry, but even the 1999 team had players. This is a much, much larger talent gap.
    We need to control the TOP and prevent quick scores. I just can’t figure out how we’ll be able to control the clock. And breakdowns in coverage has been our calling card. Inconsistent tackling ( again unlike 13-9).
    Perhaps the biggest advantage the Nitters have, and it hasn’t really been discussed, is in the special teams. Ffrench and Hamler are a push at best, but their kickers are real weapons. We’ll be pinned back all day.
    This is a game where you will see the difference between 4* and 5* and 2* and 3*. Coach me up or coach em down won’t come into play. Recruiting matters.Just like what they lost Barkley and replaced with Saunders, they have multiple options waiting to play.
    Ugly is perhaps too kind for what’s going to happen. Knowing all this won’t ease the pain. Mrs. JoeKnew understands and will let me vent, then reel me back to reality. They’ll
    use last years and this years game to justify never, ever playing again because it’s just not competitive.
    Man, that’s a bleak summation. Score, somewhere in the 50’s to somewhere in the teens. The house, the car, the magic beans, bet it all on the Nitters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Special teams are what scares me too, especially after the punting game errors last year against PSU. Those still haunt me. I guess Christodoulou has experienced over a full year of living in western PA and knows what rain is like by now, right?

      Like

  32. Boy JoeK, you just ramped up my feelings for a big PITT win. But PITT is not Idaho my friend. That said, I agree with every dam thing you said. There is absolutely no reason this game should be close. Which would make it all that much more fun!

    Like

  33. It pains me to say this but it will be a long day for Pitt tomorrow. PSU is not worried about Pitt’s offense but might be somewhat concerned about the defense. They will attempt to score early, get out in front and then pick off some of Pickett’s inaccurate passes thrown hastily under a strong pass rush when in a catch up mode.

    It might be somewhat difficult for PSU to drive the entire field on Pitt’s defense, but they know that Pitt can’t score in the second half and will play for turnovers and quick scores as Pitt makes mistakes. Sorry, but Pitt cannot turn into a scoring juggernaut over night. Overall, this amounts to a final prediction of PSU 41, Pitt 10.

    Like

  34. Scoring a total of 9 points in the second half in our last 5 games is enough for me to go into hiding before tomorrow’s game kicks off. I’ll most certainly watch the replay if a miracle happens at the State Penn. But I think I’ll be watching a movie on HBO late tomorrow afternoon instead. State Penn 48 Pitt 10(all 10 scored in the first half).

    Like

      1. Ike, I did say I won’t be privy to the final score until after the game is over. If Pitt wins I’ll watch the replay but most likely I’ll be watching the HBO movie.

        Like

  35. All you Narduzzi fan boys are jumping ship

    Grab a life vest

    You might get sea sick watching the game but the S.S. H2P isn’t going down

    Like

  36. Pitt outgained the preseason MAC favorite by 269 yards. Psu got outgained by a mediocre MAC team by 72 yards, AT HOME. I don’t buy the vibe that this game will get “ugly” or that Pitt has no chance.

    Like

  37. Also, I hate talk of intangibles, but for the sake of optimism I’ll say this. If there’s a mental edge going in, I think it’s with Pitt. Anyone at psu who had any chip on their shoulder after 42-39 is either gone, or doesn’t take Pitt seriously after the past two years. I’m not sure anyone affiliated with their program is taking Pitt appropriately seriously for tomorrow. In fact it reminds me of a team in 2007 that had no reason to take Pitt seriously after stomping them in 2005 and 2006.

    Like

  38. Pitt beat Penn State because Canada’s offense came out of nowhere and because Franklin underestimated how fired up Pitt and the City was going to be for the game. Pitt beat Clemson because Clemson overlooked Pitt. Pitt has neither the element of surprise or the risk of being overlooked or even the lack of a perceived lack rivalry on their side for this game. Penn State showed last season that they want to embarrass Pitt each and every time they step on the field in a manner only a true rival would.

    Pitt’s real hope is that they can keep it close and that a young Penn State team doesn’t react well to the adversity. Pitt will need to play a near perfect game and still hope that Penn State self destructs down the stretch.

    This will be a very difficult road game to win, I’m afraid. I’m not sure Pitt’s corners will be allowed to be as physical as they want to be on the road in Happy Valley. I expect a few PI calls.

    Having said all that, since it’s the last game in foreseeable future, I’m going with my heart over brains.

    Pitt 31
    Evil 24

    Liked by 4 people

  39. TT is exactly right, Canada’s jet sweep had the State Penn on their the first half of that game. They came back and would have probably won had McSorley not thrown that last lob into the end zone. I just can’t see this Pitt offense controlling the clock in any way come tomorrow. Now if Vincent Davis puts on a Tony Dorsett performance tomorrow then all bets are off.—Vice Davis’s 3 td’s with 175 yards on the ground and 55 yards in the air might just save the day.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That was one bad 2nd half we survived….thank God. One thing we have that the pedos will never have, we kept them out of the playoff.

      Like

  40. The unrivaled become unraveled and arrogance dies a painful death by a thousand cuts…we beat em by playing tough Western Pa football like Big B played.
    Punch em in the mouth and see what they got…

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Pitt beat Clemson because we checked a few boxes, stars being one. Just a mention of that 2016 team is enough to drive me over the edge. How he managed to lose 4 games with that team is amazing. ( I know how, but it should have never, ever happened).
    And for the very last time. We did NOT upset the Nitters that year. We were favored! Only Nitters and their ilk say it was an upset!

    Liked by 1 person

  42. The only edge Pitt has is possibly being underrated. The best we can hope for is that Pedo’s new QB gets a bit rattled and throws a couple of interceptions. Hard to see how Pitt could even keep this close without getting a couple of turnovers. Just one example of offensive weakness: Pitt is third and goal at the Pedo 3 yard line. What is the call?

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    1. that is a good one…

      I’d roll Pickett out and put Tipton in the back corner but that’s still less than 40% probability …

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Michaelangelo, the play you just called is what everyone watching Pitt would expect. They need to come up with a jumbo package, put the TE in motion and go left or right depending on how the defense adjusts. Give it to the TE end around, or he can cut back in and block for a RB.

        Like

    2. I was looking at the play by play from last year’s game … we had a similar scenario in a 7-6 ballgame in the 2nd quarter. We have 4th and 3 from the 4 yard line. What did we do? We run Ollison for a 3 yard loss. I doubt Whipple would make that same call, but who knows.

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      1. If Coach Whip calls a play to Ollison tomorrow we’re in a heap of trouble…

        The next 24-hours can’t come fast enough…the suspense mounts…well, for a few the suspense mounts…😊

        Go Pitt.

        Like

    3. Obviously that situation calls for a naked boot off a double reverse.

      (Actually I just wanted to type the word “naked” on here to get Richman’s attention…😊)

      Go Pitt.

      Liked by 2 people

  43. Our second half miseries continue (when Pitt beat PSU we almost blew a 2 TD lead in the 2nd half, and completely melted down last year)…50-17 PSU

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  44. I’m heading to the hills after this post, so have a good weekend and enjoy the game.

    JoeKnew’s thoughts (above) are similar to mine. Here’s a slightly different way of looking at it. If I were a coach. And I was told to build an 11 man offense and an 11 man defense out of the starting lineups of Pitt and psu, how many Pitt kids would be on my offense and defense? The answer is probably one maybe two on offense, and two maybe three on defense. That shows the talent difference.

    Throw in the home field advantage, and a system advantage on offense (read option) and this sets up for a long day for the good guys.

    Yes, we will need to know where Hamler is at all times, but the tight end and RBs will kill us as well.

    The only slight weakness that I can find is that psu’s QB is inexperienced, yet he has been solid so far.

    Still, I’m a homer so I’m picking Pitt 35 psu 31.

    I will check back in on Monday. H2P!

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  45. Don’t eat too many oysters there Rocky.

    Call me goofy or whatever but I’m one of those people that has always found that extra gear that is said to not exist when the consensus tells you………. it cannot be done. It indeed can be done when you’re talented just enough yet disrespected even more. If I’m psu, I’d watch out for PITT tomorrow. Like Dan, I’m not drinking but I’m getting this feeling of disrespect from not only psu asses but our own fans. I’m just now getting a good vibe for this game. Put me in coach!

    We All We Got
    We All We Need!!!!!

    H2P!!

    Liked by 1 person

  46. November 14, 1987 – on the eve of my 11th birthday, I asked for one and only one present that year; a victory over Penn St. On that evening, Tony Siragusa, Jerry Olsavsky, Zeke Gadson, and Billy Owens cemented one of the greatest defensive performances as Pitt shutout the defending national champions 10-0 in dramatic pick-6 fashion. My greatest birthday ever. That was one of the few great moments as a Pitt football fan in a rivalry that has been pretty one sided in my existence. It is really sad to see this game come to an end. I miss the days when you could salvage a season by beating your local rival.

    Fast forward to 2019, and neither Mike Gottfried nor that 1987 Pitt defense will be walking through the tunnel at Beaver Stadium. However, it will take that level of effort and probably a special teams TD if Pitt wants to end this series with a victory. Unlike most, I will gladly trade in losses for the remainder of the season to win this game in Happy Valley. To me, this game still means something much more than an ACC conference win.

    Given last year’s outcome and the expectations for Saturday’s game, I would have rather ended this series with “12-0” being the final game and Paterno going to the grave knowing he lost to Pitt in the final meeting. This 4-game sponsorship experiment began optimistically, but it has been all downhill since the 4th quarter of 2016. While there was once a time (prior to 2011) when Paterno garnered respect in the world of college football, this current used car salesman coaching the Lions is despicable. It makes me sick at the potential of Pitt losing the final 3 games to Franklin.

    As for predictions….Pitt better come prepared and not turn in another disgraceful 51-6 showing that I watched one year ago. If given the same opportunity, Franklin will try to put 100 on the board and rub everyone’s nose in it. However, I don’t think that will happen on Saturday. I’m expecting a huge defensive effort in the first 30 minutes that will have Panther fans dreaming of victory going into the second half. As a realist who bets football, I just don’t see them being able to sustain it for the entire 60 minutes. I will be happy with a cover, but here is my prediction for the record:

    With the score PSU-35 and Pitt-20, Penn St. turns Pitt over on downs with less than a minute to go. Franklin runs hurry-up offense and advances the ball to midfield with 8 seconds remaining and 1 timeout left. He diagrams a 20-yard square in over the middle of the field and calls a timeout as the clock hits 0:00. After review, the officials get teams back to respective sidelines and put 1 second back on the clock. Penn St. brings out the special teams unit and kicks a 47-yard field goal to cover 38-20. Vegas views Franklin as a hero and refers to him as “Jimmy Covers” going forward, while Narduzzi refuses to ever talk to media again…As a Pitt fan, these are my expectations!!!!

    Now is the time to make a deal with whatever devil you know. Pitt cannot lose this game as it will never be played again. It is time to rise up and summon the spirits of Chuck Scales (1984 win in Beaver Stadium), Billy Owens (1987), Darnell Dickerson (last QB to win in Beaver Stadium 1988), Rod Rutherford (2000), and Nathan Peterman (2016). It is NOW or NEVER Pitt football. If there is ever a time to deliver some magic and extinguish some demons, THE TIME IS SATURDAY!

    Liked by 3 people

  47. As much as it pains me to write this, I picked PSU to win this one before the season started and haven’t seen anything from our team in the first 2 games to change that prediction. PSU wins 35-21.

    Like

  48. Not to beat a dead horse, but if Pitt fails to score on that 3rd and goal from the 3 yard line, and then 4th and 1, its game over. If there is one situation they should be working on this week, that is it. Pitt cannot afford to take field goals when touchdowns are close.

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  49. I do sense a good bit of excitement for the game tomorrow but this thought crossed my mind. Way back when psu and PITT were both independent football programs. No conferences and only a few other rivalries. THIS GAME WAS BIG, REALLY BIG , to me and many of us. It makes sense that the younger PITT fans look at this game as may not being the big rivalry game like the older PITT fan base remember. Well tell that to the over 100,000 fans at the erector set stadium tomorrow and what they think. BUT truly, it is not the same as it use to be. At least for some that are not me. We PITT fans needs to circle the wagons and have a little faith. It can go a long ways for those that believe like TX!

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  50. Safe travels to all those from Panther Nation making the trip to State College. You’ll love the smell of cow manure and marvel at the monstrosity of the stadium and be awe struck by over 100,000 Penn State fans dressed in white chanting ‘We Are Penn State.’ But avoid the showers on campus and don’t eat the ice cream.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. I hate the Pedos. I hate them with every fiber of my fat being. My wife and her family are all Pedo fans and some are boosters. I live near Harrisburg, it’s practically ground zero for the Cult. The arrogance of the Pedos in this area is unbearable. They make me want to puke.
    I’m so glad the series is over with them.

    I had tickets to go to the game, but I would be miserable if I went and likely get into trouble if I did go. i have not set foot in that place in over 10 years even though offered tickets all the time.

    I would give up booze sex and a winless remainder of the season for a win tomorrow.

    I cannot envision a scenario where Pitt scores more than 20. I think they get steamrolled.

    I will pray (literally pray) for a miracle victory. Please God let it happen.

    Liked by 2 people

  52. Went to get a case of beer for company coming over and yes I’ll partake in a few libations myself. (against doctors orders) ask the lady at the check out……….. PITT or psu…. she said Psu, I said see ya.. she said you asked…. I just walked away, won’t be going back there.

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  53. I’ve been thinking about the final score of this game all week. I just don’t see the PITT O being able to score enough points to win. I think we’d need a defensive AND a special teams score to be competitive. Without that I see 30-13 PSU.

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  54. Tomorrow…for the miracle to happen:
    1. No turnovers for Pitt
    2. Narduzzi has to grow up and be a head coach with his head in the game at all times. He cannot lose his cool and go crazy on the sidelines.
    3. Pickett has to stay cool and have his Miami game all over.
    4. Bad things are going to happen to Pitt …they always do. Fight thru them and move on.
    5. Penn State is going to come out hard. Be ready for railed dazzle and stay cool.
    6. Pitt cannotget down more than 10 points. We have to stay in touch with the score.

    I think Pitt is the best team on the field tomorrow. We have more and faster skill players, a better QB and a very quick defense. H2P

    Liked by 4 people

    1. We have all those Fla kids… a 3 star from the Sunhine state is equivalent to a 4 star from Pa or NJ… correct ???

      Many keys to success… IMO the biggie is Kenny mentally being calm, cool and collected.. KP needs to be 100% locked in and in control of KP

      Like

  55. ^^ DAN!!! You have broken curfew……. LOL!!

    Anyways that’s a great game day plan. Couldn’t agree or add more to your post. Now it comes down to executing it.

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  56. I recall 3 years ago thinking after the big win that Pitt should get at least a split in the 4 game series. Pitt would have a seasoned QB in game 4 while Pedo would be breaking in a new one. Narduzzi’s 5th year recruits would be experienced and Pedo would be using new RBs. So what has happened to this plan? Why aren’t the two programs roughly equal by now?

    Like

  57. I tried to post earlier this morning and all the login requirements were run through correctly, yet nothing is posted.

    Thoughts were too long to re-type – basic summary below –

    Pitt’s 4 star players have to play better than the pedo 4 stars for the Panthers to have a chance at winning.

    On D, Paris, Hamlin and Watts have spectacular days and lead an attack that is relentless and Steel City solid.

    On the O side, the “Davis” twins run wild behind Carter Warren after an inspiring pre-game speech by the great Tony Dorsett who probably despises psuX as much as any of us fans.

    I’m ready for some football in Creepy Valley – a cat fight for the ages.

    H2P!

    Liked by 2 people

  58. My heart is with the Panthers…

    My head is with the Criminals. In keeping with my original 7-5 season prediction, I had the bad guys winning this one.

    STATE PENN 38
    PITT 10

    (…hope the Panthers come out of this tussle healthy, long season ahead — and they can’t afford anymore season ending injuries to starters 😦 )

    H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

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