As for the larger debate - the rivalry-or-not-a-rivalry discussion that has been beaten to death - coach James Franklin rekindled it during his postgame remarks by saying, "I know a year ago for their win it was like the Super Bowl, but for us this was just like beating Akron (by a 52-0 count in the opener)". Ho-hum post-game analysis from 'Bama head coach Nick Saban, too: "We've just gotta get better", Saban told ESPN. Pitt actually outgained Penn State in total yards. "This was just like beating Akron for us".
No. 3 Penn State had one thing on its mind Sunday: revenge. It was ruled a 23-yard catch, and Penn State ran a play before Pittsburgh - or the officials - had a chance to call for a review. Pitt had serious issues covering Youngstown State running backs in the passing game in the opener, and Penn State loves to find ways to get Barkley the ball in space.
The Nittany Lions had taken over deep in Pittsburgh territory when senior cornerback Grant Haley returned an interception 42 yards from midfield.
Nobody on Penn State's current roster was even born when the school's annual, always-anticipated showdown with Pitt stopped after the Lions pasted the Panthers, 57-13, in 1992.
"I don't see playing Pitt every year", Barbour said in May. I think our schedule is set through 2026 or something like that.
The Lions badly wanted to make amends for last year's defeat and did, decisively beating the Panthers 33-14 before a sellout crowd of 109,898 at Beaver Stadium.
Barkley amassed 183 all-purpose yards, rushing 14 times for 88 yards and a touchdown, catching four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, and returning two kicks for 50 yards. The Big Ten going to nine conference games has really put all of that conference's teams in a tight spot when it comes to out-of-conference rivalry games. That's the only point I felt disrespected on. The first touchdown required eight seconds and came on McSorley's eight-yard pass on first and goal to Gesicki with 12:53 left in the first quarter.
There was a time, before the two most prominent football programs in Pennsylvania went on a 16-year hiatus, when the annual Penn State-Pitt game was one of college football's most hate-infused rivalries. "You guys saw the signs and heard what they were saying".