James Franklin: Penn State win over Pitt 'like beating Akron'

College Football Predictions: Pittsburgh vs. Penn State 9/9/17

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. Junior running back Saquon Barkley, a potential Heisman Trophy contender, rushed 14 times for 88 yards and a touchdown and also had a 46-yard touchdown reception.

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.

After Pitt held Barkley to 22 all-purpose yards in the first half Saturday, he broke loose in the second half. Penn State players downplayed the game, refusing to acknowledge it was a rivalry anymore.

Coach James Franklin spoke almost 7,000 words this week about the showdown. Whether he meant it as a slight or not, that logic sounded suspiciously like a backhanded jab when Franklin recapped No. 4 Penn State's victory over in-state foe Pitt on Saturday. For good measure, he squatted 525 pounds and bench-pressed 405.

These days, the roar is real at Beaver Stadium, where Penn State has resurrected itself in the post-Joe Paterno era. Barkley is seeking to become the second Heisman victor in program history after John Cappelletti in 1973.

Qadree Ollison rushed for 96 yards for the Panthers.

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The Tigers controlled much of the game's possession until the 52nd minute, when Penn State picked up another penalty corner. "You have to believe in yourself".

"Obviously, you'd like it to be a little more balanced and whenever you get to the extremes, that's when there are problems". Penn State is a 21-point favorite and that is a large sum to cover, but they are up to the challenge.

The Nittany Lions' defense, which shut out an entirely overwhelmed Akron Zips offense the week before, couldn't stop the Pitt Panthers offense from moving the ball seemingly at will. Barkley had four grabs for 45 yards and Mike Gesicki had four grabs for 39 yards but the only receiver of any note was DaeSean Hamilton's three catches for 45 yards.

The Nittany Lions led from their first score to the end, never allowing Pitt within single digits after building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley made the easy throw over the top.

Last November, Princeton ended the Nittany Lions' season earlier than they had hoped, upsetting Penn State 2-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Penn State solidified their high ranking in an impressive week 1 win over Akron 52-0. "You guys saw the signs and heard what they were saying".

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