Penn State's James Franklin throws shade that's sure to fuel Pitt rivalry

This week, we beat Pittsburgh and it was a great win.

These days, the roar is real at Beaver Stadium, where Penn State has resurrected itself in the post-Joe Paterno era. They were no doubt dreaming of a thrashing somewhere along the lines of the 48-14 victory over the Dan Marino-led Panthers in 1981 or the 65-8 shellacking the Lions handed Pitt in 1968.

The Panthers' defense instead rendered the junior tailback with uncommon strength and speed virtually incidental, leaving National Football League scouts observing from the press box mighty curious about when last season's Big Ten offensive player of the year would begin to get on track. For 23 years, the two schools hardly gave each other as second thought. The Nittany Lions have high expectations this season, entering Saturday ranked fourth in the Associated Press and Coaches Top 25 polls.

ATLANTIC 14 Jonathan Taylor ran for 223 yards and three touchdowns, Alex Hornibrook threw for 201 yards and a score, and No. 9 Wisconsin (2-0) pulled away from Florida Atlantic (0-2) for a victory at home. Penn State is a 21-point favorite and that is a large sum to cover, but they are up to the challenge. PSU manhandled the Zips from the start, holding them to just 159 yards of offense while racking up 569 of their own.

All-American returner Quadree Henderson helped set Pitt apart from the crowd last season and was an equalizer that kept the Panthers competitive in many games.

After No. 4 Penn State's 33-14 win over the Panthers on Saturday, Franklin slighted them for how he says they reacted to beating the Nittany Lions last season. "I know that's something I took for granted for too long".

Penn State running back Saquon Barkley (26) picks up yardage against Akron at Beaver Stadium in University Park, Pa., on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017.

Then there was the matter of Pitt's ball-hoggery.

Linebacker Koa Farmer said he and his teammates viewed Pitt as "just another team in our way". 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 value of Penn State's big-play offense, they are never going to be out of games with their ability to strike quickly and find the end zone.

After finishing second to James Conner in rushing yardage previous year (631), he was a nonfactor Saturday in the 33-14 loss to Penn State at Beaver Stadium.

"I've been saying this for two years, so you guys can interpret it however you want", Franklin said. Pittsburgh will likely remember them heading into next season's matchup. That's the only point I felt disrespected on. I think it was the emotions of everything.

The images in the rematch, however, were far different for Pitt's offense.

  • Leroy Wright