No. 4 Penn State (2-0) came to play on Saturday when Happy Valley welcomed the Pitt Panthers to Beaver Stadium.
An attendance of 109,898 made for a packed Beaver Stadium that followed Head Coach James Franklin’s request for a White Out. All levels of the stadium were packed with fans decked out in their Penn State White Out gear.
Coach Franklin exuded happiness and praise for the fan’s passion and pride on Saturday.
“It was an unbelievable environment,” said Franklin. “109,898 fans in attendance, the seventh-largest crowd in Beaver Stadium history and the largest since 2009…just fantastic.”
The Lions wasted no time in letting Pitt know it would not be an easy game by securing a touchdown just over two minutes into the first quarter. Tight end Mike Gesicki (Manahawkin, N.J.) received an eight-yard pass from quarterback Trace McSorley (Ashburn, Va.) and Tyler Davis (St. Charles, Ill.) locked in the first seven points with a good kick.
Gesicki again came up clutch just before the end of the first by receiving a 10-yard pass from McSorley with Davis to round it out for a total of 14 points heading into the second.
The second quarter saw Pitt make some marches down the field, but Penn State’s defense, led by Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J.) held the Panthers to a three-point kick to send both teams into the locker rooms with the Lions leading 14-3.
The second half is where running back standout Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) found his rhythm. Barkley logged 63 yards and a career-long 47-yard touchdown to propel the Lions to a 21-6 lead prior to the start of the third quarter.
Barkley credits a tough mindset and the capabilities of his teammates with Saturday’s successes.
“I believe[d]… it was going to be a touchdown once I saw the one-on-one route, that’s the mindset you have to have” said Barkley. “I believe in Trace [McSorley] putting up a great ball, I believe in JoeMo [Joe Moorhead] making the right call, and I believe in the o-line blocking it right, and you have to believe in yourself making that catch.”
The fourth quarter is when the Lions truly locked in the substantial 33-14 win.
Just six seconds into the fourth Barkley clinched another touchdown on an eight-yard run followed by a good kick from Davis to put the Lions at 28-6.
After Pitt’s starting quarterback, Max Browne, was injured after his helmet came off, Pitt’s Ben DiNucci secured Pitt’s lone touchdown of the day.
The Lions’ defense were determined not to leave the score at 28-14, and secured a safety with six minutes left in the fourth, and Davis kicked a 24-yard field goal to round out the score at 33-14.
Coach Franklin rounded out his press conference by thanking the fans again for making Beaver Stadium the place to be on Saturday.
“Again, the atmosphere here was electric. I’d love for us to get to the point where we start a sellout string in that stadium because this University deserves it,” said Franklin. “This football program deserves it and I think we all see how special this place is when everyone is pulling the rope in the same direction, so thank you so much.”
Penn State will host Georgia State next Saturday in its last game before entering Big Ten conference play.
Join us at Beaver Stadium next Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. kickoff!