Last night the #13 Penn State Nittany Lions faced the Pitt Panthers at Heinz Field for their 99th all-time meeting. Penn State ended up blowing out Pitt 51 to 6, but it was ugly in the beginning. The Nittany Lions, whose tackling struggles continued from last week against Appalachian St, finally learned how to wrap up a guy.
Pitt’s struggles gave PSU the confidence they needed. Pitt’s miscues started on their first and only touchdown drive, where they failed to even attempt the extra point. This was followed by a missed field goal that would’ve been a chip shot in better weather, an interception, and a key failed fourth down attempt.
New offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne started aggressive by calling passing plays in the pouring down rain. Trace McSorely threw the ball quite well despite the fact he went 14 for 30. DeAndre Thompkins dropped three or four passes that hit him right in the hands. Pittsburgh native Miles Sanders had a career night with 118 rushing yards. KJ Hamler has become a star for the Nittany Lions with his kick return ability and knack for the end zone, including a rushing touchdown for 32 yards. Defensive tackle Kevin Givens, who was suspended for violation of team rules last week, showed how valuable he is to the team with seven tackles and two tackles for loss.
Next week will really prove if the Nittany Lions have finally found their stride when they face Kent State at Beaver Stadium. This will be their last non-conference game before they face Illinois, where they tend to play down to their competition, on the following Friday night.
Final note: KL Hamler’s performance over the last two weeks may only be upstaged by his parents’ rap that has gone viral. If you haven’t seen it yet, here is the Hamler Rap.