Harvey Levine/FOS

Penn State Rally Falls Short vs. Pitt

Our running update from the Nittany Lions' game vs. the Panthers at Heinz Field.

PITTSBURGH — Penn State (1-0) takes on Pitt (1-0) at Heinz Field Saturday.


Penn State's opening drive stalled after six plays and 40 yards. But punter Blake Gillikin pinned the Panthers at their own 1-yard line.

Undeterred, the Panthers gashed the Nittany Lions on the ground early. They went 99 yards in 10 plays, with 99 rushing yards. George Aston scored from one yard out to make it 7-0.

PSU QB Trace McSorley fumbled on the first play of the subsequent drive. He was hit by end Ejuan Price, who blew around Lion LT Brendan Mahon. Pitt recovered and scored two plays later as Nathan Peterman hit Quadree Henerson from seven yards out to make it 14-0.

Penn State finally forced a Pitt punt on the Panthers' next possession, and John Reid made the most of it with a 59-yard return. TE Mike Gesicki drew a pass interference call and then Saquon Barkley punched in a three-yard TD to make it 14-7.

The quarter ended with Pitt driving deep into PSU territory again.

Score At End Of Quarter: Pitt 14, Penn State 7


The Panthers scored early in the second quarter when Peterman hit Scott Orndorff from two yards out. PSU S Marcus Allen just missed the pick on the play. The TD gave Pitt a 21-7 lead.

McSorley had a 17-yard run to open PSU's next drive. But when he tried to run a read option play on the next snap, he kept the ball and again was hit by Price. This time Price was unblocked. McSorley fumbled again and this time Jordan Whitehead recovered. Whitehead then got an end-around which he took to the 2-yard line. Aston scored from three yards out two plays later to make it 28-7.

Penn State steadied the ship as the second quarter went along. The Nittany Lions got a 29-yard run from Barkley and then a 24-yard McSorley-to-Gesicki connection to take the ball down to the Pitt 1. Barkley went high over the pile for the TD two plays later. It was 28-14 with 42 seconds left in the half.

Score At End Of Half: Pitt 28, Penn State 14


The Panthers went three and out to start the second half. PSU struck quickly, taking only two plays to cover 46 yards for the score. The big play was a 40-yard catch and run by Barkley to make it 28-21.

Just as things were starting to get interesting, though, Pitt regained control with a 75-yard drive capped by James Connor's one-yard TD plunge. The score was 35-21. With 7:24 left in the third quarter, the Panthers already had 289 rushing yards.

Neither team scored for the rest of the quarter, as PSU's best drive ended with a Barkley fumble.

Score At End Of Quarter: Pitt 35, Penn State 21


McSorley hit DeAndre Thompkins on a 39-yard bomb early in the fourth quarter, leading to a one-yard scoring dive by Barkley to make it 35-28.

On the following drive, Connor fumble after a hit by DE Torrence Brown and Reid recovered at the Pitt 11. But McSorley was sacked on third-and-9 and PSU had to settle for Tyler Davis' 38-yard field goal attempt. It was good to make the score 35-31.

Quadree Henderson took the ensuing kickoff back 84 yards to the PSU 10. Connor scored on 12-yard shovel pass three plays later to make it 42-31.

Penn State got yet another short TD run by Barkley to cut it to 42-39 (with a two-point conversion), then forced a three and out to take control of the ball with less than five minutes to go. But after converting a fourth and 16, McSorley was picked in the end zone to effective end the game  

Score At End Of Game: Pitt 42, Penn State 39

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