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Penn State-Purdue Beats Backyard Brawl in Ratings

Penn State and Purdue isn’t a rivalry the way the Pitt-West Virginia game is.

But more people watched Penn State’s 35-31 win over Purdue Thursday night than watched Pitt’s 38-31 win over West Virginia in the first Backyard Brawl since 2011.

According to, Penn State-Purdue drew 3.512 million viewers on Fox, while Pitt-WVU got 3.152 million on ESPN.

Penn State’s Big Ten opener also drew the best ratings of any program on broadcast television, behind CBS’ Big Brother. The Backyard Brawl topped cable television ratings, beating out Fox News’ The Five.

The Backyard Brawl did beat Penn State-Purdue in the 18-49 demographic, drawing a 1.01 compared to a 0.82.

According to Medium’s Zach Miller, Penn State was the fourth-most watched team in college football on average during the 2021 regular season, and with marquee opponents such as Auburn, Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State on the schedule, Penn State will draw plenty of big ratings later on in 2022.

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