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‘It’s Absolutely the Case’: Penn State Afraid to Play Pitt, Pittsburgh Sports Radio Host Claims

PSU coach James Franklin talks with Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi before last year's game at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State and Pitt haven’t played in football since 2019 and have played only four times since 2000.

If one were to ask a PSU fan why this is the case, they’ll likely say something along the lines of “we don’t need Pitt.”

If one asks the same question to a Pitt fan, they’ll probably say something similar to what 93.7 The Fan’s Adam Crowley said on the Pittsburgh sports station’s morning show Tuesday.

For Crowley, a West Virginia University graduate and fan, PSU and Pitt don’t play anymore because PSU is afraid of it’s in-state rival.

“Oh, yeah, Penn State’s scared to play Pitt,” Crowley said.

“They’re too good to play ‘that game.’”

Crowley’s claim drew predictable reactions from both fanbases.

PSU fans are happy to point out that PSU went 3-1 against Pitt in the rivalries’ renewal from 2016-19, featuring  2018’s 51-6 PSU win in Pittsburgh. Pitt fans will point out that Penn State has scheduled programs such as West Virginia, Delaware, UMass, Ohio and Marshall on its non conference slate, but not Pitt.

The Pitt-Penn State rivalry dates back to 1893 and has featured 100 meetings, with Penn State winning 53, losing 43 and tying four. When Penn State started playing in the Big Ten in 1993, the meetings became far less frequent. The series have a brief revival from 1997-2000 and than the aforementioned 2016-19 run, with Penn State taking three of four meetings in both of them.

More recently, each program has had success and stability. Pitt’s Pat Narduzzi has been running the program since 2015 and has a 41-25 record in the ACC. Penn State’s James Franklin’s been the boss since 2014. His time at Penn State’s featured a Big Ten title (2016) and four New Year’s Six bowl appearances, with a 3-1 record in those games.

PSU and Pitt have each had moments of glory over the past two seasons. Pitt won the ACC for the first time in 2021 and Penn State won the Rose Bowl at the end of last season.

If PSU and Pitt were to play this season, the game would generated much interest across the state. But because they aren’t, social media debates and subtle jabs by coaches will have to do.

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