Pitt-Penn State Football to Resume in 2016

Issue Date: 
June 20, 2011
Pitt and Penn State in their last game opposing one another — Sept. 16, 2000.Pitt and Penn State in their last game opposing one another — Sept. 16, 2000.

The rivalry will resume.

For years, the University of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania State University waged one of college football’s most colorful and historic rivalries. It was a series of annual games that captured the attention and passion of fans in Pennsylvania and throughout the country.

On hiatus since 2000, the Pitt-Penn State series will again entertain fans now that the two universities have signed a home-and-home agreement for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Pitt will host the initial game at Heinz Field on Sept. 10, 2016. The Panthers will play at Penn State on Sept. 16, 2017.

“Pitt and Penn State not only are longtime competitors in athletics, but also are longtime partners in a broad range of academic and civic initiatives,” Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said in a statement. “The renewal of our football rivalry is consistent with that broader relationship, is good for both universities, will be welcomed by college football fans around the country, and presents another important opportunity to showcase Pennsylvania, the home state that we proudly share.”

Pitt Athletic Director Steve Pederson said, “This is an exciting day for college football fans. The tremendous history of this rivalry is well documented, and the passion that fans have for this game is enormous. We are very pleased that this two-game series is now in place and a new generation of fans can experience the excitement of a Pitt-Penn State football game beginning in 2016.”

And Pitt head coach Todd Graham recalled the two schools’ rivalry from his younger days. “As a young football fan in Texas, I used to love watching Pitt and Penn State play every November. The games were intense and featured some of the greatest players in the history of college football. The resumption of this series is great for the two schools and football fans everywhere.”

Pitt and Penn State last clashed on Sept.16, 2000, when the Panthers blanked the Nittany Lions, 12-0 at Three Rivers Stadium. Freshman Rod Rutherford scored the game’s lone touchdown when he took a short pass from John Turman and ran 62 yards to the end zone. A smothering Pitt defense limited Penn State to just 64 yards rushing and 225 yards overall.

Penn State holds a 50-42-4 advantage in the all-time series that began in 1893. The schools played every season from 1900 to 1931 and 1935 to 1992. Following a four-year break, the series resumed for four games from 1997 to 2000 before its current hiatus. The rivalry gained national stature during the 1970s and ’80s, when the teams met regularly with both Eastern supremacy and national title implications at stake.