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Pitt-Penn State renew football rivalry

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IT'S BACK: On hiatus since 2000, the Pitt-Penn State series will again resume after the two programs signed a home-and-home agreement for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Pitt will host the initial game at Heinz Field on September 10, 2016. The teams will play at Penn State on September 16, 2017.

The rivalry is coming back.

For years, Pitt and Penn State waged one of college football’s most colorful and historic rivalries. It was a game 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 resume after the two universities signed a home-and-home agreement for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

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

“This is an exciting day for college football fans,” Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. “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.”

"As a young football fan in Texas, I used to love watching Pitt and Penn State play every November,” first-year Pitt head coach Todd Graham said. “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 September 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 raced for a 62-yard TD. 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 1900-31 and 1935-92. Following a four-year break, the series resumed for four games from 1997-2000 before its current hiatus. The rivalry gained national stature during the 1970s and ‘80s when the teams regularly met with both eastern supremacy and national title implications at stake.

"We are very excited about renewing our rivalry with Pitt,” Penn State athletic director Tim Curley stated. “We have worked our schedules to play some of our neighboring rivalries like Syracuse, Rutgers and Temple and are glad to have identified dates that worked for our schedules to play Pitt. The Penn State-Pitt game was one that football fans across the Commonwealth have been passionate about. There have been many memorable Penn State-Pitt games, featuring outstanding players and coaches, and we look forward to playing the Panthers again.“

The Nittany Lions have met the Panthers more than any other opponent – 96 times – with Penn State owning the 50-42-4 series advantage. Penn State owns a 17-6 record against Pitt in State College, while the Panthers have a 34-28-4 advantage in games played on their home field. Penn State leads, 5-2, in neutral site games, the majority of which were played in Pittsburgh.

Pitt-Penn State Series in Brief
Began: 1893
Series Record: Penn State leads, 50-42-4
At Pittsburgh: Pitt leads, 34-28-4
At Penn State: PSU leads, 17-6
Neutral Site: PSU leads, 5-2
Last Game: Three Rivers Stadium; Sept. 16, 2000 - Pitt won 12-0

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