UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 4 Penn State (2-0) dominated the field position battle with strong defense and special teams and Saquon Barkley and Mike Gesicki scored a pair of touchdowns each in a 33-14 victory over Pittsburgh (1-1) in non-conference football action Saturday afternoon in Beaver Stadium.
The Nittany Lions led from their first score to the end, never allowing Pitt within single digits after building a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Penn State was also aided by its seventh-largest crowd ever and the largest since 2009, as 109,898 packed Beaver Stadium and helped the Nittany Lions extend their home winning streak to nine, which is tied for the longest active streak in FBS.
Penn State’s average drive start was at its own 37, while Pitt’s average drive start was inside its own 18, and the Nittany Lions took advantage with four touchdowns and safety, while Pitt reached the end zone just once despite a pair of 15-play drives. On special teams, Penn State held the Panthers inside the 20 twice and four of Blake Gillikin’s six punts landed inside the 20, with his last setting up a safety to put the game out of reach. Safety Marcus Allen made the safety stop and led the Lions with 12 tackles.
Barkley amassed 183 all-purpose yards, rushing 14 times for 88 yards and a touchdown, catching four passes for 45 yards and a touchdown, and returning two kicks for 50 yards. Quarterback Trace McSorleycompleted 15-of-28 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns, with his lone interception coming on an end-of-half Hail Mary play. Gesicki matched Barkley’s four receptions and totaled 39 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, linebackers Jason Cabinda and Koa Farmer followed Allen in the tackles ledger with eight apiece, Defensive backs Grant Haley and Troy Apke – whom both had parents attend Pitt – hauled in an interception each and defensive end Shareef Miller had two of Penn State’s five sacks.