Today's game will be the 98th meeting between the two teams with the Lions leading the historic series 50-43-4.
And one that could have a significant ripple effect on how the season is viewed for both teams.
Funny, Franklin's players didn't quite see it the same way.
Saquon Barkley, fresh off his second entry in a book of a season that will eventually be presented as his 2017 Heisman Trophy campaign, made maybe the most interesting postgame point on Saturday after the Lions beat Pittsburgh, 33-14, at Beaver Stadium.
"Guys had grudges, a chip on their shoulders, coming into this game like myself", said Penn State senior safety Marcus Allen, who tackled Darrin Hall in the end zone for a safety in the fourth quarter.
RUNNING BACKS: Barkley finished with just 88 yards on 14 carries, but he did score twice and added a 32-yard kickoff return to go with his two catches for 46 yards.
"I know past year beating us for them was like the Super Bowl", said Franklin during the post-game press conference, referencing Pitt's 42-39 win over the Nittany Lions in 2016.
Barkley also had an 8-yard touchdown run with 14:54 left in the fourth quarter to put Penn State up by 22 points. He also rushed for 65 yards. Maurice Ffrence contributed 19 yards in three receptions. Up next for the Nittany Lions is a primetime, home matchup against Georgia State.
That certainly seems to be his way of saying Penn State views Pitt as a little brother more than a worthy rival.
Ellis, a three-star cornerback for State College Area High School, picked his hometown Nittany Lions over offers from Buffalo and Syracuse.
"Having to drive the length of the field in a methodical way, it's tough to do", Browne said.
Barkley's offensive mates helped carry Penn State in the first half, most notably McSorley and tight end Mike Gesicki, regarded as perhaps the most skilled at his position in the country. Trace McSorely completed 18 of 25 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns against an interception while Tommy Stevens threw for 42 yards in 3-for-6 passes. Didn't matter in the early going. Jumping on a young Pitt team early in a hostile environment is a priority.
The play was a good reminder that, while things like inaccuracy, drops, missed blocking assignments, and short yardage struggles can occasionally grind this offense to a halt, its ability to score in a flash, through the air or on the ground, is invaluable.
A big play or a bounce that could've changed the momentum of the game didn't go Pitt's way. The third game in the four-year renewal is next September at Heinz Field.
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