Penn State's James Franklin throws shade that's sure to fuel Pitt rivalry

0:45 | College Football         Lamar Jackson's Big Day Leads No. 17 Louisville Over UNC

Can the No. 4 Penn State Nittany Lions cruise past in-state rival, Pittsburgh, when the two meet up in the loud confines of Beaver Stadium at 3:30PM ET today?

"I feel like whenever he touches the ball, he can create an explosive play", Nittany Lions Coach James Franklin said of Barkley, who stands a chiseled 5 feet 11 and 230 pounds.

The Penn State Nittany Lions are red hot after they defeating Akron 52-0 in their opener.

That doesn't mean the 98th iteration of the series isn't a big deal.

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"It's one game at time", he said. "And I understand the significance of this game, and I understand the importance of this game". The goal put Putsch in the team lead for goals on the season with five. It also served as a spring board of sorts for Penn State. Penn State is a 21-point favorite and that is a large sum to cover, but they are up to the challenge.

"I know a year ago for their win it was like the Super Bowl, but for us this was just like beating Akron", Franklin said. Pitt blew a three-touchdown halftime lead and needed Jester Weah's leaping grab to avoid the upset. The Panthers crept within 1 but could get no closer. It starts with Akron, and we'll go from there from that point after that. "We fed off that play".

For Narduzzi, he's used to the waiting, accustomed to that kind of focus. The Panthers focused on the run game to move the ball as quarterback Max Browne only compiled 140 yards in the air. A year later the junior could give a potential Heisman Trophy campaign a serious jolt with a repeat performance.

Most of Penn State's verbal commitments from the high school class of 2018 were at Saturday's game, including blue-chippers like New Jersey WR Justin Shorter, Virginia RB Ricky Slade, Virginia OT Nana Asiedu, Camp Hill TE Zack Kuntz and Jesse Luketa, a LB from Erie. The Panthers will be without safety Jordan Whitehead, suspended for the first three games for a violation of team rules. "They turned our season in a different direction than we wanted it to be". Jumping on a young Pitt team early in a hostile environment is a priority. It's what happens when you get too cute. Sloppy game on both sides of a No. 8 MI (2-0) win over visiting Cincinnati (1-1), but two pick-sixes helped the nervous Big House hosts to a 36-14 victory that saw Jim Harbaugh's crew manage just 16 first downs against Cinci's 13. "I'm not really dwelling on the past, but this one feels good".

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