James Franklin Says Penn State Win over Pittsburgh Was 'Like Beating Akron'

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2017

Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin reacts on the field against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

After Penn State got revenge on Pittsburgh with a 33-14 win on Saturday at Beaver Stadium, Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin threw some shade at his in-state rivals.

"For their win last year it was like winning the Super Bowl," he said, via Onward State. "For us this year, it was like beating Akron."

Pittsburgh defeated Penn State 42-39 in 2016, though the Nittany Lions nearly erased a 21-point deficit with four scoring drives in the second half.

That 2016 matchup was the first meeting between the two programs in 16 years. Penn State players downplayed the game, refusing to acknowledge it was a rivalry anymore.

"I don't think there's a rivalry, to be honest," Penn State offensive lineman guard Ryan Bates told ESPN's Josh Moyer. "They're just games in my eyes, another opportunity to go out and get better."

Moyer also noted Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi referred to the game against Penn State as "gigantic" before his team pulled off the upset.

Narduzzi continued to escalate things with a tweet on Aug. 21, the day of the solar eclipse, that featured footage from Pitt's 1979 victory over Penn State:

Even with last year's loss, Penn State got the last laugh by winning the Big Ten Championship game and earning a spot in the Rose Bowl. The Nittany Lions have high expectations this season, entering Saturday ranked fourth in the Associated Press and Coaches Top 25 polls.