UNIVERSITY PARK - One of the nation's fiercest football rivalries is set to be renewed, as old rivals Penn State and Pittsburgh will meet again on the gridiron in 2016 and 2017.
Tim Curley, Penn State Director of Athletics, and Steve Pederson, Pitt Director of Athletics, made the announcement Tuesday that the long-time rivals are scheduled to meet Sept. 10, 2016 in Pittsburgh and Sept. 16, 2017, in Beaver Stadium.
"We are very excited about renewing our rivalry with Pitt," 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 a 50-42-4 series advantage. The teams first met in 1893 and played every season from 1900-31 and 1935-92, often in a compelling final game of the regular season. The teams did not meet from 1993-96, when Penn State began play in the Big Ten Conference, and then played a four-game series from 1997-2000, with the Nittany Lions winning the first three games. The Panthers won the last meeting, 12-0, in Three Rivers Stadium 11 years ago.
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.
Coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions have played several of the nation's premier programs during the non-conference portion of the regular season schedule during the past decade. The Nittany Lions are completing a two-game series with Alabama this season, meeting Sept. 10 in Beaver Stadium for an all-stadium whitehouse that will air nationally on ABC at 3:30 p.m.
During the 2012-13 seasons, Virginia returns to the Nittany Lions' slate, followed by another old rival, Rutgers, in 2014-15. Penn State and long-time rival Syracuse played in 2008-09 and are scheduled to meet again in the 2013 season opener at New Meadowlands Stadium.
Penn State's regular season non-conference opponents during the past 12 years include: Pittsburgh (2000), Southern California (2000), Miami, Fla. (2001), Southern Miss (2001), Virginia (2001-02), Nebraska (2002-03), UCF (2002 and '04), Boston College (2003-04), South Florida (2005), Cincinnati (2005), Notre Dame (2006-07), Oregon State (2008), Syracuse (2008-09) and Alabama (2010-11).
The Nittany Lions return 41 letterwinners and 15 starters for the 2011 season, (7 offense, 7 defense, 1 specialist), as well as 17 players that have starting experience.
Since the start of the 2005 season, Penn State has earned a 58-19 record, with its 75.3 winning percentage among the top 10 percent in the nation. Over the past six years the Nittany Lions have won two Big Ten Championships, won four bowl games and played in five New Year's or Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games, the nation's third-highest total.
Season tickets are available for the 2011 season. The Nittany Lions will face four teams that played in a bowl games last year at home. Among the teams coming to Beaver Stadium this fall are: Alabama (Sept. 10, 3:30 p.m.), Iowa (Oct. 8), Purdue (Oct. 15, 12:00 p.m.), Illinois (Oct. 29) and Nebraska (Nov. 12). All Penn State fans are encouraged to wear white to the Crimson Tide's first visit to Happy Valley since 1989.
For information on joining the Nittany Lion Club and purchasing season tickets, as well as club seating in Beaver Stadium, fans can call 1-800-648-8269 (1-800-NITTANY).