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Nittany Lions, Panthers extend future series

December 8, 2012
By Philip Cmor ( , The Altoona Mirror

The dormant on-field rivalry between the Penn State and Pitt football teams hasn't resumed yet, but it's already been extended.

The schools have added meetings in 2018 and 2019, it was announced Friday morning, meaning it will be a four-game series when the Nittany Lions and Panthers get together again beginning in 2016.

Penn State coach Bill O'Brien has spoken out in favor of reviving the series - the teams have not faced each other in a dozen years - and was happy with the extension.

"We are thrilled to have the University of Pittsburgh back on the schedule for several consecutive years," O'Brien said. "Regional rivalries in college football are special. I have been involved in a few as a coach. Penn State versus Pitt is a rivalry rich with history and tradition. We have a great deal of respect for Paul Chryst and the Pitt Panther football program and we are looking forward to competing against them on the gridiron."

The additional games will be played on Sept. 8, 2018 at Heinz Field and Sept. 14, 2019 at Beaver Stadium. The schools announced in June 2011 that they would hold a two-game series, the first game coming on Sept. 10, 2016 in Pittsburgh.

"It would be hard to find a college football fan anywhere who is not excited about this announcement," Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson said. "As one of the greatest rivalries in college football history, a further extension of the Pitt-Penn State series is special. I am very appreciative of [Penn State AD] Dave Joyner's interest in getting this done and I have really enjoyed our conversations on this and other matters. This is a great day for the players, for the fans and for the entire state."

The Lions and Panthers last squared off in 2000, with Pitt coming away with a 12-0 win. The series began in 1893, with Penn State leading all-time, 50-42-4, although the NCAA forced the Lions to vacate wins in 1998 and 1999 in their recent sanctions.

"We are excited to extend our upcoming series with Pitt to four consecutive years," Joyner stated. "The Penn State-Pitt game was a premier rivalry that was anticipated by college football fans across Pennsylvania and the nation. There are more than 50,000 Penn State alumni and fans in Western Pennsylvania and we look forward to playing in their backyard."

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