PITTSBURGH — Trace McSorley and redshirt freshman wide receiver KJ Hamler combined for four scores Saturday night at Heinz Field as Penn State beat Pitt in the 99th playing of the historic rivalry, 51-6.
The 45-point margin of victory is the largest for Penn State over Pitt since 1968 and the third-largest in the history of the rivalry.
Hamler scored on the first drive on the game, taking a jet sweep around the left side for 32 yards, and the Lions never trailed on the way to a big victory.
The Panthers closed with a 13-yard score by Qadree Ollison, but a dropped hold on the extra point by backup holder Kirk Christodoulou kept the Panthers from tying the game.
Late in the first half, Christodoulou dropped the snap on a punt, setting up the Nittany Lions in good field position and McSorley found Hamlin for a 14-yard strike in the middle of Pitt’s defense.
In the second half, it was all Lions. McSorley scored on a four-yard keeper in the third quarter, and then Pitt started to come unraveled.
The Panthers committed a total of 14 penalties for 116 yards, one of which was left tackle Stefano Millin getting flagged for holding in his own end zone, giving the Lions two points.
Later in the quarter, it was another special teams error, as the DeAndre Thompkins returned Christodoulou’s punt 39 yards for a touchdown.
Pitt was never able to get its passing offense going. Quarterback Kenny Pickett finished with 55 yards passing on 9 of 18. Ollison was Pitt’s lone offensive bright spot, going for 119 yards on 21 carries to go along with his touchdown.
McSorley added another touchdown pass in the fourth quarter and Penn State’s backups tacked on two more scores.
Pitt will host Georgia Tech next Saturday.