No. 13 Penn State will take on intrastate rival Pittsburgh for the 100th time at Beaver Stadium Saturday afternoon in front of a national TV audience. It’s the final game of a four-game series that began in 2016, and there are legitimate fears that the historic, 126-year rivalry won’t continue after this weekend.
Unfortunately for Pitt fans, a Penn State legend will be in the booth calling the game for ABC.
Analyst Todd Blackledge, a former Penn State quarterback who started for the Nittany Lions from 1981 to 1983, ended up with a rare pairing alongside play-by-play announcer Chris Fowler. Blackledge not only led Penn State to a national championship in 1982, he was also under center when the Nittany Lions overcame a 14-0 deficit in 1981 against No. 1 Pitt to upset the Panthers, 48-14. The opposing quarterback for Pitt? Hall of Famer Dan Marino. (Fun fact: Blackledge was selected No. 7 overall in the 1983 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs, 20 spots before the Miami Dolphins drafted Marino)
Blackledge lamented what appears to be the end of a historic rivalry to my colleague Joe Juliano.
“I’ve heard the arguments and I know the arguments and I understand the economics, but I still think it’s a game that, in its heyday, was as good as any rivalry game out there and I just think games like that are unique,” Blackledge said.
Blackledge calling the historic game is a quirk of scheduling luck. Normally, Fowler works games opposite former Monday Night Football announcer Sean McDonough. But McDonough, a Syracuse graduate, was given the school’s top alumni award Friday night and will instead be in the booth at the Carrier Dome when the Orange take on No. 1 Clemson Saturday night.
Here’s everything you need to know to watch and stream Penn State’s game:
When: Saturday, Sept. 14
Where: Beaver Stadium, University Park
Time: Noon kickoff
TV: ABC (Chris Fowler, Todd Blackledge, Holly Rowe)
Radio: 1210 WPHT via the Penn State Sports Network (Steve Jones, Jack Ham)
Streaming: ABC app, ESPN app (require cable authentication), fuboTV, Playstation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Sling TV (all require a subscription)
Streaming Note: BTN2GO has been discontinued, and the game is not available on BTN+
ESPN’s College GameDay will air from 9 a.m. to noon, and expect at least some discussion about the Penn State-Pitt rivalry from hosts Rece Davis, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard, and Lee Corso. The match-up is also the network’s ESPN College Football 150 showcase game (celebrating 150 years of college football), meaning fans of both schools will be treated to a decent amount of historical footage throughout the game.