Penn State at Pittsburgh

Saturday, 8 p.m., Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

Records: Penn State, 1-0; Pittsburgh, 1-0.

Coaches: Penn State, James Franklin (fifth season, 37-17); Pittsburgh, Pat Narduzzi (fourth year, 22-17).

TV/Radio: 6ABC; WNTP-AM (990); WNPV-AM (1440)

History: After a 33-14 victory last year at Beaver Stadium, the Nittany Lions hold a 51-43-4 lead in the series.

Three things to watch

– Coaches have this adage that a team improves the most from its first game of the season to its second. Franklin absolutely wants to see that against Pitt. He praised Appalachian State for its performance after last week's narrow, 45-38 overtime escape, but gave a list of complaints about his team's play: missed tackles, blown assignments, poor fundamentals and not playing full-speed from the snap to the whistle. Quarterback Trace McSorley pointed to himself and said he needed to be more precise this week with his execution.

– Two matchups worth paying attention to: Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett against Penn State's front seven, and Nittany Lions receivers against the Panthers secondary. Pickett went 13 for 13 and accounted for three touchdowns (two pass, one run) in the first half of his team's win over Albany, showing he's a proven player who can make an impact with his arm and legs. Pitt's defensive backs are confident and aggressive, and the Lions receivers will have to find ways to get open. Only three wideouts caught passes for the Lions against App State, and DeAndre Thompkins was shut out.

– Special teams were an issue for Penn State last week. App State had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and recovered an onside kick. Pitt's Maurice Ffrench returned the opening kickoff last week for a 91-yard touchdown. But there was an upside for Penn State: K.J. Hamler's 52-yard kickoff return that set up the tying touchdown in overtime, and freshman Jake Pinegar was perfect on seven extra points and a 32-yard field goal.