I talked a little bit about the Pitt-Penn State rivalry in the preview on Monday. Despite what some people may say, make no mistake, this is a rivalry game and one that fans on both sides care about.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi talked a little about it during the weekly press conference and there’s no doubt that he feels the same way.
“It’s a big game because it is a rivalry game,” Narduzzi said flatly. “They get to come to Heinz Field. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I think our kids will be excited. I think the city of Pittsburgh will be excited.”
“It’s been a rivalry for a long time.”
Every game means something and is important. The typical spin from coaches is generally that all games are equal or something along those general lines. But Narduzzi realizes some mean a little more and that players don’t treat them all the same.
“You want to teach the kids to get revved up for every game,” he said. “Obviously it’s sometimes hard to get up for Albany. It will be easier to get revved up, but you better play with a little anger I guess for every game, really be cranked up. “
How different will the players be in terms of emotion?
“Hopefully it’s just a few degrees, not like we were 70% last week,” he added. “You hope it’s we were 93% cranked up, maybe we’ll be 100%, 98%, whatever. But it’s a game of emotion. You’ve got to play with it.”
There’s been a lot of back and forth between fanbases and even the coaches, debating the importance of the game. But Narduzzi’s always been pretty clear about it. It’s bigger than the rest for the team.
“Anybody wants to argue and say this is no different than any other week - okay, it is,” Narduzzi said. “That’s a fact. If you want to ignore that, you can ignore it. It’s a big game.”