The return of Penn State’s series with Pitt is bringing back all sorts of memories for those of us old enough to remember when it was one of the fiercest rivalries in college football. Our Alumni Association colleague Ilene White ’74 dropped by this week with some visual reminders of just how much it mattered.
It was 45 years ago, November 1971, when White and a dozens of other undergrads piled into “70 or 80 cars,” according to Mark Tygel ’71, then-president of Students for State, the booster group that organized the caravan to Pittsburgh. The trip west took much longer back in those days (and included police escorts through some of the towns along Route 22), but that was only more of a chance to show off the blue-and-white spirit the students had added to their cars for the trip. Above, the message to star running back Lydell Mitchell ’72 is clear enough. You can see more by clicking on the thumbnails below.
As for that last one: White says she can’t remember how, but someone managed to get their hands on a hearse—all in keeping with the tone of an intense interstate rivalry. We can’t thank Ilene enough for sharing the photos, and the memories. As for all the Penn Staters making the trip to Heinz Field this weekend, here’s hoping for a similar result: The Nittany Lions beat the Panthers that day at Pitt Stadium, 55-18.
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Those were the days my friends. Had JoePa been successful in putting together an Eastern All-sports Conference, including: Big 4 – Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia and Syracuse, along with Boston College, perhaps we could all still be playing our “natural” rivals. Personally, I miss those rivalries. As a 1971 WVU graduate and 25 year season ticket holder at PSU, I would rather play these teams than some on the schedule.
As we used to say in Morgantown,
“Beat the He’ll out of Pitt!”