Panthers’ ground game, late pick deliver riveting win

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Quadree Henderson celebrates his first-quarter touchdown catch. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

After a performance where the offense fell flat, particularly the group of talented tailbacks running behind a veteran offensive line, Pat Narduzzi had no doubt how Pitt would attack Penn State.

He was clear about that during his press conference two days following the win over Villanova, and he repeated the notion to his players throughout the week.

“Earlier in the week, Coach Narduzzi just said, ‘You know what, if we can run the ball every play, we’re going to,’” tight end Scott Orndoff said.

In a week where Narduzzi didn't say much and his players didn't say anything at all, his firm proclamation of "we are who we are" rang true.

The Panthers utilized a game plan that fit the storied, old-school rivalry: they dug in and ran right at Penn State, gaining 341 yards on the ground, including 117 from James Conner, and Ryan Lewis’ interception in the back of the end zone helped Pitt hold on for a 42-39 win after a furious second-half rally by the Nittany Lions in front of 69, 983 fans Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.