Ki-Jana Carter never played Pittsburgh in his prime. But the legendary Nittany Lion doesn’t want to see future Penn State players be deprived of the opportunity.
Carter was in town Tuesday prior to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. When asked about the rivalry that is being put on hold beyond 2019, the former Heisman Trophy runner-up called for it to be renewed.
“I mean, I’m from Ohio, but I know that Pitt and Penn State rivalry,” Carter said. “I think it’d be good for the state to have that game again. ... I hope they (renew) it.”
Carter, who amassed 2,565 yards and 30 touchdowns as a focal point of Penn State’s offense in 1993 and 1994, was on the team in 1992 when the Nittany Lions thrashed Pitt 57-13. But he was a reserve running back, hardly a factor on Penn State’s fledgling 7-5 squad. And of course, when Carter became Penn State’s workhorse back in ‘93, the series between the Nittany Lions and Panthers began a four-year hiatus, lasting until 1996.
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The rivalry came back in 1997, lasted until 2000 and returned in 2016 for another four-year, home-and-home stint. Beyond that, the future of Penn State-Pitt is cloudy at best. An extension of the storied series might be revisited at some point after 2030, Nittany Lions athletic director Sandy Barbour said in May.
In the meantime, those Penn State and Pitt fans who still enjoy the rivalry have a couple more years to bask in it.
Count Carter in that category. The consensus All-American, who now lives in Florida, will be in attendance when James Franklin and Pat Narduzzi’s squads play under the lights at Heinz Field.
“Obviously, we don’t play each other that much, and we haven’t,” Carter said. “But I think it’d be good for the state to have that game again.”