PITTSBURGH — Of course, James Conner likes the Panthers.
The Steelers running back, and former Pitt star, said he thinks his alma mater will prevail in this Saturday’s matchup between Pennsylvania rivals Pitt and Penn State at Beaver Stadium.
“I’m gonna take my Panthers every time,” Conner said Monday. “We got a win last week, so let’s keep it going.”
But unlike years past, Conner isn’t putting any stakes on the game. In 2018, he made — and lost — a wager with the Penn State alumni in the Steelers’ locker room that saw him forced to wear a Penn State hat and jacket in the locker room, much to the pleasure of Nittany Lions alumni such as Marcus Allen and Malik Golden.
This year, Conner is just going to stick to hoping the Panthers get a win, even though he has more support than he has had in previous years. Golden and tight end Jesse James have moved on, while new defensive assistant Teryl Austin is a fellow Pitt alum, joining inside linebackers coach Jerry Olsavsky as Panthers on the Pitt coaching staff. Defensive backs coach Tom Bradley went to Penn State.