Trailing 10-7 at half, the Nittany Lions (1-0) took the lead for good when John Reid ran back an interception 37 yards for a touchdown early in the third.
It wasn’t always pretty, but Penn State did what it had to do to improve to 2-0 on the young season with a 45-13 win over Buffalo on Saturday evening at Beaver Stadium. The scoreboard may not have told the whole story, however, as the Nittany Lions entered the second half trailing the visiting Bulls 10-7.
POSTGAME PODCAST: What to take away from the Buffalo win
Clifford opened the scoring with a 28-yard pass to Jahan Dotson on Penn State’s second drive of the game. He tossed a pair of TDs to tight end Pat Freiermuth in the third quarter and Noah Cain added a 2-yard TD run to give Penn State a 35-13 lead heading into the fourth.
Sean Fitz and Tyler Donohue are for their second postgame version of the Lions247 Podcast to break down the win over Buffalo and talk about what the Nittany Lions did right, what they did wrong and what they’re going to have to take out of the game.
Jake Pinegar added a 32-yard field goal for the Nittany Lions and Clifford found Dotson again in the fourth. Clifford finished as Penn State’s leading rusher with 11 carries for 49 yards.
Jaret Patterson led Buffalo (1-1) with 75 yards on 23 carries. Matt Myers was 16 for 31 for 236 yards with a touchdown pass to tight end Julien Bourassa late in the second quarter.
Buffalo: The daunting environment didn’t seem to bother the young Bulls. They controlled the pace in the first half, running 46 plays for 27 yards to Penn State’s 20 plays and 82 yards.
The performance of Penn States defensive line on Saturday night was not what has come to be expected from Sean Spencers Wild Dogs. That said, two young defensive tackles flashed throughout the night. They were true sophomore PJ Mustipher and redshirt sophomore Fred Hansard.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions’ strength is their defensive line and Buffalo’s offensive front did a good job neutralizing Yetur Gross-Matos and his teammates for most of the first half. In the meantime, Clifford and his receivers were able to create some chemistry.
Penn State cleaned up its mistakes at halftime, won going away and shouldn’t be penalized for its slow start.
Video: Highlights: Third Quarter Powers PSU Past Bulls | Buffalo vs. Penn State | September 7, 2019
Freshman RB Noah Cain has 3 TDs in first 2 games
Share All sharing options Share All sharing options for: Five Key Takeaways from Penn States Win Against Buffalo Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports The Nittany Lions werent ready for Buffalo: It was pretty evident early on in the game that Penn State was not ready for the Buffalo Bulls. It was surely a first half to forget for the Nittany Lions. That being said, whatever was said at halftime certainly worked as it was all Penn State in the second half.
Penn States young players must keep working on consistency and ability to make quick adjustments
The first half and the eventual second half domination had a very 2016 Penn State feel to it. Were not saying 2019 is going to be like the 2016 season, but you couldve easily put this game into the 2016 season and it wouldve fit right in.
Penn State star sophomore end Jayson Oweh talks year two, his mentality in 2019, and more
Sean Clifford was one of the few players that looked solid throughout the entire game. Clifford looked a lot better against Buffalo than he did against Idaho, showing solid accuracy and touch on his passes while also having good command of the offense. He has to work on a few things, such as leaving the pocket a bit too early, but overall it was a good progression from week one for the signal caller.
Clifford finished with a final line of 17 of 23 for 280 yards and four touchdowns. For the season, hes 30 of 46 for 560 yards and six touchdowns. Hes had a tremendous start to say the least.
Watch: John Reid Grabs Pick-Six to Put Penn State Back on Top 14-10
I am still waiting for someone to give me a solid argument that Freiermuth is not the best tight end in the country. Moose, as we love to call him around here, had a great game with seven receptions on the evening for 83 yards and two touchdowns. Theres no reason that going forward that he shouldnt be one of the Nittany Lions top receiving targets week in and week out.Wide receiver Jahan Dotson also deserves a shoutout for his performance on Saturday. The sophomore out of Nazareth, Pennsylvania had four receptions for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
“He realized as far as he thought he was advanced, he wasnt,” Seider said in June. “Early Im sure there was some tension in our room because Journey and Ricky were looking at him and hes looking at them — theres only one ball. And then its funny how things happen. Week 2, they started embracing him and seeing how he needed help, and he started letting them help him. Week 3, he started to function without help. Week 5, we saw the spring game and what happened versus our No. 1 defense.”
While the passing game was solid for the Nittany Lions, the run game was anything but. The Nittany Lions offense couldnt get anything going on the ground, picking up just 89 yards 22 carries. Clifford led the team in carries and yards with 11 for 49. Ricky Slade struggled in his brief time on the field, putting the ball on the ground twice, including one that was recovered by Buffalo. Journey Brown looked solid, finding a bit of room between the tackles. True freshmen Noah Cain and Devyn Ford had just two carries combined, with Cain taking his single carry into the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown.
Edit Slot to 247Sports Home Slot to Penn State Nittany Lions Newsletter Slot to Penn State Links Penn State football freshman Noah Cain announced himself as an important Nittany Lions newcomer in the season opener. A blue-chip signee in the 2019 recruiting class, he rushed for two touchdowns during a 79-7 win over Idaho, and just added another rushing score to expand Penn States lead over the Buffalo Bulls.
Both the offensive and defensive line struggled mightily against Buffalo, which is quite concerning. The offensive line looked good for the most part against the Idaho Vandals in week one but had some struggles then as well. Against Buffalo, the Nittany Lions struggled to run the ball outside of a 58-yard run by Clifford. Clifford aso had to avoid pressure from the Bulls on a number of occasions.
The defensive lines struggles were a bit shocking as well. While the Bulls had an experienced offensive line, the defensive line couldnt get anything going, barely getting pressure on Buffalo quarterback Matt Myers. The defensive line also struggled to get to Buffalo ball carriers behind the line. There were a few players who looked good on the line in the game, however, including defensive tackles Damion Barber and PJ Mustipher.
RECAP: Penn State 45, Buffalo 13.
We have a bonus takeaway here and its probably cheating, but in the end it appears Penn State is not as good as its 79-7 demolition of Idaho shows and not as bad as it looked at times against Buffalo. There are certainly things to clean up before they start Big Ten play but at this point theres no reason to believe they couldnt compete for the Big Ten East this season. Right now, it seems Ohio State is well above everyone else, but the rest of the East certainly shouldnt scare Penn State. Saturday served as a test for a rather young and inexperienced Penn State team. The Nittany Lions will face their fair share of adversity down the road, and getting their first taste of it out of the way early and responding the way they did after halftime is a good sign for this 2019 Penn State team.