Recap: Buffalo leads at halftime, but Penn State drives to 45-13 win – Hustle Belt

Recap: Buffalo leads at halftime, but Penn State drives to 45-13 win - Hustle Belt
Five Key Takeaways from Penn States Win Against Buffalo
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) – Sean Clifford threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns and No. 15 Penn State overcame a halftime deficit to beat Buffalo 45-13 on Saturday night.

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.

Saturday night was the best game of the collegiate careers of both Mustipher and Hansard, who combined for 7 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, and 2 quarterback hurries. Mustipher is starting to really round into shape at defensive tackle and show why he was a top-100 recruit in the 2018 recruiting cycle. As for Hansard, it is great to not only see him back on the field but also making an impact after suffering a catastrophic leg injury against Mighican State last October.

Penn States second-half surge put away Buffalo, but can the first half be forgotten?

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.

James Franklin and his staff turned things around in big way at halftime. For this, they deserve a ton for this they deserve a ton of credit. A key play in doing this was redshirt senior cornerback John Reids pick-6 on Buffalos opening drive of the second half that gave Penn State a lead they would not relinquish.

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.

Video: Highlights: Third Quarter Powers PSU Past Bulls | Buffalo vs. Penn State | September 7, 2019

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.

The announced crowd was 104,136. The fact that fans booed the Lions as they left the field trailing 10-7 at halftime is a testament to how far the program has come since the sanctions era. For anyone upset about the negative reaction, I’ve said it many times: you know the program is REALLY in trouble when people STOP complaining when they think the team is playing poorly.

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.

Give Buffalo coach Lance Leipold credit for sandbagging it while his team threw only 10 passes in an easy 38-10 season-opening win over Robert Morris. The Bulls obviously put very little on tape for the Lions to scout. Redshirt freshman QB Matt Myers unleashed 31 passes in this one. While he only completed 16, he did generate 245 yards through the air.

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.

Oweh was once a four-star recruit who was wanted by top programs across the country because of his big frame and freakish athleticism, and it has quickly allowed him to be a key part of coordinator Brent Prys group in year two.

Penn State uses big 3rd quarter to pull away from Buffalo

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.

I just felt way more comfortable, Oweh said in an interview with reporters following practice earlier this week. He was responding to a question about how it took to take the field in last weeks big win over Idaho.

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.

The key to consider when evaluating the New Jersey natives potential as it relates to the Lions D is that he isnt even a starter, but instead is an oft-used part of line coach Sean Spencers deep rotation.

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.

Potentially the Nittany Lions’ top remaining target in the Class of 2020, Windsor (Ont.) Holy Names tight end Theo Johnson was back in Happy Valley to check out not only the Nittany Lions but also his older brother Dominic, who is a junior quarterback and wide receiver for the Bulls. Johnson ended up spending most of the game sitting in the first row of the recruits section as Nittany Lions tight end Pat Freiermuth caught eight balls for 99 yards and a pair of scores.

Penn State TE Pat Freiermuth Warming Up for Buffalo Game

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.

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.

Penn State football sees inexperienced offense take an important step in victory over Buffalo

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.

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.

Brown made legal contact on the play as he partially blocked Finnegan’s punt. After minutes down on the field with coaches and trainers, Finnegan left the game on a stretcher where he is expected to move to a local medical facility for treatment.

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