Big Third Quarter Leads No. 15/14 Penn State Past Buffalo
Penn State scores most points in first two games of the season since 1894
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – No. 15/14 Penn State scored four touchdowns in the third quarter en route to a 45-13 win over Buffalo on Saturday night in Beaver Stadium.
Penn State (2-0) trailed Buffalo (1-1), 10-7 at the half, but cornerback John Reid (Mount Laurel, N.J.) returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown early in the third quarter to swing the momentum in Penn State’s favor. Sean Clifford (Cincinnati, Ohio) added a pair of touchdowns and Noah Cain (Baton Rouge, La.) rushed for one before the frame ended to establish a 35-13 lead.
Clifford finished the game with four touchdown passes, connecting twice each with Jahan Dotson (Nazareth, Pa.) and Pat Freiermuth (Merrimac, Mass).
How It Happened
The Nittany Lions took advantage of a Buffalo fumble for their first score. Linebacker Cam Brown (Burtonsville, Md.) caused and recovered a fumble at the Bulls’ 37 yard line. Two plays later, Clifford found Dotson in the right corner of the end zone for a 28-yard score.
Buffalo got on the board with a field goal early in the second quarter by Alex McNulty. The 32-yard kick concluded a 19-play, 69-yard drive. The drive was the longest in terms of time (8:34) since Texas A&M had an 8:45 field goal drive in the 2007 Alamo Bowl.
On the Bulls’ opening drive of the third quarter, Reid jumped a route along the left sideline and went untouched into the end zone for a 36-yard score, his first career pick-six.
After the Nittany Lions forced a three-and-out, a 22-yard punt return by KJ Hamler (Pontiac, Mich.) and a personal foul penalty setup Penn State at the Bulls’ 23. On the first play of the drive, Clifford connected with Freiermuth for his first score of the quarter.
Following a 25-yard field goal by Buffalo, the Nittany Lions answered with a 2-yard touchdown run by Cain. Cain’s run was setup by a career-long 58-yard rush along the sideline by Clifford.
The next Penn State drive ended with a 28-yard touchdown reception by Freiermuth. On fourth-and-2, Clifford found Freiermuth on a short pass to the left of the line and the sophomore took it up the sideline and into the end zone.
A 45-yard reception by Hamler setup Penn State’s next score, a 32-yard field goal by Jake Pinegar (Ankeny, Iowa), early in the fourth quarter. Later in the frame, Clifford connected by Dotson on a 56-yard touchdown to complete the scoring.
Penn State returns to action next Saturday afternoon, hosting Pittsburgh in Beaver Stadium. Kickoff is slated for noon on ABC. It is the 100th meeting all-time between the squads.