No. 15 Penn State looks to keep rolling against Buffalo |
Penn State

No. 15 Penn State looks to keep rolling against Buffalo

Associated Press
Penn State running back Devyn Ford sprints past Idaho defensive back Christian Nash on his way to score a second-quarter touchdown Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019.

UNIVERSITY PARK — When Buffalo coach Lance Leipold looks at Penn State’s roster, he sees a team that can attack in waves with few weaknesses.

At least none jumped out when he watched No. 15 Penn State (1-0) rout Idaho, 79-7, last week.

“They just kept rolling in more guys with different numbers and continued having success,” Leipold said. “That’s probably one of the bigger differences from the last time we went there.”

Penn State coach James Franklin calls it his deepest roster. Nine players had a hand in at least one touchdown.

The Bulls, who won 10 games and played in the MAC championship a year ago, will offer a stiffer test on Saturday. But Franklin isn’t going to let up if he gets another chance to play deep into his roster.

“I know there’s a lot of different discussions about scoring and these types of games and things like that, but it’s my belief that you get the backups in the game and you allow them to play,” Franklin said. “I think they deserve that opportunity.”

Five Penn State running backs — Ricky Slade, Journey Brown, Noah Cain, Nick Eury and Devyn Ford — scored touchdowns last week.

While Franklin likes to lean on at least two ball carriers throughout a season, having five capable players is a luxury.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of that before, five running backs, five separate running backs all scoring a touchdown,” Franklin said. “So at this point, I think it’s working extremely well, but obviously it’s very early in the season.”

Penn State’s ground-and-pound produced 331 rushing yards against Idaho, its most since it racked up 387 in the Big Ten opener at Illinois last year.

Franklin attributes most of those yards to the physical play of the offensive line. New starting right guard C.J. Thorpe (Central Catholic) helped set the tone with a handful of pancake and second-level blocks.

Thorpe was an agitator throughout camp, and his edgy style translated well in Week 1.

“Our defense could not stand C.J. It was like fights in practice every single day,” Franklin said. “During the game when they’re all standing on the sideline watching CJ do those same things to the opponent, they love it. We need that mentality, a gentleman and scholar off the field and a guy on the field, when the ball’s snapped until the whistle blows, that’s going to pay with an edge.”

The Bulls only threw 10 passes in their 38-10 win against Robert Morris last week. Leipold envisions a heavier workload for quarterback Matt Meyers in Beaver Stadium.

Buffalo’s passing offense is still a work in progress as Meyers makes just his second career start. The Bulls’ top returning receiver caught just 12 balls last season.

Hoping to counteract the inexperience, Leipold said he and Meyers focused on fine-tuning sideline relays in preparation for the noise. The Bulls had seven false start penalties when they played in the 107,000-seat stadium in 2015.

“It will be challenging in that environment,” Leipold said. “We think some of the ways we can signal and communicate should also help maybe take some of that away.”

Categories: Sports | Penn State
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.