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

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

Associated Press
Penn State running back Journey Brown (4) tips a punt by Buffalo punter Evan Finegan (40) during the third quarter.
Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford sprints away from Buffalo safety Joey Banks for a long gain during the third quarter. It was among the 28 points the Nittany Lions scored in the quarter to break open a close game.

UNIVERSITY PARK — Sean Clifford turned in an all-around performance in another lopsided win for Penn State.

Clifford threw for 280 yards and four touchdowns and ran 11 times for 51 to lead the No. 15 Nittany Lions back from a halftime deficit to beat Buffalo, 45-13, on Saturday night.

“Sean’s able to make plays with his mind. He’s able to make plays with his arm, and tonight he made plays with his feet as well,” coach James Franklin said.

Clifford, the Lions’ first-year starter, opened the scoring with a 28-yard pass to Jahan Dotson on Penn State’s second drive. He tossed a pair of TDs to tight end Pat Freiermuth in the third quarter after cornerback John Reid’s 37-yard interception return put Penn State up for good.

Noah Cain added a 2-yard TD run to give Penn State’s a 35-13 lead heading into the fourth.

“We weren’t executing in the first half,” Clifford said. “I take the blame for that. We pulled together and talked through some things and got it going in the second.”

The Nittany Lions (2-0) trailed 10-7 at half after the Bulls (1-1) had dominated time of possession to that point.

Quarterback Matt Myers hooked up with tight end Julien Bourassa for a 5-yard score late in the second quarter. Alex McNulty kicked a pair of field goals for the Bulls.

“They played really hard, competed really well for the first 30 minutes,” Buffalo coach Lance Leipold said. “Came out in the second half and, obviously, a big switch in momentum.”

Jaret Patterson led Buffalo (1-1) with 75 yards on 23 carries, and Myers finished 16 for 31 for 236 yards.

Franklin called Reid’s interception the turning point in the game. Players along Penn State’s sideline erupted when the fifth-year senior stepped in front of Antonio Nunn’s route, snagged Myers’ underthrown pass and sprinted untouched down the sideline.

It was the second straight game with an interception for Reid, who is a little more than two years removed from a serious knee injury that cost him all of 2017.

“It was huge,” Clifford said. “For us, on offense, we feed off that energy. The crowd gets back into it.”

Freiermuth, arguably Penn State’s most dangerous red-zone target, finished with eight catches for 99 yards a week after he was knocked out of the game against Idaho with an apparent head injury.

Freiermuth, who led the team with eight touchdown catches last year, missed some practice time this week to heal up.

Penn State will host cross-state rival Pitt next Saturday.

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.