Penn State pulls away from Buffalo late in 27-14 win

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley rushes in the second half. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Penn State RB Saquon Barkley rushes in the second half. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

It was far from pretty, but the Penn State Nittany Lions’ football team (1-1) came out with their first win of the season against the Buffalo Bulls (1-1) at a wet and sloppy Beaver Stadium on Saturday.

Both offenses looked inept early before DeAndre Thompkins returned a Buffalo punt 58 yards to the Bulls’ 24 yard line. PSU got on the board two plays later on a 22-yard scramble by freshman Brandon Polk.

On Buffalo’s ensuing possession, PSU DE Carl Nassib intercepted a tipped ball that led to a 22-yard field goal for Joey Julius.

Despite taking a 10-0 lead, the first half ended ominously for the Lions, as the game clock expired deep in Buffalo territory after offensive lineman Andrew Nelson was injured, leaving the rest of his season in question.

There were some signs of improvement for the Penn State’s offensive line despite Nelson’s injury–the unit didn’t give up a single sack after allowing ten to the Temple defense last weekend. Of course, the competition will only get tougher for the Lions from here as they kick off their B1G slate next weekend against Rutgers.

Buffalo made things interesting in the third quarter as they scored a touchdown to make the game 10-7, but Penn State scored 17 points on their next three possessions to put the game out of reach. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg notched his first touchdown pass of the season on a 5-yard hook up with DaeSean Hamilton to make the score 20-7, and freshman running back Saquon Barkley added another touchdown to highlight a 12 carry, 115-yard performance.

Coach Franklin and the Lions still have a lot of work to do to return to bowl season this year, but it was nice to see the team overcome some sloppy weather and a little adversity to close out their first win.

Penn State will play at home under the lights against Rutgers next Saturday as they hope to earn their second win. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m.

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