Highs and lows from Saturday’s PSU game
STATE COLLEGE – Following are the highlights and lowlights from Penn State’s 45-13 victory over Buffalo on Saturday night at Beaver Stadium:
PLAY OF THE GAME: Nittany Lion cornerback John Reid intercepted Matt Myers and returned it 36 yards for a much-needed touchdown that gave Penn State a 14-10 lead with 12:58 left in the third quarter.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Penn State tight end Pat Freiermuth made eight catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Reid.
MOST TELLING STATISTIC: The Penn State electrical statistical compilation blew a fuse in the second quarter, and stats were being kept by hand. Check back Monday.
HIDDEN STATISTIC: Buffalo dominated time of possession in the first half, keeping it 21:18 to the Lions’ 8:32.
BEST RUN: Sean Clifford faked to Noah Cain and burst 58 yards to the Buffalo 2 in the third quarter, setting up Cain’s touchdown and a 28-13 lead.
BEST PASS: Pick any of Matt Myers’ three on Buffalo’s 96-yard scoring drive that gave the Bulls a 10-7 lead with 11 seconds remaining in the first half ñ the 29-yarder to tight end Zac Lefebvre, the 40-yard dime he dropped into Antonio Nunn to the PSU 6 or the 6-yard TD to Julien Bourassa that beat Garrett Taylor’s safety blitz.
WORST PASS: Myers had Nunn open deep in the third quarter but missed him.
BEST CATCH: Freiermuth pulled in a nifty one-handed reception and rumbled 27 yards for a touchdown that extended the Lions’ lead to 35-13 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.
CATCH IT, WILL YA?: KJ Hamler let some air out of the stadium by dropping a wide open pass in front of the Penn State bench late in the second quarter, which would have been a first down and instead resulted in a punt.
HOLD IT, WON’T YA?: Ricky Slade fumbled away a promising third-quarter drive.
BEST BLOCK: It wasn’t technically a block, but Hamler coyly screened a Buffalo defender, which made it easier for Jahan Dotson to haul in a 28-yard touchdown pass from Clifford that gave the Nittany Lions a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.
BEST TACKLE: Cam Brown forced a fumble from Kevin Marks that Brown recovered, setting up the Lions with a short field, which turned into their first TD.
BEST HIT: Freshman linebacker Brandon Smith had another bone-rattler in the fourth quarter, this time against Ron Cook Jr. (no relation to the Pittsburgh columnist.)
BEST KICK(S): One of Jordan Stout’s kickoffs.
WORST KICK: Blake Gillikin shanked a 26-yard punt in the second quarter.
WORST PENALTY: Leading 7-3 in the second quarter but getting thoroughly outplayed, the Lions had 30-yard reception on a tough catch by Hamler wiped out when guard C.J. Thorpe was called for illegal receiver downfield.
BEST CALL: Buffalo sprung a perfectly executed 19-yard screen pass in the second quarter to the PSU 28, setting up a field goal and helping the Bulls maintain control of the clock.
WORST CALL: Didn’t like Penn State, down 10-7 at halftime, opening the second half with a quarterback draw from its 23-yard line. It gained two yards.
UNSUNG HERO: Dotson caught four passes for 101 yards and two scores.