Buffalo: Game Breakdown

The good, the bad and the ugly from Penn State's win over Buffalo at Beaver Stadium Saturday. Which running back turned it on for the Lions? Who looked strong coming out of the doghouse? What was up with the secondary? Read on as we tackle these topics and more.

Penn State topped Buffalo 45-24 at Beaver Stadium Saturday, a relatively easy win but one that revealed just enough flaws to prevent the 3-0 Nittany Lions from being overconfident heading into a showdown with Michigan in Ann Arbor next week.

Read on for the good, the bad and the ugly from Saturday's action.

MAN OF THE HOUR: Rodney Kinlaw took over at running back when starter Austin Scott came down with a case of butterfingers. The fifth-year senior responded with the first 100-yard rushing game of his career (129 with a TD) and also caught one pass for 18 yards.

CLOSE SECOND: Fresh out of the doghouse, tight end Andrew Quarless saw his first action of the season in the second quarter. He finished with two catches for 25 yards, with both grabs going for touchdowns.

TURNING POINT: Safety Anthony Scirrotto grabbed a fumble out of midair and returned it to the Buffalo 18-yard line late in the second quarter. It led to an Anthony Morelli TD pass to Jordan Norwood that gave the Lions a 17-3 lead and control of the game for good.

SOLID STRATEGY: Though Morelli had a career-high four TD passes, Penn State controlled the second half by feeding Kinlaw.

NUMBERS GAME: Buffalo had more total yards (395) than Penn State (393). Wonder if the PSU defense has been reading its own press clippings.

BUSINESS AS USUAL: Though the defense was lackluster at points, linebackers Dan Connor and Sean Lee were not to blame. They had a dozen tackles each.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: A.J. Wallace continues to impress on kickoff returns, taking two back for a total of 77 yards vs. Buffalo. It is only a matter of time until he breaks one big.

WHAT'S UP WITH: The entire PSU secondary looking sluggish in the second half? Even standout cover corner Justin King was beaten for a TD on a halfback option pass.

HEADS-UP: Scirrotto snagged the ball when Tony Davis stripped Brett Hamlin late in the second quarter. Had he not brushed the sideline near the 18-yard line, Scirrotto would have scored. He sure has a knack for being in the right place at the right time, though. Later, Scirrotto picked off a pass off a deflection.

HEADS-UP 2: On his TD catch, Norwood somehow tipped an alley-oop pass from Morelli to himself. He made the tip while high in the air with a defender, and then made the catch while prone on the ground.

HIT SQUAD: It was not a big hit, but Davis' strip on the aforementioned turnover was textbook.

TOUGH GUY: Diminutive PSU kicker Kevin Kelly isn't afraid to mix it up. On Skylar Hagg's 52-yard fourth-quarter kickoff return, Kelly made the TD-saving tackle by dragging Hagg down from behind.

HIDDEN HERO: Mark Rubin stepped in for a bumped up Davis in the second half and did well. He had three tackles, including one in the backfield.

LOST IN THE SHUFFLE: Deon Butler caught five passes for 72 yards. He now has 94 career receptions, tied with Joe Jurevicius for eighth on PSU's career list.

YOUTH MOVEMENT: Veteran backup Mike Lucian started at right guard, in place of the injured John Shaw (knee). True freshman Stefen Wisniewski rotated in to the position in the second quarter. Wisniewski is the first PSU true frosh to burn his redshirt. Lucian played in the third quarter and Wisniewski was back in the fourth.


• The grumbling from the crowd when PSU trailed 3-0 heading into the second quarter.

• Defensive tackle Tom McEowen saw his first action of the season late in the game. McEowen sustained an ACL injury in January and is just now rounding back into top form.

• Backup left guard Lou Eliades dressed this week after missing the Notre Dame game with a concussion. He played on special teams and late in the game.

• Converted wideout Brendan Perretta struggled in his duties as second-team cornerback behind King. DB does not seem like a natural position for the senior.

• Rookie DL Devon Still, who tore an ACL in the preseason, was not on crutches for this game and was no longer wearing the heavy brace he had on the previous two games.

UNANSWERED QUESTION: Can the Lions break Michigan's spell next week?


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