You kind of knew this afternoon's game between Buffalo and Penn State was going to be an ugly one when it started raining four hours before kickoff and never let up. The constant rain and soggy conditions dampened down the offenses in a 27-14 Penn State win that was in doubt into the fourth quarter before a few big runs from Saquon Barkley set up the Nittany Lions' second touchdown with 12 minutes to play.
The story of this one is simple: the Bulls killed themselves with penalties, including seven false starts and three chop blocks, totaling 15 for 118 yards. On offense, Buffalo was pushed by flags back into obvious passing situations, leaving Penn State's defensive line (which tallied 15 TFLs against Temple) to pin their ears back and swarm Joe Licata. On defense, the Nittany Lions offense was barely more effective than last week, but five yards here and there helped the hosts move down the field until they were able to take control in the fourth.
Between the rain, the penalties, and Penn State's defensive line, Licata finished with 205 yards (most in the fourth quarter) and two touchdowns, while Anthone Taylor rushed for 93 yards on 18 carries.
Buffalo fans should be plenty pleased with that defense today, even if Penn State proves all season to have a terrible offense and/or piled it on in the fourth quarter. UB couldn't generate a sack after Temple found ten last week, but the Nittany Lions' ten point halftime lead was built on three big plays: A long punt return and subsequent 22-yard rushing touchdown, and an interception of Joe Licata on a predictable third-and-long.
UB was able to cut the lead to 10-7 on their second drive after halftime, limiting the penalties and finally finding some effective passing. Joe Licata on a bootleg converted a fourth down on a pass to Marcus McGill, and moments later threaded the needle to Ron Willoughby. The Bulls defense then kept it a one-possession game overcoming a few penalties to limit PSU to a field goal, and Buffalo trailed only 13-7 heading into the fourth quarter before losing their handle on the game.
After a pair of games with huge talent disparities, UB will stay on the road next week, traveling to Florida for an intriguing matchup against Florida Atlantic, who's gotten in a shootout with Tulsa and lost by 24 after hanging for a stretch with Miami. In both games they've given up 40+ points.