While at times it was not evident in Happy Valley on Saturday due to the dormant Nittany Lion crowd, a football game did take place between the 12th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions and the Buffalo Bulls.
The performances of the players on the field resembled that of the student section in the stands as they did not play to their true potential, especially on the defensive side of the ball. After allowing zero tuchdowns and six total offensive points in their first two games, the Lions allowed a whopping 21 points to the lowly Bulls. Highlighting the defense's troubles was the secondary's inability to stop the Buffalo passing attack. While safety Anthony Scirotto recorded two interceptions, the unit as a whole, allowing 321 total passing yards to the Drew Willy led attack.
The game started off slowly for Penn State, as then starting runningback Austin Scott lost two fumbles in the first quarter. Buffalo took advantage of the second turnover, converting on a short field goal after recovering the fumble on Penn State's eight yardline.
Joe Paterno had no interest in letting Austin Scott fix his mistakes, and thus replaced the starter with fellow senior runningback Rodney Kinlaw. This decision was perhaps the deciding factor in the Nittany Lion's victory. Immediately upon his first carry, Rodney Kinlaw's presence provided a catalyst to Penn State's attack. Rushing for 130 yards on 25 carries, the senior pumped life into the team and the crowd alike. As Kinlaw continued to contribute solid yardage, the surrounding offense began to return to form, including quarterback Anthony Morelli.
While Morelli's performance was rather uninspiring in the first quarter, he grew stronger and stronger as the game progressed in what developed into a nice bounce-back game from a disappointed showing against the Irish. Morelli completed 20 of 27 passes for 209 yards and four touchdowns. He distributed the ball well, hitting seven different receivers, and three for touchdowns. Jordan Norwood caught four balls for 39 yards and one spectacular one-handed touchdown. Tight End Andrew Quarless returned from a two game suspension acquired for an underage citation with two touchdwon passes.
While the victory was not as convincing as some had hoped, the Nittany Lions recovered from its soft first quarter en route to a 45-24 victory. Penn State enters next week's matchup with Michigan at a perfect 3-0 mark. Expect the Nittany Lion defense to return to form next week, as they will be much more enthused traveling to Ann Arbor then hosting the lowly Bulls.