Soggy Valley: Nittany Lions best University of Buffalo 27-14 in home opener

Soggy Valley: Nittany Lions best University of Buffalo 27-14 in home opener

This past Saturday, in a torrential downpour, the Nittany Lions marched down the field to score on three consecutive drives, taking down the Buffalo Bulls, 27-14, in the Lions’ first home game of the season.

No amount of rain could have dampened the spirits of Penn State’s storied student section. Decked out in ponchos of every color, students flocked the south end zone of Beaver Stadium to cheer on the home squad. When asked about game-day conditions one student said, “I am so miserable, but I will stubbornly stay .” That statement sums up the heart and soul of Penn State’s student section. Rain or shine, these students pour their energy into supporting a team they have so much faith behind. To them, a few rain drops and a cloudy day are only more motivation to pull out a win.

The Nittany Lions had a tougher first quarter than expected and the score remained 0-0. Finally, with 06:57 remaining in the first half, true freshman wide receiver Brandon Polk (Ashburn, Va.) had a 22 yard drive to a touchdown, bringing the Lions into the lead at 7-0. Redshirt freshman kicker Joey Julius (Hummelstown, Pa.) converted a 22-yard field goal attempt into three points for the home team, setting up the Lions with a solid 10-0 lead at the half.

At the start of the second half, the Penn State defense couldn’t hold back the Bulls for one play in which the Bulls were able to score one of their only two touchdowns for the day off of an 11-play, 78-yard drive.

Junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg (Palmyra, Va.) had an extremely good day in terms of sinking his pocket passes. This paid off heartily when he threw for seven yards to sophomore wide receiver Chris Godwin (Middletown, Del.) and was able to connect on a 5-yard touchdown pass with redshirt sophomore wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton (Fredericksburg, Va.), bringing the Lions’ score to 20-7.

The final moments of the game were perhaps the most impressive of the day. True freshman running back Saquon Barkley (Coplay, Pa.) had a 9-yard touchdown run to contribute to the final scoring play of the day by the Lions. Barkley has proven that he is a force to be reckoned with despite being a true freshman. His speed and foresight make him one of the squad’s most valuable newcomers this season.

The Bulls were able to find it within themselves to make one final drive into the end zone, but it was not enough to surpass the mighty Lions. The final score at the last whistle was 27-14 on this soggy Saturday in September.

There were many positive takeaways from the game on Saturday. Junior tight-end Paris Palmer (Plymouth, N.C.) as well as the true freshman Saquon Barkley had standout performances that helped secure the season’s first win in Beaver Stadium. In fact, Barkley was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week as of today. Franklin spoke highly of both additions to the team, stating specifically that Barkley’s ability to “make people miss tackles” is “helpful for .” Likewise, Franklin said simply of Palmer: “I think he played pretty well.”

Hackenberg was not sacked a single time on Saturday, and he certainly brought his A-game to the home opener. Hackenberg even ran the ball a few times, although some would argue he needs to work on forward progress, not side-to-side. The defensive line held strong as expected, and the offensive line continues to work on their communication and tactics as Penn State looks to face a formidable Rutgers next week.

Five home games in a row means five weeks of Penn State Pride. Despite the rain, mud, and chilly weather, one thing was made out to be crystal clear: Penn State is here to dominate. Get ready for the Penn State Stripe Out during the primetime game against Rutgers next Saturday at 8 p.m. at Beaver Stadium; it’s sure to be an adrenaline-fueled game thanks to the beginning of a heated rivalry between Rutgers and Penn State last season.

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