Penn State vs. Buffalo Prediction, Game Preview

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Penn State tries to pick up the pieces after getting stuffed by Temple 27-10 in the shocking opener. After a rocky week, the Nittany Lions need to come out roaring against a Buffalo team that whacked around Albany 51-14 to start the season. This is the third meeting between the two teams, with Penn State winning in 2007 and Buffalo taking the first showdown 10-0 – in 1900.

Penn State vs. Buffalo Prediction & Preview

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Broadcast

Date: Saturday, September 12
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Network: ESPN2

Why You Need To Care

How was your day last Saturday? It had to be a whole bunch better than Penn State’s afternoon against a Temple defense that stoned Christian Hackenberg and company cold. Temple was always the free space for the Nittany Lions after decades of wins in the series, but a loss to Buffalo would be even worse. Even if they can pull off the win, it had better look fantastic, or else the panic sirens will start blaring before the Big Ten opener against Rutgers.

Buffalo has a nice MAC team with the potential and the talent to be right in the hunt for the title. The offense has playmakers and returning production, and the aggressive defense should be solid in time, but it’s going to have to deal with a jacked up Penn State team that’s going to play with a hint of desperation. A few weeks away from the start of MAC play, the Bulls are coming into Happy Valley playing with house money – or Penn State money. All the pressure is on the other side.

Why Buffalo Will Win

If Buffalo has any sort of a pass rush, it’s time to turn it loose. Only four starters returned on defense, but there’s young talent – by UB standards – that’s athletic and should be able to move around a bit. After allowing ten sacks and coming up with just 77 rushing yards against Temple, the Penn State offensive line has a long way to go before it’s merely average. The Bulls will play around with the alignment, but the new coaching staff likes the 4-3. Here come the ends into the backfield.

Why Penn State Will Win

Completely lost in the gaffe to Temple was the Penn State defense that planted its flag behind the line all game long. The D might have only come up with two sacks, but from all sides it managed to generate 15 tackles for loss while doing a decent job of keeping the ground game to a halt. It was a former coaching staff, and both starting tackles are back, but UB was good last year against strong pass rushers – that’s about to change. UB is going to have a big problem against Carl Nassib and linebacker Brandon Bell.

Player Who Matters

The Penn State run defense might be a brick wall, but Buffalo’s Anthone Taylor is one of the better backs it’ll face all year. The 5-10, 209-pound workhorse followed up a 1,403-yard, 12 touchdown season with a 104-yard, two score opener against Albany. He’s not going to run for 100 yards, but he has to be effective on first downs.

But that’s not why you called.

Yes, the line didn’t get him enough time, but Christian Hackenberg has to get the ball out of his hands faster. If he’s really a star NFL prospect, and he’s really a franchise passer, he has to figure this out, too, along with the coaching staff. 11-of-25 for 103 yards and a pick was not the way the season was supposed to start.

What’s Going To Happen?

It’s not going to be the cathartic moment Penn State fans need, at least offensively, but the defense is going to pick up the slack. Buffalo will score early, but then the O won’t go anywhere.

Penn State vs. Buffalo Score Prediction

Brace yourself, because the Penn State vs. Buffalo prediction is …

Final Score: Penn State 34, Buffalo 10

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