Penn State vs. Buffalo Prediction Roundtable


The Penn State Nittany Lions limp home this week to start a five-game series in front of the home crowd at Beaver Stadium. After a shocking loss at Temple last week, the Nittany Lions welcome the Buffalo Bulls in what has quickly become a must-win game.

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It’s fair to say that few, outside of ESPN’s Todd McShay, felt that the Nittany Lions would leave Philadelphia with a loss. In fact, the entire VBR staff predicted a fairly easy victory. Now that the shock of that first loss is over, it’s time to move forward and think about the upcoming game.

Read on to see how the staff thinks things will go this week.

Lead Editor Barry Leonard Jr. 

Okay, so my prediction of a 35-10 Penn State victory last week was completely wrong. However, just like the team, I have to pick myself up and try to rebound this week. Penn State’s performance last week makes me a bit nervous about my prediction this week, but I’m not quite ready to go into complete panic mode yet.

The season is young, and the talent on the team is undeniable. However, the offense looked in complete disarray last week and if there’s no improvement, especially up front, this is going to be a long season.

As for the matchup with the Bulls, I’m not sure I agree with the 20-point line that Vegas is predicting, but I am confident the Nittany Lions will pull out a victory. I look for Christian Hackenberg to want to redeem himself in a big way. I also feel the offensive line will use every means necessary to keep their quarterback off the turf.

Buffalo brings a potent offense into this game, something that could be a challenge to a banged up Penn State defense. I do expect the Bulls, led by quarterback Joey Licata, to put up some points. However, the home crowd will be too much to deal with.

Look for Penn State to bounce back and take this one by a score of 34-24.

Staff Writer Shane Lunnen

Penn State is hoping to erase the bad taste of the Temple loss this week versus Buffalo.  Literally, the team buried the game film, but I really hope they at least watched it to correct their mistakes.  Buffalo is coming off a 51-14 rout of Albany last week.  The Bulls return a fairly potent offense this year and Penn State must sustain drives on offense this week in order to keep the defense rested.

Buffalo’s defense doesn’t appear very good on paper, but I’m sure they have studied the Temple film and will try to attack the Penn State offensive line.   I hope offensive coordinator John Donovan actually has more than five plays in his arsenal this week and tries to get the run game going with Akeel Lynch.  This will take pressure off Christian Hackenberg and hopefully open up some play-action passes.  I’m looking for Lynch to be the workhorse in this game and score a pair of touchdowns.

As long as the defense gets enough time to rest, I think they will be fine in this one.  The key will be how the defense adjusts to Gary Wooten at middle linebacker in place of the injured Wartman-White.  The defense tallied 15 tackles for loss against Temple and they will look to continue that pace against the Bulls.  Forcing a few turnovers wouldn’t hurt either.  The most impressive part of the team last week was the special teams so a touchdown return on a punt or kickoff would help a struggling offense.

Even with a win, Penn State still won’t shake off the feeling of unease with its offense.  Their chance to really get back on track will be against Rutgers the following week.

The Lions prevail in this one, 27-13.

Staff Writer Nick Lemon

No matter how deep the Nittany Lions dug to bury the Temple game tape and their dreadful offensive effort, the fact is in Penn State’s last ten games the offense has failed to score more than 24 points in regulation. Penn State’s season is going to hinge on John Donovan’s ability to unearth an offensive scheme and in-game adjustments that put the offense in a position to succeed.

The Buffalo Bulls enter Beaver Stadium led by former Division III coaching icon, Lance Leipold.  Leipold won six national championships and went a staggering 109-6 in eight seasons at powerhouse Wisconsin-Whitewater. Certainly cause for concern among Penn State fans.

Buffalo returns only four starters on defense and I expect Penn State to show some semblance of a passing attack, thanks to an emphasis on moving the pocket and Hackenberg getting the ball out of his hand quicker. This week, the talented receivers and tight ends will be given a chance to make plays downfield and Lynch gets enough carries to surpass 100 yards. Penn State’s evolving linebacking corps will experience some growing pains adjusting to their new roles; however, the Nittany Lion defense will eventually overpower Buffalo’s experienced offense.

Penn State won’t have to break out the shovel again this weekend; however, the offense will still be left digging for some answers. Penn State 27-13

Staff Writer Mary Leap

This weekend is a game Penn State really has no business losing. Buffalo is one of the poorest programs in the MAC and their talent level is much lower than Penn State’s. The Bulls have a solid running back in Anthone Taylor and like to use their tight ends in the passing game. These are two things that will test Bob Shoop’s defense, especially without Nyeem Wartman-White in the middle. Penn State’s linebackers must play better on Saturday than they did after the Wartman-White injury against Temple.

This is stating the obvious, but Penn State’s offense must be much better this weekend. Buffalo had a bad defense last year, and now they have to replace players on the defensive line and in the secondary this season. Even with the short comings of the Nittany Lions offensive line, and offensive coaching, there is no reason they should not be able to oppose their will on the Bulls this weekend. James Franklin said he would like to run the ball more on Saturday and I believe we will see that. Akeel Lynch is a player I believe will have a big game on Saturday. I am also cautious optimistic that Christian Hackenberg will not be a human pinata on Saturday, giving him time to make proper reads and throws and gain some confidence back.

Penn State 30, Buffalo 7

Staff Writer Ryan Lance
Well, the season didn’t start out as well as we had all hoped, but the Nittany Lions head home to Beaver Stadium for the first this season to face a Buffalo team that defeated Albany 51-14. The Nittany Lions offensive woes continued a week ago as they scored 10 points and only accumulated 183 yards of total offense. After getting out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter the offense was shut down and only gained 31 yards on 8 possessions in the second half.

There are a number of issues that all factor into their poor performance – the offensive line, Christian Hackenberg not moving the pocket and the offensive play calling. In order for the Nittany Lions to get better, they must improve in all three of these phases. Coach Franklin has told us what we want to hear time and time again but its now time for him and his staff to prove they are capable of implementing new schemes and making the right adjustments.

Although the defense struggled at times last week, I think the big injuries at linebacker were the primary issue. I expect the unit to get back on track this weekend and cause some havoc for the visiting Bulls. Until the offense can show improvements, its hard for me to think the Lions can cover the -21 point spread.

I expect the Nittany Lions to right the ship this week as they look to get into Big Ten play next weekend. I’ll take the Nittany Lions 24-14.