UB Bulls vs. Penn State: The Spectrum's scouting report
The Buffalo football team (1-0) is set to enter Beaver Stadium to face its toughest opponent of the season in Penn State (0-1).
The Spectrum breaks down which team has the edge at each position:
Quarterback: Penn State
Senior quarterback Joe Licata has been a staple for Buffalo’s offense and is entering his senior year with a motive and a deep wide receiving core. But Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg is widely considered one of the best QB’s in the nation for a reason. He is as smart with the ball as Licata, but he is more elusive and has better downfield accuracy.
Running Backs: Buffalo
Penn State’s Akeel Lynch is a versatile threat and coming off of a performance where he averaged nearly eight yards per carry. But Buffalo possesses the best running backs in the Mid-American Conference in Anthone Taylor, who picked up 104 yards and two scores Saturday.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: Buffalo
The Nittany Lions have the best duo in sophomores DaeSean Hamilton and Chris Godwin, but the Bulls have the better overall group of receivers and tight ends. Senior receivers Ron Willoughby, Marcus McGill and Collin Lisa form a great trio - then add sophomore Jacob Martinez, who can create plays after the catch in the slot. The Bulls' tight ends got involved last week too.
Offensive Line: Buffalo
In terms of talent, Penn State’s offensive line is probably better. However, Buffalo’s offensive line is more cohesive and less prone to create problems for Licata. Temple sacked Hackenberg 10 times last week, while the Bulls kept Licata clean from Albany pressure and created holes for Taylor and Johnson.
Defensive Line: Penn State
The Bulls are still in transition on the defensive line, so the edge goes to Penn State. The duo of Anthony Zettel and Austin Johnson will create pressure up the middle against Buffalo’s offensive line, while senior defensive end Carl Nassib will create problems on the outside for the Bulls’ offensive tackles.
Linebackers: Penn State
They don’t call it “Linebacker U” for nothing. The Nittany Lions have a group of linebackers that can both play the run and factor into the pass defense. Even with the injury at the middle linebacker position, the Nittany Lions have several linebackers with experience.
Defensive Backs: Penn State
The Nittany Lions have senior free safety Jordan Lucas and cornerback Trevor Williams, both of which would rank as the Bulls’ No. 1 defensive back.
Special Teams: Buffalo
Martinez showed what he could do last week when he took an 86-yard punt back for a touchdown against the Great Danes. He gives the Bulls the edge, as both teams are relatively young in all areas of special teams.
Penn State head coach James Franklin had success on a Southeastern Conference (SEC) level at Vanderbilt, while Leipold has six national championships to his name on the Division-III level. Both are in new starts with their programs - Leipold’s first year, Franklin’s second - so it’s too early to determine who has the coaching advantage just yet.
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