Penn State Football

How Penn State CB John Reid turned Saturday’s win over Buffalo in the Nittany Lions’ favor

Reid’s pick-six shifts momentum

Penn State cornerback John Reid talks about his pick-six and the momentum shift in the third quarter of the game against Buffalo.
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Penn State cornerback John Reid talks about his pick-six and the momentum shift in the third quarter of the game against Buffalo.

Penn State walked into Beaver Stadium Saturday night as heavy favorites over the visiting Buffalo Bulls. Yet, at the half, the Nittany Lions were booed off the field with a three-point deficit to overcome.

Fortunately for the Nittany Lions, redshirt senior cornerback John Reid was ready to turn the momentum early in the third quarter with a timely interception return for a touchdown.

But first, let’s set the stage.

The Nittany Lions came out of the tunnel flat in the first half, with limited offensive output, and only a single touchdown on the board. Even the touchdown was gift-wrapped by the defense after senior linebacker Cam Brown forced and recovered a fumble by Buffalo at the Bulls’ 37-yard-line.

The Penn State defense did its best to keep the Bulls off the board, but exhaustion set in and Buffalo drove 96 yards just before the half to give themselves a 10-7 lead in Beaver Stadium.

The home team didn’t do much to quell the fears of the crowd on its first offensive drive of the second half. Sophomore running back Ricky Slade fumbled to give Buffalo the ball at their own 27 early in the third quarter.

Enter, Reid.

The senior defender lined up across from Buffalo’s junior wide receiver, Antonio Nunn, who ran by Penn State redshirt sophomore cornerback Donovan Johnson to set up the Bulls’ first touchdown of the game.

Reid had his eyes trained on Buffalo redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Myers as soon as the ball was snapped.

Myers took a one-step drop and opened his hips to throw, right as Nunn planted his right foot into the ground to break outside on an out route. Reid followed Nunn, who created enough separation to give Myers a window. However, the Buffalo quarterback threw the pass just behind Nunn, giving Reid just enough space to plant his foot and beat the Buffalo wide receiver to the ball.

Once Reid had the ball in his sights, he was gone. He caught the ball at the Buffalo 37 with Nunn out of position because he was contorting his body in an attempt to make the catch. With only Myers left to beat, Reid raced down the sideline, flying by Myers for the easy touchdown, giving Penn State a 14-10 lead.

Reid and the rest of the Nittany Lions never looked back, beating the Bulls, 45-13.

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Jon Sauber earned his B.A. in digital and print journalism from Penn State and his M.A. in sports journalism from IUPUI. His previous stops include jobs at The Indianapolis Star, the NCAA, and Rivals.