Morelli Throws 4 TD In PSU's 45-24 Win

Saturday, September 15th 2007, 3:43 pm
By: News On 6

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) _ After a sluggish start, a couple lucky bounces propelled No. 12 Penn State to another win.

Anthony Morelli threw for 202 yards and a career-high four touchdowns _ two to Andrew Quarless _ and Rodney Kinlaw ran for 129 yards and a score as the Nittany Lions defeated Buffalo 45-24 on Saturday.

Penn State (3-0) scored its third straight double-digit victory, though this one was far from easy.

Fumbles by Austin Scott derailed two early Penn State drives, one on his own 8 that set up a Buffalo field goal to give the Bulls a 3-0 lead. The score would stick much of the first half, quieting the sea of blue and white-clad fans.

With the defense holding firm, a 17-point spurt the last 6:29 of the first half finally allowed the Penn State faithful to breathe easy.

After Kevin Kelly's 27-yard field goal, Quarless' leaping catch in the end zone on a 21-yard pass from Morelli gave Penn State a 10-3 lead.

Then the breaks started going the Nittany Lions' way.

On Buffalo's first play after Quarless' catch, Penn State's Tony Davis leveled Brett Hamlin on a short pass play. The ball flew out of Hamlin's hands at the Buffalo 28, and was grabbed in the air by safety Anthony Scirrotto, who returned it 10 yards.

Four plays later on the Buffalo 5, Morelli threw high over the middle into the end zone. The Bulls' Mike Newton jumped trying to make an interception over Norwood but was inadvertently hit by teammate Jerry Housey, and the ball slipped off his hands.

Norwood, now on his back in the end zone, reached out with his right arm and tucked the ball to his body just before it hit the ground to give Penn State a 17-3 lead.

After a replay review, officials confirmed the touchdown, angering Buffalo coach Turner Gill.

It wasn't an entirely lost afternoon for the Bulls (1-2). Quarterback Drew Willy was 28-of-39 passing for one score and a career-high 330 yards in directing a passing attack that moved the ball with ease in the second half.

James Starks' 5-yard scoring run with 11:55 in the fourth quarter was the first touchdown allowed this season by the Penn State defense. Starks finished with 18 carries for 41 yards.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Buffalo even fooled the Nittany Lions on a halfback toss. Running back Mario Henry's 9-yard TD throw to Ernest Jackson narrowed the deficit to 38-17.

Morelli finished 20-of-27 passing. Scirrotto also had an interception for Penn State after snagging a ball that deflected off the hands of Buffalo receiver Ernest Jackson.

Penn State's offense sputtered early. On one of Scott's fumbles, the ball appeared to slip out of his hands in the backfield without a defender nearby. Adekunle Akingba recovered on the Penn State 8. The Nittany Lions' stiffened, holding Buffalo to A.J. Principe's 19-yard field goal.

Kinlaw helped settle down the offense. A backup throughout his career, the senior replaced Scott at tailback, slipping and slashing to a career-high rushing total.

Scott returned from the bench to spell Kinlaw in the second half, finishing with 53 yards and a touchdown on nine carries.