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John Reid’s Third Quarter Pick Six Turns Tide Of Buffalo Game

Fifth-year senior John Reid had never returned an interception for a touchdown as a Penn State football player before tonight. He couldn’t have picked a better time for his first collegiate pick-six.

Buffalo had all the momentum in the world after a promising Penn State drive came to a screeching halt because of a Ricky Slade fumble. The Bulls didn’t have the best field position, but they did have an opportunity to strengthen their grip on a game that they were leading at halftime — until Reid snatched it away.

Reid intercepted Matt Myers’ third-down pass and took it all the way back to the crib. The Nittany Lions took a lead they wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the game en route to a 45-13 victory.

“They ran a similar route earlier in the game,” the cornerback said postgame. “I broke on it a little too late. I tried to get the strip when I got the same look earlier, and I knew they were going to come back to it again — especially because it was a 3rd-and-medium situation.”

The fact that Reid’s first career pick-six came against Buffalo is poetic in a sense. He made his Beaver Stadium debut against the Bulls in 2015 — a game that ended in a 27-14 victory for Penn State despite some early struggles by the Christian Hackenberg-led Nittany Lions. Before tonight’s contest, Reid racked up six career interceptions, including one against Idaho last week, but he never managed to bring one all the way home for six points.

A pick-six ranks right up there with a kick/punt return touchdown or a scoop-and-score as the most energizing plays in football. Reid’s big moment was no exception — especially considering the fact that it happened at a time when Penn State was struggling to get anything going.

“It was a huge play from a momentum perspective,” head coach James Franklin said postgame. “He’s a guy that everybody respects based on just how he goes about his business all the time and in every aspect of his life. The sideline reacts to him because they feel so strongly about him, but I also think it was a huge play. It got the fans going and our sideline going — I couldn’t be happier for John.”

Reid obviously has lots of skill and a high football IQ, but Franklin alluded to some of the adversity he’s faced throughout his college career earlier in his postgame press conference. The cornerback missed the entire 2017 season due to a knee injury suffered in spring practice, and he shined in his return to action the following year.

John Reid during his Beaver Stadium debut against Buffalo in 2015. (Photo: Dana Lipshutz | Onward State)

As one of few veterans on the Nittany Lions, Reid being elected as one of the team’s eight captains didn’t come as too much of a surprise. Franklin alluded to the respect that Reid’s earned from his teammates during his time as a Nittany Lion, and the corner himself shared some of the reasons why he believes his teammates feel that way.

Despite being one of the elder statesmen in Penn State’s lineup, Reid said still values the input of younger players. Last year, he would ask freshmen what they thought of particular plays so he can potentially learn and grow from their insight.

Reid and the Nittany Lions will continue their 2019 season against Pitt at noon Saturday back at Beaver Stadium.

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About the Author

Mikey Mandarino

In the most upsetting turn of events, Mikey graduated from Penn State with a digital & print journalism degree in the spring of 2020. He covered Penn State football and served as an editor for Onward State from 2018 until his graduation. Mikey is from Bedminster, New Jersey, so naturally, he spends lots of time yelling about all the best things his home state has to offer. Mikey also loves to play golf, but he sucks at it because golf is really hard. If you, for some reason, feel compelled to see what Mikey has to say on the internet, follow him on Twitter @Mikey_Mandarino. You can also get in touch with Mikey via his big-boy email address: [email protected]

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