UB football dominated by Northern Illinois 44-7
Tyree Jackson tosses four interceptions as Buffalo’s losing streak continues
Northern Illinois came out fast Saturday as senior receiver Aregeros Turner took the opening kickoff 97 yards to the house, virtually untouched.
The Buffalo Bulls (1-6, 0-3 Mid-American Conference) looked outmatched Saturday as they were dominated by the Northern Illinois Huskies (2-6, 2-2 MAC), 44-7 at Huskie Stadium. The Huskies were led by senior quarterback Anthony Maddie who led the team in both rushing and passing. He finished 16-of-29 for 199 yards and a score through the air. He also had 125 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Bulls freshman quarterback Tyree Jackson threw four interceptions in the game, two of them intercepted by junior cornerback Mayomi Olootu Jr.
“Everything you don’t want, you go on the road and you win the toss to defer,” said Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold. “And think everything kind of plays itself out, feel each other out a little bit and boom they return the kickoff. So we gave them every kind of spark they had been looking for.”
After scoring on the opening play of the game, Northern Illinois never looked back as they led the game the whole way though. Buffalo’s front seven has struggled heavily against teams with athletic quarterbacks all season. Maddie is the third quarterback to be the leading rusher of a Buffalo opponent. The Huskies are also the fifth team to gain 300+ yards on the ground against the Bulls.
“We just gotta take into account, you know when they’re running their quarterback they have an extra gap,” said junior linebacker Jarrett Franklin. “We have a lot of discipline, a lot of trust, so we just gotta fit our gaps better… we just gotta execute better.”
Coming off of one of his best performances all season against Ball State, Jackson fell flat Saturday. His first two interceptions, which came on Buffalo’s first two drives, were arguably not his fault with both coming after the ball bounced off of the intended receiver and the deflections were scooped up by defenders.
The next two both fall on Jackson. The third was a ball thrown too high to senior receiver Marcus McGill. This allowed freshman safety Trequan Smith who was camped out behind McGill to come forward and make a play on the ball. Jackson’s fourth pick came when he tried to force a ball into covered junior receiver Kamathi Holsey in the end zone. Jackson explained the pass to Holsey in the post-game press conference.
“He was getting rerouted so tried to work the back shoulder,” Jackson said. “But at that point I mean I just gotta get off of it and escape and make something else happen, probably just sat on it a little bit too long.”
Senior running back Jordan Johnson had one of his best games in weeks. With 97 yards, it’s the closest he’s come to the 100-yard mark since his 87-yard performance in their second game against the Nevada Wolfpack. It’s also the first time Johnson has found the end zone since the Nevada game. His 29-yard touchdown run at the beginning of the second quarter was one of the lone bright spots of the day for Buffalo, as it put them within 3, 10-7.
That’s when the Huskies offense really took off. They finished the game scoring 34 unanswered points. One of the most impressive plays during that span was a one-handed touchdown grab from Huskies senior receiver Kenny Golladay that put Northern Illinois up 37-7 about halfway through the third quarter.
Entering the game facing an average of 54 rushes per game, the Huskies extended the trend and ran 51 times. Leipold also noted that if they don’t fix things in the run defense things the trend will continue.
“Right now I think everybody in the country will run it against us ‘till we show we can stop it” Leipold said.
The Bulls host the Akron Zips (5-3, 3-1 MAC) at UB Stadium Thursday night. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.
Daniel Petruccelli is a sports staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com