UB football falls to Miami 35-24
UB football continues to be its own worst enemy. Mistakes have plagued the team all season and Saturday was no different.
In their final home game of the year, the Bulls (2-8, 1-5 Mid-American Conference) were defeated by the Miami RedHawks (5-6, 5-2 MAC) 35-24 at UB Stadium. Bulls redshirt freshman quarterback Tyree Jackson finished the day 12-of-27 for 96 yards before being pulled with a leg injury late in the third quarter. Miami sophomore defensive back De’Andre Montgomery finished the game with two defensive touchdowns, scoring both within five minutes of each other.
"He was gutting it through and then I just kind of made the decision and I know he was kind of disappointed," said Bulls head coach Lance Leipold on Jackson’s injury.
Buffalo committed costly turnovers and allowed big plays that they couldn’t recover from. Montgomery’s first touchdown came on a read/pass option play when he jumped the throw from Jackson and kept running straight into the end zone for the score.
He followed that by scooping up a fumbled read option handoff on the very next drive and taking it 92 yards for his second score of the day. From there, the RedHawks never looked back.
“Even if you’re down 16, you’re thinking about, you can go for two twice, you’re two scores out and bam you get two defensive touchdowns just given away,” Leipold said.
Even before the turnovers, things were not going Buffalo’s way. Miami got started early with a six-play 75-yard touchdown drive to open the game. After stopping the RedHawks on the first two plays to set up a third and long, a pass interference call on third down gave Miami a free first down. Four plays later redshirt sophomore quarterback Gus Ragland capped off the drive with a 40 yard pass to junior receiver Jared Murphy on a jet sweep play action.
“It gets to be a problem when it’s a broken record of saying things,” Leipold said. “Again our margin for error isn’t much, you look at the first series, it appears we’re gonna get a three and out and then we get a pass interference and boom then they go down and hit us on a big one and score.”
Before the first quarter ended, Buffalo gave up another huge play on a fake jet sweep. This time Miami handed off to sophomore running back Alonzo Smith off the fake, who went straight up the middle for 70 yards before a Bull was able to finally catch up. The RedHawks turned that into a 13-point lead when Ragland scored on a keeper a couple plays later.
“The pass off the jet sweep was probably, not probably, it was a secondary bust,” Leipold said. “And the jet sweep fake on the long run, on the third and one, it appears to be a linebacker. We’re not fitting our gaps and boom. We’ve struggled, unfortunately, with that all year.”
Senior running back Jordan Johnson finished the game with 100 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown. He is now the seventh running back in program history to eclipse the 2,000-yard mark in his career.
“It would mean more if we would have got the win,” Johnson said. “So it’s just another statistic.”
Buffalo’s only touchdown of the game came from senior defensive end Brandon Crawford. With Buffalo trailing 20-0, Crawford came around the edge and found Ragland still holding the ball out from a read option play. He took the ball right out of his hands and ran it nine yards for the score.
The Bulls outgained the RedHawks 380-309 and finished with 16 more first downs in the game. They had more passing yards, less penalties, and had the edge in time of possession. They just made too many mistakes.
“From the beginning of the game we have to do our jobs,” Crawford said. “And be consistent in doing our jobs throughout the entire game because once everybody is doing their job, they’re one out of 11. Our defense, it shows that we can get stops so we just have to be consistent in all of us doing our jobs all the time.”
Buffalo managed two fourth quarter touchdowns under graduate transfer quarterback Grant Rohach, who finished the day 9-of-13 for 97 yards. Johnson and sophomore running back Johnathan Hawkins both scored late touchdowns in the game. But it was too late in the game for either to really matter and the clock eventually ran out.
Buffalo will visit the undefeated Western Michigan Broncos (10-0, 6-0 MAC) next Saturday.
Daniel Petruccelli is a sports staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org