Next man up: UB football pulls out 34-31 win against FAU
Despite Tyree Jackson's injury, the Bulls win
The Buffalo Bulls took control early Saturday night against the Florida Atlantic Owls and jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game.
The Bulls came out hot but it looked like it was about to all come crashing down. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyree Jackson left the game right before half with an apparent knee injury from a sack after he scored two touchdowns. Despite Jackson’s injury, Buffalo pulled out a 34-31 win against FAU at UB Stadium.
But this is college football and it’s all about the next man up.
Junior backup quarterback Drew Anderson proved why he’s next in line at QB and ended the game 7-of-9 in the game for 109 yards and a touchdown in just one half of action.
Anderson composed himself well and completed his first six passes of the game. He also led the Bulls (2-2) down the field on an 11-play, 92-yard drive on their second possession after the half.
When asked if he was nervous about coming into the game in the middle of the action he looked as calm as he did on the field.
“Maybe first snap a little bit,” Anderson said. “But once you start playing, it’s just football and I’ve been playing it for a pretty long time.”
Anderson doesn't possess the same athleticism as Jackson but the run game didn't miss a beat with him under center. The Bulls had 110 yards on the ground in the first half and 94 in the second. Sophomore running back Emmanuel Reed reached the century mark for the second straight game, finishing with 107 yards. Redshirt freshman running back Theo Anderson finished with 57 yards and the first touchdown of his career.
The Owls (1-3) rallied hard to make a comeback. They were down three with three minutes to go. They ran on fourth down and the chain gang was forced to come out and measure the ball. The ball was short by just a few inches and it sealed this one for the Bulls.
Sophomore running back Devin Singletary led the way for FAU with 156 yards and three touchdowns.
“You want to get momentum heading going into conference play,” said Bulls head coach Lance Leipold. “Because you talk about should-ofs and could-ofs and all those things but you know this team has played hard and had opportunities all four weeks, you know, and to be sitting here with you and talking about a 1-3 team heading into conference play versus being 2-2 would have been again awful disappointing.”
The victory marks the first time the Bulls have won back to back games since Oct. to Nov. 2015. They also matched their win total from last year just four weeks into the season.
The Bulls defense struggled with the speed of the Owls and gave up some big runs including touchdown runs of 37 and 34 yards. They gave up a total of 262 yards on the ground with an average of 7.1 yards per carry. Most of those yards came in the first half and the Bulls only allowed 73 yards on the ground in the second half.
“We knew coming in that the tempo of their offense was gonna be tough to adjust to,” said Bulls linebacker Khalil Hodge. “And for a while it was hard to adjust to, but at the end of the day we were able to get enough stops to get a win and that’s all that matters.”
Hodge had 16 tackles in the game, his third game of the year with double digit tackles.
The pass defense had another strong showing this week and held their opponent to 150 passing yards or less for the third straight week.
After the game coach Leipold talked about Jackson’s status for the rest of the year.
“Unknown at this time,” Leipold said. “The x-ray was negative and further tests will be done early next week.”
The Bulls are back in action next week when they open up conference play on the road against the Kent State Golden Flashes (1-3). Kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Dix Stadium.
Daniel Petruccelli is the Co-Senior sports editor and can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org