Bulls snap 4-game skid at home
UB defeats Bowling Green 38-28
The Buffalo Bulls (4-6, 2-4 MAC) came into Tuesday night’s game with a must win mentality after losing their previous four games, all in heartbreaking fashion.
Sophomore quarterback Tyree Jackson led the Bulls past the Bowling Green Falcons (2-8, 2-4 MAC) 38-28 at UB Stadium. Jackson found his groove after returning from a knee injury that kept him sidelined for four games and he threw for a career-high 406 yards and three touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Anthony Johnson finished with 160 receiving yards on eight catches and two touchdowns
“It’s really just the people around me. Offensive line has only given up one sack in two games,” Jackson said. “Then you have guys like Anthony Johnson and K.J. Osborn making huge plays. I just get them the ball in space and they’ll make anyone look good.”
Senior punter Kyle DeWeen pinned the Falcons down at their own 1-yard line after both teams went scoreless in their opening drives. The next play, junior defensive lineman Justin Brandon forced and recovered a fumble for great field position. Sophomore running back Emmanuel Reed was able to punch in the touchdown for the Bulls.
It didn’t take long for Bowling Green to respond. They went nine plays before freshman quarterback Jarret Doege completed a 29-yard touchdown pass to level the score at 7-7.
The next drive, Jackson found senior wide receiver Kamathi Holsey for a 51-yard gain. This set up a fade route to Anthony Johnson for the 21-yard score.
A quick three-and-out from Bowling Green gave UB the ball back and allowed for another big play from Johnson. On just the third play of the drive, Johnson caught a 69-yard touchdown pass down the sideline to put the Bulls up 21-7 just before the end of the first quarter.
Buffalo got the ball back yet again and drove 60 yards down the field. It looked like they had a chance to put the game nearly out of reach when Reed lost the ball at the Falcon 1-yard line with only 4 minutes remaining in the half.
Bowling Green took full advantage of the takeaway by creating a 14-play, 99-yard scoring drive. Freshman running back Andrew Clair capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run right before halftime.
“We were disappointed with some of the quick strikes we gave up before halftime. We were still winning so we needed to stay positive and not dwell on it,” said head coach Lance Leipold. “We knew coming in that Bowling Green had athleticism. So yes, we made defensive adjustments at the half and were able to make a big play when they were in the red zone late in the game.”
The Bulls offense began the second half where they left off by moving the chains three straight times into Bowling Green territory. Jackson then took a shot downfield to sophomore K.J. Osborn for a 37-yard touchdown.
The Falcons following drive went nine plays and 42 yards after a costly Buffalo unsportsmanlike penalty enforced after the kickoff. Doege completed a 9-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-31 Bulls.
Buffalo devised a game plan in the fourth quarter to maintain the lead and chew up clock.
They stuck to the ground game with redshirt freshman running back Theo Anderson who ran in an 8-yard touchdown with 8:53 remaining in the game. Anderson ended the game with a career-high 133 rushing yards and a game winning touchdown.
Coach Leipold praised Anderson’s ability to perform when called upon.
“A guy like Theo Anderson steps up tonight and has a career day. If we’re going to be the team we want to be, we’re going to need everybody,” he said.
The defense dropped in at the end of the game to a prevent defense to avoid any big plays. With 2:18 to play, junior defensive end Chuck Harris sacked Doege and forced a fumble that was recovered by the Bulls.
“We always work on forcing the turnovers in practice so when I go to tackle, I always try to punch the ball free,” Harris said. “It is always nice to get the W, but we also try not to give up that many yards, or that many points. We have team goals we look to achieve each game.”
The Buffalo defense allowed 394 total yards of offense and came away with three turnovers. Junior linebacker Khalil Hodge added 10 tackles of his own.
The strip-sack ultimately allowed for the Bulls to salt away the victory, 38-28.
“We have plenty to work on including our ball security,” Leipold said. “But we’re going to enjoy this one for a bit then get back on the field to get things corrected. We’ve got two to play, and we’re going to give the best we got.”
UB travels to play the Ball State Cardinals (2-7, 0-5 MAC) next Thursday, Nov. 16.
Christopher Smith is a sports staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .