UB Bulls pull off upset, beat Army 23-20
Saturday night, the UB Bulls (1-2) called on sophomore kicker Adam Mitcheson when the game was on the line. Mitcheson lined up 33 yards from the goal posts. It was overtime and the game was tied 20-20. The snap was clean and he kicked the ball for everything it was worth.
The ball sailed straight through the center of the uprights as the stadium erupted with cheer. Fireworks filled the sky as the Bulls chased down their kicker, who was running excitedly down the field. The team collapsed in a victory pile when they caught him.
“I just tried to clear my head and just do my job” Mitcheson said.
Entering the fourth quarter, down 20-6, the UB Bulls pulled off the upset of the Army Black Knights (3-1) 23-20 on Saturday night at UB Stadium. Redshirt-freshman quarterback Tyree Jackson led the Bulls with 178 yards and a touchdown through the air as well as two touchdowns on the ground. Senior running back Jordan Johnson was held to 17 yards in the game.
Following a missed field goal by junior kicker Blake Wilson during the Black Knights only overtime possession, UB took control of the ball at their opponents’ 25-yard line with a chance to win the game.
After Jackson used his athleticism to get a first down, UB was on the 15-yard line and two plays later Mitcheson capped off a 14-point comeback, hitting a 34-yard game winning field goal.
Coming into the game as the number two rushing offense in the nation, Army ran 67 times for 396 yards.
Junior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw had a standout night for the Black Knights with 126 rushing yards and a touchdown. The Black Knights offense relied heavily on the read option and found success early as sophomore running back Jordan Asberry scored just over five minutes into the first quarter on a five yard run, capping off a 71-yard drive with no passing yards.
“I think the whole defense woke up after they scored on the first drive,” said junior linebacker Jarett Franklin. “They punched us in the mouth, now we gotta punch them back.”
Franklin finished the game with 17 tackles.
While the UB defense surrendered yards, a bend but don’t break style held Army to a field goal for the rest of the first half. Senior cornerback Boise Ross was suspended for the first half for a targeting penalty from last week’s game against Nevada. They lost the momentum in the third quarter, however and gave up 137 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulls offense was fairly stagnant in the first three quarters as well, only accumulating 135 yards. Mitcheson missed the extra point on UB’s first touchdown of the night, a one-yard keeper by Jackson.
Looking at a 14-point deficit, Buffalo came alive in the fourth quarter. After the defense stopped Army on fourth down to cause a turnover, the Bulls went on a 66-yard drive, finished off by a diving catch from junior wide receiver Kamathi Holsey in the back of the end zone.
Senior wide receiver Marcus McGill had a 49-yard catch during the drive.
He is now officially over 1,000 yards receiving for his career. During the next Army possession, the defense came up big again causing a three-and-out for the Black Knights.
The Bulls got the ball back with 6:13 left, down 20-13, and began marching down the field. The Black Knights had a chance to end the game as the Bulls faced fourth-and-nine from the 50-yard line. Senior tight end Mason Schrek made a big catch and reached forward to secure a Bulls first down.
“Not many people make those plays, on fourth-and-nine with the game on the line, but he came through” Jackson said.
Jackson secured the tie when he dove into the end zone on a one-yard keeper with 2:19 left. Jackson had 107 yards along with two scores in the fourth quarter. The freshman quarterback looked confident.
“For him to come in as a redshirt freshman and lead us the way he did, that’s why this win feels so great” Schrek said.
The story of the night for Army was senior kicker Mitchell Howard’s injury during the opening kickoff. He did not play during the rest of the game. After moving the ball to UB’s 17-yard line Wilson had an opportunity to win the game but missed left as the pressure from the Bulls’ defensive line was bearing down on him.
A crucial personal foul at the start of overtime cost Army as they had to start at the Buffalo 40-yard line. The Bulls defense came up big, once again only allowing the Black Knights back to the 26. Wilson once again came up short as he hit the 43-yard attempt wide right, ending the Black Knights’ last possession of the game.
After a rough showing in their first two games, UB finally got things on track, recording their first win of the season. While the Bulls had their worst offensive output of the year, the team came through when the game was on the line.
“When you look at what’s happened over the first two ball games maybe things haven’t looked as good as we had hoped,” said Bulls head coach Lance Leipold. “So to see us battle back and come back from behind, put it into overtime and find a way to win, I’m very proud of our players and our assistant coaches.”
Buffalo takes on the Boston College Eagles (2-2) next week. Kickoff is Saturday, Oct. 1 at 1 p.m. in Boston College Alumni Stadium.
Daniel Petruccelli is a sports staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com