UB upsets Temple in Philadelphia, 36-29
Buffalo starts 2-0 for the first time in Division I history
UB Football beat Temple 36 to 29 Saturday afternoon. Buffalo had all the history against them as the Bulls haven’t started a season 2-0 since 1983. Temple (0-2) had not lost back to back home games in their head coach Geoff Collins’ career there.
Head coach Lance Leipold and crew walked onto Lincoln Financial Field determined to upset. The first quarter was not the three touchdown performance against Delaware State a week ago, but it still ended with a 6-0 Buffalo lead.
“We knew it was going to be a physical football game,” Leipold said. “I’m really proud of what we were able to do. We knew we had to stay aggressive and going for it on fourth downs and things like that. We felt we needed to do that in order to win today.”
The Bulls led the entirety of the first half and held Temple scoreless until the final seconds of the second quarter. Up 12-0 with 1:45 remaining on the clock, The Owls drove 80 yards on eight plays to shift momentum and go into the half down 12-7.
On the last play of the half, Temple threw a 39 yard hail mary pass to 6-foot 5-inch sophomore wide receiver Brandon Mack who used his height and leaping ability to grab the football over Buffalo’s shorter secondary.
The Owls came back out of the half looking to finally get its offense going. Motivated and full of confidence, Temple only needed six plays to go 74 yards and score after the kickoff. Temple now held a 14-12 lead.
The Bulls were down for the first time this season looking to respond. The resulting drive was a three and out with the offense on the field for less than one minute.
Senior cornerback Cameron Lewis was not going to let the Bulls fold over. Wearing Solomon Jackson’s number 41, Lewis intercepted his second pass of the game to give Buffalo the ball at Temple’s 26-yard line.
Freshman running back Kevin Marks took it into his own hands to take advantage of the turnover. Marks ran for 23 yards on the drive to score his second touchdown of the game. The Bulls then led 19-14. During his first touchdown, Marks ran straight up the middle for 22 yards and bounced off the tackle attempts by Temple.
It was a breakout day for Marks, who finished with 25 rushes for 138 yards and two touchdowns. In one game he seemed to have taken the starting job from junior running back Emmanuel Reed. Reed was last year’s leading rusher and named to the Doak Walker Award watch list for best running back in the country.
“To come out here and play for the Bulls is special,” Marks said. “With the offensive line I have and to run the ball behind them I really wanted to show them what I had because this is one of my first big games. I wanted to run the ball hard and compete.”
Late in the third, senior kicker Adam Mitcheson made a 46-yard field goal to push the lead to 22-14.
Temple had been close all game to blocking a kick. They got a hand on Mitcheson’s field goal and had the Bulls in prime position. With Buffalo on its six-yard line, The Owls, who have lead the NCAA in blocked kicks over the past five years, blocked Buffalo’s punt and recovered it for a touchdown.
After a bit of trickery on the extra point, the score was tied 22-22 with 11:24 remaining in the fourth. The two teams traded touchdowns to tie at 29. Buffalo would get the ball with 4:48 remaining.
The Bulls, starting on its 19-yard line, drove all the way down the field. 10 plays, 81 yards, and 3:49 in time was what Buffalo needed to get the game winning touchdown.
On 3rd and 10 from the Temple’s 29-yard line, Jackson dropped back to pass and found star senior wide receiver Anthony Johnson covered over the middle. Despite the coverage, Jackson zipped the ball into Johnson’s hands and he took it the rest of the way. Johnson cut up field breaking tackles up to the five yard line where he powered through and stretched as far as he could to cross the goal line.
The touchdown meant everything for Johnson, who lost a childhood best friend De’mon Davis last night.
“I got the call last night and I wanted to go home but my family told me not to,” Johnson said. “Even though I had a heavy heart, I wanted to play for him, for my teammates so I just stuck through it and came out and gave it my all.”
Temple had one last chance to tie but senior defensive end Chuck Harris forced a fumble to seal the win for the Bulls.
Now 2-0, the Bulls will face an Eastern Michigan (2-0) team next week that defeated Big-10 team Purdue (0-2) 20-19 on Saturday.
Nathaniel Mendelson is the sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @NateMendelson.