Anthony Johnson breaks records

UB beats Miami (OH) in 51-42 victory

ub-vs-miami

Buffalo football played lights out Tuesday night. UB Stadium shut down as the Bulls celebrated their eighth win of the season.

Luckily, there were two shining stars on the field.

The Bulls (8-1, 5-0 Mid-American Conference) defeated Miami (OH) (3-6, 3-2 MAC) 51-42 Tuesday night. The game featured almost zero defense between the teams, combining for over 900 yards of offense and 13 touchdowns. Junior quarterback Tyree Jackson and senior wide receiver Anthony Johnson connected for three touchdowns as Johnson broke the school record for receiving yards in a game. 

“When AJ is healthy, he's the best receiver in college football in my eyes,” Jackson said. “Having a guy like that on your team is awesome. He makes great plays and it's a blessing to play with him.”

Johnson was dominant all over the field against the RedHawks. On the Bulls’ second play of the game, Johnson and Jackson connected for a 75-yard touchdown – the longest pass completed by the Bulls this season.

“He’s Anthony Johnson,” head coach Lance Leipold said in response to the star senior wide receiver breaking a school record Tuesday night.

Johnson finished the game with 8 catches for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns, passing Joe D’Amico who put up 218 yards against Cortland in 1981.

Johnson says he woke up “feeling good” and knew he would play well.

It has been a struggle for Johnson this season after suffering a hamstring injury against Rutgers on Sept. 22. He missed two games and only had six receptions in the two games he was healthy enough to play in. Luckily, the Bulls were 4-1 without him.

“I know when I’m healthy, I can make good plays for this team,” Johnson said.

Jackson finished with 358 yards, 3 passing touchdowns and 3 rushing touchdowns. He is the second quarterback to have 3 passing and rushing touchdowns in the same game this season.

In the two games witout Johnson, Jackson averaged only 139.5 yards passing and a 45.85 completion percent.

“Me and him have a great connection,” Jackson said. “I understand what he's going to do and he kind of understands me. There are times where he might switch a route up a little different but we're on the same page and we understand each other. He's a playmaker.” 

Tuesday night was signature #MACtion – high scoring, undisciplined play and limited to no defense. 

The teams combined for 24 penalties for 239 yards. Senior linebacker Khalil Hodge committed a targeting penalty in the fourth quarter and is now forced to miss the first half of next week's game.

With the game tied 42-42 in the fourth quarter, freshman running back Jaret Patterson crossed the goal line from 4 yards out. Unfortunately, senior kicker Adam Mitcheson, a career 90 percent extra point kicker, failed. The Bulls would only lead 48-42.

Mitcheson would get a chance to redeem himself to put the Bulls up two scores with just under four minutes remaining. From 37 yards out, Mitcheson nailed it and broke the record for most career field goals.

“You're in that spot as I said to the team, ‘It's been a rollercoaster for Adam.’Nobody is more disappointed or frustrated sometimes than him,” Leipold said. “It was in his range and I'm going to believe in him. He's made some clutch kicks for us this year and other years, to make it a two score game at that point was going to be critical.” 

With the victory, the Bulls became one of four teams in the country to have eight wins. The Bulls are 11-1 dating back to last season and the MAC East title is becoming a reality.

For their final three games of the season, the Bulls play two of the worst teams in the MAC and the Ohio Bobcats (5-3, 3-1 MAC). With a win over the Bobcats, the Bulls will be able to clinch the MAC East division and head to Detroit for the MAC Championship game.

The Bulls have their final home game of the season next week against the Kent State Golden Flashes (2-7, 1-4 MAC) on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Nathaniel Mendelson is the sports editor and can be reached at nathaniel.mendelson@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @NateMendelson