Bulls fall short against Ohio

Bobcats roll past the Bulls 52-17


The Bulls football team had the opportunity to clinch the Mid-American Conference East title on Wednesday night. With a loss, the Ohio Bobcats (7-4, 5-2 MAC) would be eliminated from winning the MAC East title. 

But the Bulls lost.

The Bobcats outperformed Buffalo (9-2, 6-1 MAC) in every area and demolished the Bulls 52-17. Junior quarterback Nathan Rourke and senior running back A.J. Ouellette led Ohio’s offense. 

“It’s on me,” head coach Lance Leipold said. “We were thoroughly out-coached, completely out-played, disappointing. That’s a good football team, we’ve been saying it all along, but we did not play well in any area.”

On third down and two, junior quarterback Tyree Jackson launched the ball 48 yards downfield to senior wide receiver Anthony Johnson. The Bulls seemed to pick up where they left off in last week’s victory against Kent State.

Buffalo went 75 yards in seven plays to open the game and scored. 

It was the only lead they had all night.

The Buffalo defense, ranked No. 1 in the MAC before the game, had its worst performance of the season. The Bulls allowed 646 yards of total offense, with 437 being in rushing.

The Bull’s couldn’t stop Ohio’s dominant offense. Buffalo only forced one punt, leading to over 43 minutes of possession time for the Bobcats.

“I’m afraid to look when we grade the film how many missed tackles we had,” Leipold said.

Senior linebacker Khalil Hodge was able to force a turnover and intercept one of Rourke’s passes, but on the return he fumbled and Ohio recovered the ball.

Buffalo lost its momentum and never recovered, according to Leipold. Jackson completed a 25-yard pass to junior wide receiver K. J. Osborn but was called back from an ineligible downfield penalty. It was Osborn’s only catch of the night and Jackson threw an interception just two plays later.

Jackson did find success on the ground. He broke off a 55-yard run that would have put Buffalo on the 3-yard line. But, Jackson fumbled. It was the Bulls’ third-straight possession ending with turnover. 

Buffalo still has a chance to win the MAC East Division when they face the 2-8 Bowling Green Falcons on Friday, Nov. 23.

“In game number 12 of the year, you have to find what’s left in the tank if you want to play for a conference championship,” Leipold said. “Obviously we didn’t play like a team like that tonight. We have to bounce back.”

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