Bulls meet hefty expectations, blow out Falcons on the road
Jaret Patterson sets single-game school rushing record in UB’s dominant 42-17 victory over Bowling Green
Going into Tuesday night’s matchup against Bowling Green, UB was a massive 30-point favorite.
They dominated their last two opponents, beating Northern Illinois by 19 and Miami (OH) by 32.
One of only 21 undefeated FBS Division I teams entering Week 3, everything has been going right for the media’s preseason MAC East favorites.
In last week’s game against Miami (OH), junior running back Jaret Patterson scored multiple touchdowns en route to becoming the fastest back in school history to rush for 3,000 career yards.
Junior quarterback Kyle Vantrease threw for 353 yards and 4 touchdowns, becoming the second Bull to win MAC East Offensive Player of the Week just two games into the season.
Senior wide receiver Antonio Nunn hauled 5 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown. The defense was also dominant, giving up just 253 total yards and 10 points.
Entering Tuesday night, all the pressure was on the Bulls.
After a strong start to the season, hitting the road against a winless Bowling Green squad could have been the traditional “letdown spot” for the Bulls, overlooking the inferior Falcons.
UB didn’t let that happen.
The Bulls dominated on both sides of the ball, defeating the Falcons by 25 points.
Despite the large margin of victory, head coach Lance Leipold wasn’t fully satisfied with the Bulls’ performance.
“Good to be 3-0 but as we have a little time before we move into [next] Saturday, we have a lot to work on,” Leipold said. “Coming to the locker room a little later after the team got there, [it was] a little bit quiet. I think these guys have a standard they expect to play at, and I don’t know if we fully reached that. But when you can win when you didn’t play your best, it’s a good sign.”
The run game has become a staple of UB’s offensive identity, and the Bulls didn’t stray away from it against the Falcons.
In the first half alone, Patterson and Kevin Marks combined for 181 rushing yards and three touchdowns, imposing their will on the Bowling Green defense.
Patterson finished the contest with 31 carries for 301 yards and four touchdowns, surpassing his record-breaking 298-yard performance against BGSU last year. In two games against the Falcons, Patterson has run for a mind-blowing 599 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In the third quarter, Patterson’s record-breaking career took another step, passing former NFL star James Starks for second on the all-time school rushing list.
“I just like making plays for my guys and playing hard for the team. These records are not broken alone, these are helped by teammates, offensive the line, the coaches trusting me. It really plays hand in hand,” Patterson said in reaction to his record-breaking day. “I just know I have to keep working because the ultimate goal for me is to win a MAC championship.”
Marks added 90 yards and a touchdown to the Bulls’ rushing attack, providing the one-two punch that has made UB so effective the past three seasons.
The passing game wasn’t flashy, but it didn’t have to be. Vantrease played the role of a game manager, going 7-for-12 for a modest 74 yards. Antonio Nunn caught six of Vantrease’s seven completions, finishing the game with 70 yards receiving.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior defensive end Malcolm Koonce (four total tackles, two sacks) and junior linebacker James Patterson (13 total tackles, eight solo tackles) led the charge with impressive performances. Redshirt freshman safety Marcus Fuqua added an interception to the Bulls’ strong defensive showing.
After the game was already decided, Bowling Green freshman running back Terion Stewart punched in two touchdown runs to make the final score more respectable.
Jaret Patterson’s record-setting performance is reflective of UB’s start this season: a total team effort.
“It takes a team to do it, it takes the guys up front, it takes a lot of things even when you have special players like Jaret Patterson. Everybody’s a part of the record-setting performances,” Leipold said. “We try to focus on as many team things as we can but we’ll acknowledge these when they come about.”
With a huge showdown against 3-0 MAC East rival Kent State slated for next Saturday, Patterson isn’t focused on his individual achievements.
“At the end of the day, you have to flip the page, flip the chapter and start preparing for Kent State,” Patterson said. “This is a huge game in my eyes, I really don’t really have time to reflect.”
The Bulls head back to Buffalo to take on Kent State at UB Stadium next Saturday.
Anthony DeCicco is the Senior Sports Editor and can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @DeCicco42.