The Bulls (5-5, 4-2 MAC) couldn’t hold it together against the Central Michigan Chippewas (4-6, 3-3 MAC) Wednesday, losing 31-27 after being outscored 24-3 in the second half. UB’s defense struggled against Central Michigan’s freshman quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. as he secured his first three career rushing touchdowns.
The first half looked promising for the Bulls. On the opening drive, redshirt freshman Mike Washington waltzed into the end zone for a one-yard touchdown following a powerful drive from him and senior running back Ron Cook Jr.
Central Michigan sophomore quarterback Daniel Richardson answered Washington’s score toward the end of the first quarter after a 60-yard kick return by redshirt freshman running back De’Javion Stepney set the Chippewas up in Bulls territory. Richardson connected with senior wide receiver Carlos Carriere for a combined 31 yards on the drive, which ended with a one-yard score from Stepney.
During the second quarter, UB found their footing, scoring two touchdowns and a field goal. Cook Jr. was responsible for one of the scores, a 25-yard rushing touchdown, and redshirt freshman running back Al-Jay Henderson took the other, a 30-yard dash to the end zone. A 42-yard Alex McNulty field goal with 20 seconds left in the quarter increased the Bulls’ lead to 17 points, with a halftime score of 24-7.
The second half was defined by Emanuel Jr.’s impressive rushing performance. The freshman quarterback was Central Michigan’s top rusher on the night, running 24 times for 239 yards and three touchdowns.
On the first snap of the third quarter, Emanuel Jr. took off for a 75-yard touchdown after multiple missed tackles from Bulls defenders.
Toward the end of the third quarter, Emanuel Jr. broke free yet again, running 87 yards for his second touchdown of the night. He went on to score one more in the fourth quarter — a one-yard touchdown to cap off a six-play, 54-yard drive. All 54 yards were rushing yards, all courtesy of Emmanuel Jr.
UB’s sole score in the second half was a 54-yard field goal from McNulty, the second-longest of his career (the longest being a 55-yarder last season against Northern Illinois). The field goal was set up after UB recovered a fumble by Emanuel Jr. on the previous drive.
It was a run-heavy night for the Bulls, with UB’s rushing squad accruing the majority of the team’s total offensive yards. Cook Jr. rushed 22 times for 100 yards and a touchdown, Henderson rushed 16 times for 72 yards and a touchdown, and Washington rushed 7 times for 41 yards and a touchdown.
Graduate wide receivers Justin Marshall and Quian Williams saw only 4 receptions for 45 yards and 3 receptions for 36 yards, respectively. Junior quarterback Cole Snyder went 19-of-32 with 191 yards and one interception.
UB’s defense was led by junior linebacker Shaun Dolac as he finished Wednesday’s game with nine solo tackles and 13 total tackles, accompanied by fifth-year linebacker James Patterson with six solo tackles and nine total tackles.
The Bulls defense was unable to contain Emmanuel Jr. throughout the second half, which ultimately led to their demise Wednesday night. With the loss, UB remains in second place in the MAC East and one game shy of bowl-eligibility. They look to rebound next Saturday, Nov. 19 vs. Akron (1-9, 0-6 MAC) at UB Stadium. The game can be streamed on CBS Sports Network.
Dylan Greco is the senior sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com