By Kevin Prise
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Oxford, Ohio —
This week, Buffalo again racked up impressive offensive numbers. Fortunately for the Bulls, the result was different.
Buffalo used a 28-point second quarter and 517 total yards of offense to easily roll past Miami (Ohio) by a 44-7 margin on Tuesday evening, in a Mid-American Conference contest at Yager Stadium in Oxford, Ohio. With the win, the Bulls improve to 6-1 in MAC play, 8-3 overall, and will play Bowling Green at Ralph Wilson Stadium next Friday with the MAC East title on the line.
Miami drops to 0-7 in league play, 0-11 overall, and cements its status as one of the worst teams in college football.
After the RedHawks and Bulls battled to a scoreless first quarter, Buffalo got on the board early in the second with a one-yard connection between quarterback Joe Licata and tight end Alex Dennison. Buffalo extended the lead to 21-0 on touchdown runs of one and 10 yards by star tailback Branden Oliver, and made it 28-0 less than a minute before halftime on a 60-yard fumble return by Okoye Houston.
The defensive touchdown was set up when linebacker Khalil Mack sacked Miami quarterback Austin Gearing, forcing a fumble in the process. Mack, a potential NFL first-round draft pick next spring, was a force to be reckoned with all evening long.
UB was on cruise control for the rest of the game. Kicker Patrick Clarke added field goals of 22, 28 and 38 yards, and backup quarterback Tony Daniel threw a late 11-yard touchdown pass to Devon Hughes.
Buffalo finished with 27 first downs to Miami’s nine, and won the time-of-possession battle, 36:25 to 23:35. The Bulls rushed for 311 yards, as Oliver had 150 yards on 26 carries, while Anthone Taylor had 154 yards on just 17 attempts.
Licata didn’t put up earth-shattering numbers but was efficient, completing 20 of 32 passes for 172 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Fred Lee led UB receivers with four catches for 61 yards, while Boise Ross caught three balls for 52 yards.
Miami only managed 200 total yards of offense.
After a seven-game winning streak was snapped last week at the hands of Toledo, UB bounced back this week with authority. A win next Friday at the Ralph would earn the Bulls their first Mid-American Conference championship game appearance since 2008, when they upset Ball State in Detroit by a 42-24 score.
Miami is no Bowling Green, but such an authoritative win against the RedHawks has to bode well for coach Jeff Quinn and the Bulls.