Recognition rolls in for UB football

Mike Dziak/contributorUB running back Jaret Patterson stiff arms an Akron defender during the Bulls’ win in their regular season finale Saturday in Amherst.

University at Buffalo football was the dominant force in the Mid-American Conference this season, and was recognized as such when postseason awards were released Tuesday.

Star running back Jaret Patterson was honored with the Vern Smith Leadership Award, annually presented to the top player in the conference, and MAC Offensive Player of the Year. Head coach Lance Leipold was named MAC Coach of the Year.

Patterson averaged 203 yards per game in the Bulls’ five contests and scored 18 rushing touchdowns, third in the country. With 1,025 yards on the season, the junior became just the 12th player in FBS history to rush for 1,000 yards in the first five games of the year. He is the first UB player to earn the Vern Smith Leadership Award.

Leipold was named top MAC coach for the second time, having also won in 2018. His Bulls are 5-0 and lead the nation in scoring (51.8 ppg) and rushing yards per game (344.6). He is the first UB head coach to win the honor multiple times.

Twelve total Bulls earned All-MAC honors, tying a program record set last season. Patterson and his brother, linebacker James Patterson, were named first team, along with offensive tackle Kayode Awosika, center Mike Novitsky and defensive end Malcolm Koonce.

Right tackle Jake Fuzak and wide receiver Antonio Nunn earned second-team honors, while tight end Zac Lefebvre, running back Kevin Marks, Jr., kicker Alex McNulty, defensive tackle Eddie Wilson and return specialist Ron Cook Jr. made third team.

The UB offensive line was also recognized Monday when it was named a semifinalist for the Joe Moore Award, given annually the top offensive line unit in all of FBS. This is the second season the group was one of 11 recognized.

The starting unit has included Awosika (LT), Jacob Gall (LG), Novitsky (C), Jack Klenk (RG) and Fuzak (RT). UB is the only team in the country to have not allowed a sack this season, the Bulls lead the country in average rush yards per game. UB running backs are averaging 7.56 yards per carry.

Also named semifinalists were Alabama, BYU, Coastal Carolina, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, Louisiana, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Texas A&M.

The Joe Moore Award finalists will be named on Dec. 21. The eventual winner will be recognized in the ensuing weeks during a surprise, on-campus visit to the winning unit’s school.

The Bulls play Ball State in the MAC Championship on Friday night at Detroit’s Ford Field.

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OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — Rochester native Jeenathan Williams had 21 points as UB men’s hoops romped Miami (Ohio) 90-62 on Tuesday.

Jayvon Graves had 13 points and seven rebounds for Buffalo (3-2, 1-1 Mid-American Conference). David Nickelberry added 12 points.

Isaiah Coleman-Lands had 12 points for the RedHawks (3-2, 0-1). Mekhi Lairy added 10 points.

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