Written by Evan Meyer
KENT, OHIO – The Buffalo Bulls picked up their third consecutive victory as they used a 99-yard drive late in the third quarter to pulled away from the Kent State Golden Flashes for a 27-13 victory in the Mid-American Conference opener for both schools Saturday afternoon at Dix Stadium.
Buffalo (3-2, 1-0 MAC) ended a four-game losing streak in MAC play dating back to last season and collected their first conference road win since 2013 when they defeated the Flashes 41-21 and their MAC opening road win since 2010 at Bowling Green.
Sophomore RB Emmanuel Reed rushed for 144 yards and scored three touchdowns. Junior QB Drew Anderson, in his first collegiate start, completed 11-of-18 passes for 142 yards and a touchdown he also rushed for 76 yards. The defense was led by LB Khalil Hodge with 11 total tackles (seven solo)
Kent State (1-4, 0-1 MAC) have lost their last four MAC games dating back to last season and have dropped their last 10 MAC games at home.
“A disappointing loss” KSU head coach Paul Haynes said. “WE did some good things offensively however we did ourselves in defensively.”
Junior QB George Bollas completed 17-of-26 passes for 242 yards. Sophomore WR Trey Harrell had a career high six receptions for 122 yards while fellow sophomore, DB Manny Lawrence-Burke, had seven tackles (five solo) and an interception in the first quarter
UB opened a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter on a pair of touchdowns by Reed. The first came when he broke through the middle of the Flashes defense for a 55-yard gain before running around the left side for the score. The second was a one yard blast through the line.
The Golden Flashes moved the ball marginally in the opening 15 minutes, then in the second quarter hit Buffalo with the big play a 75-yard touchdown pass by true freshman QB Dustin Crum to WR Kavious Price over the middle in stride to make the score 14-7.
After the Bulls extended their lead to 20-7 midway through the period on Reed’s third touchdown of the game a five-yard run up the middle, KSU added a pair of field goals of 33 & 20 yards by Shane Hynes to make the halftime score 20-13.
The game then turned in favor of the visitors on the first possession of the third quarter when KSU took the kickoff and marched from their own 25-yard line down to the Bulls one. On fourth down, Haynes decided to pass on a third field goal attempt by Hynes and went for the touchdown with Bollas on the quarterback sneak up the middle and the UB defense stopped him cold.
The visitors took over and went the 99-yards in eight plays which culminated when Anderson connected with redshirt freshman TE Zac Lefebvre in the back of the end zone for five yards out in the back of the end zone to make the score 27-13.
The key plays on the drive was a 62-yard run by Anderson off the read option. Then Anderson connected with Anthony Johnson for 15 yards. Finally, the KSU held the Bulls to a field goal, but a five-yard running into the kicker penalty let the drive to continue which ended with the Anderson touchdown pass to Lefebvre.
Where the Bulls capitalized on their opportunites, the Flashes did not.
They failed to convert the Lawrence-Burke interception into points in the first quarter. Late in the second quarter when they moved the ball effectively against the UB defense, getting into the red zone just before halftime, they had to settle for a field goal rather than the touchdown. And finally, the drive that opened the second half when the UB defense denied them at the goal line.
Both teams return to action next Saturday against Western Division competition. UB heads home to face Western Michigan while KSU goes on the road at Northern Illinois.