By Phil Steele
There is 1.5 weeks left before their MAC East title game showdown vs Bowling Green and as you would expect from one of the MAC’s best, vs one of the weakest, Buffalo dominated with a 27-9 FD edge and 517-200 yard edge. Branden Oliver rushed for 150 yards for UB but Anthone Taylor topped him with 154 on just 17 carries. Joe Licata hit 20-32-172 and was pulled with 12:26 left in the 4Q. Miami, OH QB Austin Gearing hit 5-19-65. Surprisingly, UB punted on its first 2 possessions but then went 45/6, 71/10 and after a fumble, 52/6pl for td’s to lead 21-0. UB punted with 2:37 left in the half but with :54 left, Khalil Mack sacked Gearing and Houston returned the fumble 60 yards for a td. Mack forced 3 fumbles in the game to become the career NCAA leader in FF. UB punted to open the 3Q, drove 53/8pl for a 22 yard FG and 58/9 to the 28 but was intercepted in the EZ. They drove 58/11 for a 28 yard FG, after an int at the MU26 with backup QB Tony Daniel in, gained 5 yards for a 38 yard FG. MU was SOD at its own 48. UB went 48/10pl and on 3&11 got an 11 yard td pass with 4:36 left, 44-0. Miami went 71/4pl and got a 2 yard td run by Drew Kummer, 44-7.
Kent St was playing its season finale and while it was close at the half with Ohio leading 13-10 and punting with 2:31 left in the half, KSU went 37/5pl after a 16 yard punt to get a td to take a 17-13 lead with a slim 205-170 yard edge. KS dominated the 2H and finished with a 537-204 yard edge and 29-16 FD edge. KS rushed for 312 yards with Dri Archer having 138 and they did get 61 yards on a fake punt when 6’4” 265 lb Nate Terhune took the snap and rumbled for the td early 3Q. OU had leads of 3-0, 6-3 and 13-10. Another ST’s snafu saw OU’s P fumble the snap from the KS33 and KS recovered out at the 48 late in the 2Q. The fake punt made it 31-13 and OU was intercepted at the KS9 with 5:33 left in the 3Q. KS would go 82/13pl with a 26 yard FG, 62/11pl for a 28 yard FG and did add a 29 yard Archer td run with 1:46 left for the 44-13 final.
A win by Northern Illinois would get them a berth in the MAC title game. Toledo needed a win just to stay alive as they only had one loss in MAC play. Heisman candidate Jordan Lynch was held to 30 yards rushing in the 1H. Turnovers were a key factor in the 1H. UT was sacked and fumbled on the first play and NI went 21/3 for a td. UT was intercepted at the NI22. NI went 72/11pl but missed a 23 yard FG. UT went 61/10pl for a 36 yard FG, 7-3 but then went 83/16pl. About to take the lead, RB Kareem Hunt–out of the Wildcat–charged towards the line then threw a jump pass into the EZ but it was intercepted. NI went 52/7pl and missed a 40 yard FG. UT went 77/6pl and got a 44 yard td pass, 10-7. NI went 45/6pl and missed a 47 yard FG. At the half UT had a 254-216 yard edge and led 10-7. Each team drove for a td to open the 3Q with NI getting 2 of those to lead 21-17. UT got 3 FD’s on a 41/13pl drive but punted on the last play of the 3Q. NI went 99/15pl for a td opening the drive with a key 3&6 conversion. They then went 77/9pl for a td to go up 35-17 with 5:39 left. UT got to the NI18 with :22 left and was intercepted in the EZ. NI finished with a 566-419 yard edge and Lynch finished with 161 yards on the ground and hit 17-22-202. Cameron Stingily also rushed for 146 for NI. David Fluellen returned for UT but had just 54-15 with Hunt rushing for 91-19.