KENT, OH - Branden Oliver had a career-high four touchdowns as the Buffalo Bulls (6-2, 4-0) defeated Kent State (2-7, 1-4) 41-21 at Dix Stadium Saturday afternoon to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2008.
The senior running back rushed for 185 yards on 31 attempts as he and the Bulls offense hit the 30-point plateau for the fifth consecutive time during their current six-game win streak, and the 40-point mark for the third time this season. It's the Bulls first six-game winning streak since 1959.
Buffalo opened the scoring with a 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Licata to Alex Neutz. After the extra point was blocked - the third one UB has had blocked this season - Kent answered with a 5-yard run by Trayion Durham to take a 7-6 lead.
UB wouldn't trail for long as they scored less than two minutes later on Oliver's first rushing touchdown of the day from five yards out. Oliver scored again from 17 yards out with eight seconds left in the half to give the Bulls a 20-7 edge at the break.
Oliver scored the first two touchdowns of the second half to break open a four-score advantage with touchdown runs of 38 and 4 yards.
Licata, the bulls sophomore signal caller, again did his job and made many key throws in critical spots to set up many of Oliver's runs. He tied his career high in passing yards with 285 yards on 20 of 31 passing with two touchdowns.
The defensive unit was again a positive to take from the game as they held many of the Kent State players in check, including speedster Dri Archer who managed just 35 yards rushing and 35 receiving, a week after having more than 200 combined in a loss to South Alabama.
Khalil Mack was again causing havoc all over the field but he had no bigger play than his game-chaning interception at his own five, late in the second quarter. Kent State quarterback Colin Reardon's pass was grabbed by Mack's right hand and reeled in. He then was able to take it into Bulls territory to set up Oliver's second touchdown.
This is the fastest the Bulls have ever became bowl eligible, eight games into the season. The Bulls still have four games remaining on their regular season slate. They will host Ohio on Tuesday, Nov. 5th, and then travel to play Toledo and Miami (OH) on the next two Tuesdays, before returning for a home finale at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Friday Nov. 29.