UB Football moved to 3-0 on the 2018 season Saturday evening with a rousing 35-28 home win over the visiting Eastern Michigan Eagles in a key MAC opener that relied on big plays and never felt quite safe.
Tyree Jackson passed for 325 yards and 3 touchdowns, all to K.J. Osborn, including a 75-yarder and an 80-yarder, but Eastern Michigan had a pair of 70+ yard touchdowns themselves in the second quarter and stymied the Bulls offense in the third after pulling within seven at the buzzer of the first half on a Shaq Vann plunge.
The Eagles, however, did not score in the second half, thanks in part to a Chuck Harris forced fumble that diffused EMU’s strongest threat before the final minute. Harris, wearing Solomon Jackson’s 41 jersey this week, finished with eye-popping numbers: 8 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.
Kevin Marks ran for 60 yards and a pair of touchdowns, including the opener. After Osborn’s first, UB could have kicked to open a three-score lead, but instead failed to convert a fourth-and-one, and could not pull away with the game as EMU closed to 28-21 at the half, in the fourth both stopped the Bulls on downs once and recovered an Emmanuel Reed fumble with 3:24 to play down 35-21 to keep it interesting, and forced UB to recover an onside kick after a final-minute score.
Ultimately, UB largely improved upon their play against Temple last week, but time and time again could not convert key plays to ice the game away. The win is a win, but Buffalo fans may be eager for a more comfortable win in the future.
Defensive back Cam Lewis was taken straight to the locker room after apparently injuring his wrist on EMU’s last drive.
UB hits the road next week to Rutgers, who can’t be feeling good after getting stomped by Kansas — KANSAS — 55-14.