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Bulls Bounce Back, Defeat Temple 38-22

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Buffalo v Temple Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bulls bounced back from a tough week 3 loss to Liberty in a big way on Saturday. In front of an excited home crowd, the Bulls fought back from an early 7-0 deficit against the Temple Owls, and had the game comfortably in pocket by early in the second half.

First Half

The Temple Owls won the opening coin flip and elected to defer to the second half. On the Bulls’ first drive of the game, they picked up one first down before a sack for an 8 yard loss put the Bulls behind schedule for a 3rd and 11 attempt. On third down Matt Myers dropped back to pass looking to convert a first down, but his pass was intercepted by Temple CB Christian Braswell.

The interception left the Owls with a short field, taking over at the UB 45 yard line. The Bulls defense looked solid on this drive forcing two Temple 4th and 1s, however without much faith in the kicking game, the Owls attempted and converted both 4th and 1 attempts. The drive culminated in a TD pass from QB Anthony Russo to WR Isaiah Wright from 2 yards out.

After a touchback, the Bulls took over on their own 25 with 6:19 remaining in the first quarter. The Bulls led a sustained drive down to the Temple 34 prior to the end of the first quarter. Coming out of the quarter break, the Bulls handed the ball off to RB Jaret Patterson on 3rd and 10 for a loss of 1 yard. This conservative play call seemed surprising at the time, however it made more sense when freshman K Jackson Baltar, a late Temple decommit, stepped onto the field and nailed a 52 yard FG. These ~7 minute drives have become a hallmark of the 2019 Bulls, led by the ground game, and some short yardage passes mixed in.

Following the FG and kickoff, the Owls took over on their own 25 yard line. The Owls managed to convert one first down on the drive before being forced to attempt a punt on 4th and 7 from their own 47 yard line. On the punt attempt a low snap bounced between the punter Adam Berry’s legs rolling all the way back to the Temple 7 yard line, where Berry had no option but to dive on the ball.

Gifted with good field position, it took the UB offense just two plays to find their way into the end zone. RB Jaret Patterson did the work, carrying the ball for three yards on the first attempt before plunging into the end zone from four yards out on the second attempt.

The TD and the corresponding Jackson Baltar PAT gave the Bulls a 10-7 lead that they would not relinquish for the rest of the afternoon.

Another touchback on the kickoff again set the Temple offense up at their own 25. This time, the Owls would not be able to convert a single first down, as the Bulls’ defense forced a 3 and out. After an illegal formation penalty on the Temple punting unit, they punted from their own 24 to the UB 33 for a net 43 yard punt.

The UB offense fared no better on their possession, losing one yard on three plays before punting. Backup QB/P Kyle Vantrease netted 34 yards on his punt, with Isaiah Wright fair catching the punt at the Temple 34.

Temple started their drive with an incompletion and a 4 yard run by RB Jager Gardner. On 3rd and 6, Anthony Russo dropped back to pass, but was sacked by DE Ledarius Mack, resulting in a fumble that was recovered by DE Eric Black at the Temple 19.

Once again starting with great field position thanks to the UB defense, the Buffalo offense capitalized. After Kevin Marks rushes of one and four yards, Matt Myers was unable to connect with RB Dylan McDuffie on a 3rd down pass, however a roughing the passer penalty on LB Shaun Bradley resulted in a Bulls first down, and Bradley being ejected for targeting. The Bulls made the Owls pay for their mistake on the following play, with Matt Myers keeping the ball and running into the end zone from seven yards out.

Temple’s offensive struggles continued on their next drive. They managed to pick up one first down thanks to a defensive pass interference call on CB Devon Russell on the first play of the drive, but were able to pick up just four yards over their next three plays before punting. P Adam Berry netted 40 yards on a kick that was fair caught by Ron Cook at the UB 16 yard line.

Facing their first long field of the game, the Buffalo offense took over with 6:05 remaining in the half. The Bulls led a long sustained drive that resulted in a touchdown on a Kevin Marks two yard rush. While Marks got the TD, this drive was largely on the back of Jaret Patterson who carried the ball 8 consecutive times in the middle of the drive and moved the Bulls from their own 29 to the Temple 11. Jackson Baltar again converted the PAT, and the Bulls had a 24-7 lead with 0:22 remaining in the half.

After a touchback on the kickoff, Temple elected to kneel the ball and run out the remainder of the clock. The AP top 25 vote receiving Owls headed into the locker room at halftime down 17 to the Bulls.

Second Half

After deferring on the opening coinflip Temple received the kickoff to open the second half. On the first play of their drive Anthony Russo connected with WR Jadan Blue on a 43 yard pass that moved the Owls to the UB 32. In threatening position, Russo took a shot toward the end zone that was picked off by CB Aapri Washington at the UB 3 yard line.

Backed up against their own end zone, the UB offense was unable to get much going other than an 8 yard rush on third down that moved UB to their own 11 yard line, and gave the punt team some room to work with. Kyle Vantrease made the most of it and had his best punt in a UB uniform, booming a 51 yard punt that was fair caught at the Temple 38.

The Temple offense was not able to get anything going, going three and out due to three straight incompletions. A 25 yard punt by Adam Berry gave the Bulls possession at the UB 37.

The Bulls did not have much more luck on their drive. They did manage to pick up two first downs but they ended up punting from the Temple 40. Jackson Baltar pulled double duty in this game coming on as punter in areas of the field that required less length and more precision than Vantrease can provide. Baltar had a 40 yard punt that was not able to be downed before bouncing into the end zone to give the Owls a touchback.

Taking over at the 20 following the touchback, Anthony Russo threw an interception to Devon Russell at the 23 yard line on the first play of the drive.

The Bulls again capitalized on Temple’s mistakes, after a 15 yard pass from Matt Myers to WR Carlton Todd, Jaret Patterson ran it in from three yards out to make it 31-7 UB.

After a touchback on the kickoff the Temple offense again came onto the field looking to claw back into the game. After an incompletion and completions of seven and two yards to Jadan Blue, Temple was left with their third 4th and 1 of the game. At their own 34, the Owls elected to go for it, this time failing to convert on an incomplete pass.

The Bulls were unable to do anything on this drive, actually losing two yards before lining up for a field goal. The field goal was never attempted with a delay of game penalty pushing the Bulls out of field goal range, Head Coach Lance Leipold elected to punt. In Temple territory, Jackson Baltar again punted, and again recorded a touchback for a net punt of just 16 yards.

Temple’s offense came back onto the field, and made a couple of chunk completions of 10 and 13 yards to finally show some life. At their own 43 yard line, RB Re’Mahn Davis exploded for a 45 yard rush down to the UB 12. Unfortunately for Owls fans, that’s as close to the endzone as they would get on this drive, being forced to settle for a 34 yard field goal attempt that K Will Mobley was able to convert. The score stood UB 31, Temple 10.

Taking over with 1:35 remaining in the 3rd quarter, the Bulls marched from their own 25 to the Temple 31. The Bulls ran 9 plays, 8 of which were runs, and melted 6:09 off the game clock before being forced to settle for a 48 yard field goal attempt. Jackson Baltar came onto the field for another long field goal attempt, but was unable to replicate his early game success, and missed his attempt.

The missed FG attempt left Temple with the ball at their own 31 yard line. A two yard run, and a dropped pass on their first two plays left the Owls with a 3rd and 8 from their own 33. Looking to convert for a first down Anthony Russo looked over the middle, 13 yards downfield, but Bulls S Joey Banks snagged the pass which was tipped by a Temple WR, and recorded the Bulls’ third interception of the game. Banks took this one to the house giving the Bulls a 38-10 lead.

On the kickoff following the TD, K Alex McNulty left the kick short, allowing star return man Isaiah Wright to field the kick at the 9 yard line. Wright broke off a big return of 51 yards, before being tackled at the UB 40. After the big return gave Temple great field position, it took the Temple offense just three plays to take advantage. Anthony Russo connected with WR Branden Mack for a 27 yard TD catch. The Owls failed on a two point conversion attempt, bringing the score to 38-16 UB.

On the kickoff, Temple successfully attempted an onside kick. The kick was recovered by Temple S Ayron Monroe at the Temple 49 yard line. The Owls found some success moving the ball reaching the UB 19 before being faced with a 4th and 11. Down three scores with less than seven minutes remaining, Temple was forced to go for it and was unable to convert.

Taking over at the 19, the UB offense was content to run three times to force Temple to use their timeouts. The Bulls gained 8 yards before punting with 6:03 remaining in the game. Kyle Vantrease came into do the punting duties, and booted the ball 39 yards before a seven yard return by Isaiah Wright put the ball at the Temple 41.

Temple again drove the ball down to the UB 18 before being faced with a 4th and 3. The Owls again went for it, but failed to convert on an incompletion intended for Isaiah Wright.

Taking over on downs with 2:51 remaining in the game the Bulls were poised to run out the clock. On the first play, Dylan McDuffie plunged up the middle for a 4 yard gain, but lost the ball on the way to the ground. Temple recovered the fumble at the UB 33.

On the first three plays of their drive the Owls were not able to gain any yardage. Faced with a 4th and 10, Anthony Russo connected with Branden Mack for his second TD catch of the 4th quarter, this time from 33 yards out. Temple again went for the two point conversion, and failed which left the score at: UB 38, Temple 22.

Temple attempted their second onside kick of the game, this time successfully recovered by the Bulls. With 1:56 remaining, Matt Myers kneeled 3 times, sending the Bulls to the locker room with a 38-22 victory.