For the second straight week, Buffalo hit the road only to come out flat against what should have been an overmatched MAC East opponent. A desperate Joe Licata dump off to Matt Weiser capped off an 11 play, 54 yard drive - aided by a pass interference call on 4th and 19 - and proved the winning score with under a minute left and the Bulls escaped 18-17.
Kent State controlled the second quarter and stymied the Buffalo offense for nearly long enough, but couldn't manage much against UB's excellent defense and special teams. The Golden Flashes scored only ten points on offense on the night. For the Bulls, Okezie Alozie starred with 12 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, and a sack, while Tyler Grassman put six of his eight punts inside the 20, including three inside the ten, and booted all four kickoffs for touchbacks.
Jordan Johnson and Anthone Taylor averaged 4.3 yards per carry but UB only called 35 rushes to 39 passes even as Joe Licata threw for roughly 4 yards per attempt all night. Meanwhile, George Bollas led the Kent offense on a single scoring drive in the second half that nearly held up but for Buffalo's two plodding fourth-quarter scoring drives. Bollas finished 13-21 for 107 yards and a touchdown along with 30 yards rushing in a largely unremarkable game to those without a rooting interest.
Until the fourth quarter, Buffalo looked completely inept on offense. They trailed 10-6 at the half after the disastrous second quarter that saw the offense refuse to commit to the run and struggle to move the ball. Kent's first points came from a 69-yard pick-six that bounced off Matt Weiser's hands, but the Golden Flashes could have capitalized on several more errant passes.
The end result is a third straight win and second straight on the road as UB moves to 5-4 overall and 3-2 in the MAC. In theory they can still catch Bowling Green for the MAC East Championship, but will need a much stronger performance than tonight to even manage a winning record on the season. It is, I'll remind you, a win.
Buffalo next plays in six days' time against Northern Illinois, who's coming off an upset win over Toledo. They'll be Buffalo's third straight opponent coming off more rest than the Bulls.