Coming into this weekend’s matchup against Kent State (2-7, 1-4 Mid-American Conference) the Buffalo football team sat just one win away from being bowl eligible for the first time since the 2008 season.
On Saturday, the Bulls (6-2, 4-0 MAC) were successful as they defeated the Golden Flashes 41-21 extending their winning streak to six games—the longest in school history since 1959.
It was the third time this season the Bulls scored 40 or more points.
The Buffalo offense amassed 491 of total offense behind the legs of senior running back Branden Oliver, who finished the day with 31 rushes for 185 yards and four touchdowns.
Sophomore quarterback Joe Licata finished the game 20 of 31 with 285 yards and two touchdowns. His 285 yards passing tied his career-high.
On the defensive side of the ball, senior linebacker Khalil Mack recorded 9 tackles and an interception. It was Mack’s third interception of the season.
Player of the game: Branden Oliver
The final score of the game was a clear indicator that Oliver is back to his normal self.
He was the star in today’s game with 31 carries for 185 yards and four touchdowns—the most touchdowns by a Buffalo running back in the school's Division 1A history.
What was most impressive about his performance was his ability to lower his shoulder on multiple occasions to gain extra yards, including his second touchdown run of the game when he ran over a Kent State defensive back on his way to the end zone.
Unsung Hero: Offensive Line
Despite losing senior offensive lineman Jasen Carlson last week, the Bulls were able to create running room up front for Oliver to run.
Behind the offensive line Buffalo amassed 491 yards of total offense and helped Oliver rush over 100 yards for the fourth straight game.
Turning Point in the game: Khalil Mack interception
After a pass interference call on sophomore defensive back Okezie Alozie set up the Golden Flashes with a 1st and 10 at the Buffalo 14, senior linebacker Khalil Mack picked off a Colin Reardon pass on the next play and returned it 45 yards to the Kent State 46-yard line.
The Bulls took advantage of the turnover and put together a four play 66 yard drive that was capped off by a 17-yard touchdown run by Oliver to go up 20-7 with 29 seconds left in the second quarter.
Buffalo will return home and have a little over a week to prepare for its next matchup against MAC opponent Ohio.
The 6-2 Bobcats are coming off of a 41-6 win at home against Miami Ohio (0-8, 0-3 MAC) a game in which they put up 535 yards of total offense.
Ohio currently ranks 3rd in the MAC in scoring offense averaging 32.9 points per game with a 29 touchdowns on the season.
The Bobcats are led by their senior quarterback Tyler Tettleton, who has 129 completions on 190 attempts for 1,723 yards, 14 touchdowns and an interception.
Buffalo is 4-0 at home this season and look to continue their success and sit atop the MAC East in first place after a Bowling Green (5-3, 3-1 MAC) loss to Toledo.
Kick-off for the marquee matchup versus Ohio is slated for Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m. at UB Stadium.