Bulls Take A Bite Out of Runnin Bulldogs
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo football team dominated in all phases of the game in a 40-3 Homecoming day victory over Gardner-Webb before 15,812 fans. Buffalo rushed for 250 yards - led by Ike Nduka who had 131 yards on 24 carries – and threw for 258 yards, with senior flanker Brett Hamlin recording six receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown. The Bulls jumped to a 33-3 halftime lead and cruised in the second half to their third consecutive Homecoming Day win. Nduka became the first Bull in the Division I-A era to go for over 100 yards in his first two starts.
"That was our best overall game we've played in a long time," said head coach Turner Gill, after the most lopsided win during his four-year tenure. "The guys played with great intensity, the execution was excellent, I liked where our passion was and I liked the way our coaches worked with them during the week and saw it translate into the game."
The Bulls opened the scoring after taking advantage of a special teams mistake by Gardner-Webb. Junior cornerback Sherrod Lott recovered a muffed punt at the G-W 33-yard line after the Bulls' initial possession of the game.
Nduka ripped off a 25-yard gain, and after a pass interference call near the goal line, Nduka punched it in from one yard out to put the Bulls up 6-0 with 11:40 remaining. The PAT kick, however, was blocked.
The Runnin' Bulldogs cut into the Bulls' lead on its first possesion, driving 38 yards in nine plays, capped by a 44-yard field goal by Ryan Gates with 6:52 remaining in the first quarter.
Buffalo responded with a bruising 75-yard drive, in 10 plays, with eight of the 10 plays on the ground. Brandon Thermiluscame off the bench to gain 32 yards on four carries, including the final yard, for his second score of the season. The Bulls started the drive with a 17-yard completion from Maynard to Rack, while Hamlin had a diving catch on third down to keep the drive alive.
From there on, the Bulls dominated the remainder of the contest, scoring on three straight straight drives in the second quarter to open up a 33-3 halftime lead.
Maynard hit Hamlin for a 50-yard catch and run to set up the first score of the second quarter that was capped by a one-yard pass from Maynard to Rack, where Rack made an acrobatic catch over a Gardner-Webb defender in the back of the end zone.
After forcing a G-W punt on a three-and-out, the Bulls struck again. This time Thermilus had a 21-yard run and Maynard connected with Hamlin on a diving 39-yard strike down the center of the field to get the Bulls on the march. Maynard would eventually find Rack again – for the fifth time this year in the end zone – on a nine-yard toss across the middle.
The Bulls would tack on another second-quarter touchdown when Nduka dove over the pile from one yard out. Again, Hamlin had the key grab with a 28-yard toss from Maynard.
The Bulls' defense had its most dominant performance of the season. Buffalo held the Bulldogs to a season-low 215 yards and had a season-high three sacks, two of them by redshirt freshman Steven Means.
The Bulls close a three-game homestand next Saturday with a 3:30 pm kickoff against Mid-American Conference East rival Akron.
BULL-etins: This was the first-ever meeting betwteen the teams...the 33 points scored in the first half are the most UB has scored in the first half since scoring 36 against Toledo (10/13/07)...UB was 5-for-5 in the red zone in the first half. All five scores were touchdowns...the win for the Bulls is their third straight win on Homecoming...the Bulls went over 500 yards of total offense for the second time this season. The first was against Pittsburgh (9/12)...the Bulls held their opponent without a touchdown for the first time since defeating Temple 9-3 (8/31/06)...the 40-3 victory was the largest point differential in the Turner Gill era and the biggest win since defeating Ohio 44-0 in 2001...the one-yard touchdown run by Ike Nduka was the first touchdown run of his career...the two-yard touchdown run by Brandon Thermilus was his second of the season and the 12th of his career...Namaan Roosevelt's catch in the second quarter was his 44th straight game with a catch, second in the nation...the 50-yard pass play to Brett Hamlin was a career-long for the receiver. His previous long was 46 at Western Michigan (10/1/05)...The one-yard touchdown reception by Jesse Rack was his fourth of the season...Zach Maynard has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all six games this season...the second one-yard touchdown run by Ike Nduka was the first multiple touchdown rushing performance of the season...the sack by Steven Means in the third quarter was the first of his career...the touchdown pass to Brett Hamiln was the third of the game for Zach Maynard and the first of the season for Hamiln...Steven Means is the first UB player to record two sacks in a game since Trevor Scott recorded two against Baylor (9/22/07). Means finished with a career-high four tackles...Naaman Roosevelt had five catches on the day, upping his career total to 238, tying him for seventh in MAC history. He is also just two catches shy of the school record which is held by Drew Haddad (1996-99)...Brett Hamlin moved into 8th place all-time in career receiving yards and now has 1,702 for his career...Brandon Thermilus had a season-high 82 yards rushing...Zach Maynard finished 16-for-20 for a career-best 80% completion percentage...Gordon DuBois had a career-high three tackles...Mike Newton had a career-best three pass breakups, giving him 27 in his career, sixth-best all-time...Josh Thomas also had a career-best three pass breakups for the Bulls.