ATHENS, GA – The University at Buffalo football team put up a valiant effort before falling to sixth-ranked Georgia, 45-23, in front of 92,446 at Sanford Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Bulls put up 347 yards of offense against one of the nation's top defenses and trailed by only eight at the half before losing to the Bulldogs.
"I'm not going to tolerate any loser talk," Quinn said. "We are a good football team and I think there were times today that you saw that. There were also times that showed we have some things to work on to get us ready to play in the Mid-American Conference."
Alex Zordich and Branden Oliver led the Bulls' offensive attack. The duo combined to rush for 194 yards and each scored a touchdown. Oliver gained 111 yards on 30 carries, while Zordich ran for a career-high 83 yards on 14 attempts.
Georgia took its opening possession and drove 53 yards for a touchdown. A confident Buffalo team responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive of its own and Zordich found Alex Neutz for a 16-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 7-6. However, Patrick Clarke failed to convert the extra point.
UB special team troubles continued on the next play as Georgia return man, Todd Gurley, took the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulldogs ahead, 14-6.
Georgia would score a field goal and a touchdown on two of its next three possessions to take a 24-6 lead and seemingly had control of the game. However, the Bulls weren't going to go away quietly.
On its next possession, UB got its run game going, ignited by a 36-yard run by Oliver. The junior running back also added a 17-yarder on the drive. A 19-yard completion from Zordich to Jimmy Gordon gave the Bulls first and goal at the 4-yard line. Oliver capped the Bulls' 94-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
"Overall, offensively to come up with a 94-yard drive against one of the best defenses Georgia has seen in a while gives us a great deal of confidence that we can move the ball when we put our minds and our hearts to it," Quinn said.
The Bulls' defense stepped up on Georgia's next possession and forced a three-and-out. Colby Way recorded his second sack of the afternoon to force a Bulldog punt. Georgia-native Cordero Dixon returned the punt 33 yards to give UB the ball at the Bulldogs' 48-yard line. UB drove the ball down to the 1-yard line, but had to settle for a Clarke 18-yard field goal, but still trailed just 24-16 at halftime.
At the half, the Bulls had 243 yards of total offense compared to Georgia's 188.
The Bulldogs struck quickly in the second half and took just six plays to score a touchdown to take a 31-16 lead. Georgia began to move the ball better in the second half. A late third-quarter touchdown and 55-yard touchdown run by Gurley midway through the fourth put the Bulldogs ahead, 45-16.
Buffalo put together an impressive 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on its final possession of the game. Zordich connected with Gordon for 38 yards on the drive's first play to set the tone. Zordich capped the drive with his feet with a 2-yard touchdown plunge.
Defensively, the Bulls had more sacks (3) and tackles for loss (5) than the vaunted Georgia defense (2 and 4). Way led the UB effort with two sacks to go along with six tackles. Scott Pettigrew led all tacklers with nine.
The Bulls will return home and host Morgan State next Saturday at 6:00 pm.
The crowd of 92,446 a the game was the second largest crowd Buffalo has ever played in front of behind the 107,506 at Penn State in 2007.
Most points ever scored against an SEC opponent. The Bulls scored seven against Auburn in 2006 and 10 at Tennessee last season.
Tight ends played a key role in the game. Gordon and Alex Dennison had three catches apiece. To put that in perspective, last season UB tight ends had a total of 11 catches all season.
The 94-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter was Buffalo's longest since driving 98 yards for a score against Akron last season.
Oliver's 111 yards rushing was his ninth career 100-yard rushing game.