Clarke’s Kick Lifts Buffalo Past Miami (OH), 27-24
BUFFALO, NY – Patrick Clarke drilled a 47-yard field goal as time expired to lift the University at Buffalo football team to a 27-24 win over Miami (OH) at UB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. It was a great win for a team that had been so close to victory many times this season.
"I couldn't be more proud of those guys in that locker room. They are a very resilient group, " head coach Jeff Quinn said. "It's a long overdue feeling for our program and it will go down in the history books as one of the best endings to a football game here at UB."
Filling in for an injured Alex Zordich, Joe Licata made his first career start at quarterback on Saturday afternoon. The redshirt-freshman finished 13-of-24 for 127 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Most of the points were scored in the second half as Buffalo's defense shined in the first half. The Bulls allowed the RedHawks only 83 yards of total offense. Miami struck first with a 29-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. Clarke answered with a 49-yarder to knot the game at 3 with 4:42 left in the second quarter. The 49-yard field goal tied Clarke's career long. The game remained 3-3 at the half.
The second half turned into a shootout as the teams combined to score 45 combined points. The Bulls struck first when Branden Oliver plunged in from five yards out to put the Bulls up 10-3 with 9:49 left in the third quarter. Oliver had a big day for the Bulls as he rushed for 199 yards on 32 carries. It was his 12th career 100-yard rushing game – tying him with James Starks for second in school history.
Miami answered right back as it marched 72 yards on nine plays and Zac Dysert connected with Nick Harwell on a 10-yard pass to tie the game at 10.
On the ensuing possession, Licata found Neutz on a crossing pattern and the junior receiver sprinted 43 yards for a touchdown to give the lead right back to the Bulls, 17-10, with 4:08 left in the third quarter.
Miami again answered the call on its next possession and drove 75 yards on 13 plays. Dysert found Harwell again, this time from one yard out to the tie the game at 17.
Licata threaded a perfect pass between two defenders to Fred Lee from 21 yards out to put the Bulls ahead, 24-17, with 5:36 left in the game. The key play of the drive occurred three plays earlier when the Bulls were lined up for a field goal. Tony Daniel scooped up a low snap and rolled to his right. He was able to complete a 10-yard pass to Alex Dennison who made an acrobatic catch for the first down.
Miami was able to drive 65 yards on its last possession, converting a pair of fourth downs along the way. When Dysert completed a 5-yard touchdown pass to Harwell the game was tied with 23 seconds left.
Freshman Devin Campbell came up big on the ensuing kickoff as he took the return a career-best 47 yards to the Miami 35-yard line. After Oliver scampered for five yards, the stage was set for Clarke. The freshman kicker drilled the 47-yarder through the uprights to give the Bulls their first ever last second regulation win via a field goal in their Division I-A era.
"I was ready to go, I was just ready to get my chance at the game winner," Clarke said of the game-winning kick. "My team had faith in me. I knew if I had the chance, I would come through for the team. As soon as I kicked it, I knew it was good."
Dysert, who passed Ben Roethlisberger as Miami's all-time leading passer in the game, was held in check for much of the afternoon by an aggressive UB secondary. While Dysert did finish with 242 yards passing and three touchdowns, the Bulls defense had season-high eight pass breakups in the game – one more than their previous four games combined. Leading the way was redshirt-freshman Marqus Baker who had a career-best four pass breakups. Derek Brim, starting his third straight game, had another standout performance. The former walk-on had a career-high 10 tackles, a tackle for loss and a pass breakup.
The Bulls were relentless with the pressure all day, totaling seven tackles for loss. Steven Means had two tackles for loss, including a sack. Lee Skinner had 1.5 sacks and Colby Way joined in on a sack as well.
Buffalo will cap off their four-game homestand next Saturday when it hosts Western Michigan at 3:30 pm.