Buffalo Drops Season Finale to Bowling Green
BUFFALO, NY – Facing a stout Bowling Green defense, the University at Buffalo football team dropped its season finale to the Falcons, 21-7, at Columbus Crew Stadium on Friday afternoon. The MAC's top defense held the Bulls to a season-low 197 yards of total offense, including just 29 yards rushing.
Despite the offensive struggles, the UB defense kept the Bulls in the game all afternoon. The Bulls allowed just 82 yards on the ground and recorded three interceptions in the game. Najja Johnson had a pair of interceptions in the game. Lee Skinner tied a career high with 13 tackles. Khalil Mack had 10 tackles and 2.5 for loss. In the final game of his career, Steven Means had nine tackles, including 2.5 for loss.
"It was a very difficult loss," head coach Jeff Quinn said. "I was really proud of the way our defense competed today. They were prepared and they really delivered some unbelievable performances out of a number of guys. Offensively, on the flip side, we weren't able to do much. Give credit to Bowling Green. They came in here and had a good game plan. We just couldn't get into rhythm. That was really the disappointed part of this. We didn't play very well up front. The statistics show that we did not play the way we were capable of playing especially on that side of the ball."
The game got off to a great start for Buffalo as Johnson came up with an interception on the game's first play. On Bowling Green's second possession, Adam Redden blocked his second punt in as many games and UB recovered at the Buffalo 48. However, the Bulls couldn't capitalize either time and the game was scoreless after the first quarter.
The game remained scoreless until Bowling Green scored two touchdowns late in the first half. The Falcons first scored on a one-yard run with 5:26 left in the half. BG quarterback Matt Schilz found Shaun Johnson for 48-yard touchdown with 1:56 left in the second quarter and the Falcons led, 14-0, at the half.
After Bowling Green scored another touchdown with 2:27 left in the third quarter, the Bulls rallied in the fourth quarter. Colby Way picked off Schilz for his first career interception early in the final quarter. Two plays later, Alex Dennison punched it in from four yards out to cut the Bowling Green lead to 21-7 with 9:59 left in the game.
The Bulls regained possession with 5:09 left and drove it all the way down to the Bowling Green 9-yard line. But Buffalo turned it over on downs, ending any comeback threat.
Alex Neutz had nine catches for 92 yards in the game to bring his season-total to 1,015 yards. He joins Naaman Roosevelt and Drew Haddad as just the third player in school history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
For the first time this season, the Bulls had difficulty running the football. Buffalo had the services of Branden Oliver and Devin Campbell although neither was 100 percent. Oliver had nine carries for 20 yards and Campbell finished with 26 yards on six carries.
Joe Licata finished 13-of-30 for 168 yards. However, the redshirt-freshman signal caller was sacked seven times.
Friday was the final game for 12 UB seniors.
"I'm proud of our senior class. This one game does not define our football team. It doesn't define our senior class." Quinn said. "We had some tough games early on, but they hung in there and made sure that this team had a lot of fight, a lot of heart, a lot of determination. And that's what I'm proud of most about that senior class. I know they are hurting in there. But they started something and now what we have to do is finish it."
Buffalo finished the 2012 campaign 4-8 and 3-5 in MAC play.