Emmanuel Reed, starting only his second game at running back, became a workhorse for the University at Buffalo in a 27-13 victory over Kent State Saturday.
The 5-foot-8, 190-pound sophomore from Crestview, Fla., carried the ball 33 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns as the Bulls opened their Mid-American Conference schedule with a solid victory before 12,355 at Dix Stadium.
With junior Drew Anderson making his first collegiate start in place of injured quarterback Tyree Jackson, the Bulls learned heavily on Reed and he responded in a big way for coach Lance Leipold's team. Reed scored his first touchdown on an 18-yard run with 8:01 left in the opening quarter after he set it up with runs of 1, 6 and 55 yards.
The next time UB got the ball, Reed scored from 1 yard out to finish an 85-yard drive in 11 plays.
Kent State, which averaged only 78 passing yards for its four previous games, struck back on just one play, on a 75-yard bomb from quarterback Dustin Crum to Kavious Price.
Reed got his third touchdown on an 8-yard run with 9:18 left in the first half. UB needed only two plays to score after Kobe Green blocked a Kent State punt. The Golden Flashes punter Derek Adams recovered the ball at his 8-yard line but possession went over to the Bulls.
The home team wasn't discouraged, though. Kent State cut the halftime margin to 20-13 on field goals from 33 and 20 yards by Shane Hynes, the latter coming with 18 seconds left in the half.
The only scoring in the second half was a 5-yard pass from Anderson to tight end Zac Lefebvre with 4:59 left in the period. That capped a 99-yard drive by the Bulls following a goal-line stand which preserved the lead. UB stopped Justin Rankin a yard short of the goal-line on third and 2, then stopped Bollas on fourth down.
Taking over at their 1, the Bulls got out of the hole when the 6-5, 230-pound Anderson ran 64 yards from the UB 2 to the Kent State 34. Anderson completed two passes to put the Bulls at the 10. When Reed was stopped for 1 yard on third-and-2 UB brought on Adam Mitcherson for a 26-yard field goal. The three-points came off the board, though, when Mitcheson was roughed on the kick and the resulting penalty gave UB a first down at the 4. That set up the short scoring pass to Lefebvre, a redshirt freshman from Victor.
Anderson completed 11 of 18 passes for 142 yards. He threw one interception.
UB had 235 yards rushing while Kent State, which has punished the Bulls on the ground in recent years, had 124. What was completely out of character for the Golden Flashes was their 320 passing yards, which included the 75-yarder to Price and a 54-yard completion from Bollas to Trey Harrell in the fourth quarter.
One play after the long completion to Harrell, though, junior cornerback Brandon Williams intercepted a pass thrown by Price on a trick play with 3:53 left. UB ran off 2:32 of the remaining time before losing the ball on downs at the Kent State 24, then stopping one last series.
Kahlil Hodge (two tackles), Chuck Harris, Brandon Williams and Justin Brandon were credited with the tackles on UB's goal-line stand in the third quarter.
Linebacker Hodge led the Bulls with 11 tackles. Hodge, Jordan Collier, Chuck Harris and Damone Harris were each credited with a sack for UB. Collier, a junior linebacker from Lovejoy, Ga., had three tackles for loss. Brandon Williams is also from Lovejoy, Ga., not to be confused with the Lovejoy neighborhood of Buffalo.
Reed didn't make his first start for UB until last week's victory over Florida Atlantic when he carried 26 times for 107 yards but no touchdowns. The previous week against Colgate, he took over from starter Johnathan Hawkins and ran 22 times for 120 yards and his touchdown in college. Last season he played in only three games with seven carries for 33 yards. He now has 390 yards rushing in 88 attempts this season and four rushing touchdowns.
"There were a lot of things we can build on from today," Leipold said. "We can go win games on the road; we can build off a lead; get turnovers when we need them; create big plays on special teams. I've very proud of our guys and our staff."
A tough test awaits UB next. The Bulls will face defending MAC champion Western Michigan at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at UB stadium.