The University at Buffalo can do little more after the season than wonder what might have been if their starting quarterback had stayed healthy. Tyree Jackson provided a glimpse Tuesday night when he shredded Bowling Green's defense and led to the Bulls to a 38-28 victory at UB Stadium.
Jackson, making his second start since spraining his knee Sept. 23 against Florida Atlantic, completed 23 of 37 passes for a career-high 406 yards and three touchdowns for UB. The 6-foot-7 redshirt sophomore completed 13 of 19 for 245 yards and two scores in the first half alone.
Overall, it was a good showing for UB in a game televised on ESPNU. The last time the Bulls played on ESPNU, they lost 71-68 to Western Michigan in an epic game that included seven overtimes. The loss also started the Bulls on a four-game losing streak, including three games without Jackson.
Jackson's performance Tuesday came one game after he established career highs for completions (34), attempts (50) and yards (313) in a 21-20 loss at Akron. There's no telling where the Bulls (4-6 overall, 2-4 in the Mid-American Conference) would be if he hadn't been sidelined for more than a month.
Junior wideout Anthony Johnson had eight catches for 160 yards and two TDs while becoming the fourth players in UB history with 1,000 yards receiving in a season. Johnson had five catches for 107 yards and two TDs in first half. UB rolled up 582 total yards in the game against Bowling Green's porous defense.
Jackson did a good job of spreading around the ball in the passing game. Johnson, Kamathi Holsey, Jacob Martinez and K.J. Osborn each had at least three catches and 59 yards receiving or more.
UB had a 31-21 lead in the fourth quarter, but Bowling Green refused to go away. The Falcons needed only four plays to travel 66 yards, including Scott Miller's short touchdown catch to bring them within 31-28 early in the fourth quarter. Theo Anderson's 8-yard touchdown with 8:53 left was too much for Bowling Green.
Play of the Game: It wasn't a touchdown pass, but Jackson showed off his arm strength after leaving the pocket and hitting Kamathi Holsey with a 51-yard bomb, on the run, in the first quarter and made it look effortless.
Player of the Game: Jackson is the obvious choice with Johnson not far behind, but Anderson quietly rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries for UB.
Milestones: Linebacker Khalil Hodge had 10 tackles Tuesday night, pushing his 10-game total to a school-record 129. Justin Winters had 125 stops in 14 games for the Bulls in 2008.
Fumble-itis: The two teams combined for five lost fumbles, two of which came inside the opponent's 10-yard line. Emmanuel Reed had one fumble this season before couching up the ball twice in the first half. Bowling Green has forced three fumbles inside its own 5-yard line this season.
Counting the House: About 500 people watched from the stands, including the UB marching band and the ushers. About 200 fans remained in the fourth quarter. Contributing factors, in no particular order: UB's record, Tuesday night game, Sabres playing at home, chilly night in Amherst.
Coming up next: UB plays its last road game Nov. 16 against Ball State before the season finale at home against Ohio.