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Joe Freedy is not one to wear his personal meditations on his sleeve.

The University at Buffalo quarterback usually is a soft-spoken man. He's known as a steady leader in the huddle. Nothing too flashy.

But after Freedy drove the Bulls on a flawless, 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive in the first quarter of UB's landmark, 20-17 victory over Bowling Green Saturday night, he pointed to the stands and then to the sky before slapping himself in the chest.

The junior from Bethel Park, Pa., was on fire. He completed all seven pass attempts for 67 yards, five first downs and a score.

But the finger-pointing gesture showed he wasn't too worked up to stop and think about his family . . . especially one member who wasn't there.

"My sister's up from Charlotte and said she would be under the Outback sign and to 'Give me a holler after your first touchdown,' " Freedy said with a chuckle. "So I was saying hello to her and my brother up in heaven."

Freedy dedicated his first college triumph to his late older brother and God. He thinks both had a hand in helping the Bulls snap their 18-game losing streak.

"Every game I think about it, and it's a lot easier to praise the Lord when things are going your way, which is a shame," Freedy said. "But I really wanted this one for my brother and the glory of God."

Dave Freedy would be 33 today, but the Notre Dame graduate and Vanderbilt medical student died from stomach cancer when Joe was in high school.

Dave's little brother was as hot on his last drive as he was on that early possession. Freedy connected on all four of his passes for 38 yards before Marquis Dwarte scampered 27 yards to pay dirt.

"The last drive everything clicked, and thank God it worked out," Freedy said. "My brother's probably up there laughing about it."

UB won't have long to celebrate its victory. It must immediately prepare to face Marshall in Huntington, W.Va. The Thundering Herd has won the Mid-American Conference three years in a row and beat the Bulls, 59-3, last year in Amherst.

"We're going to take that confidence and all the positives, and we're going to give them the best we have in us," Freedy said.

There no doubt was a sense of relief in UB's locker room Saturday night. Coach Craig Cirbus had told his players they were improving, but he knew that a victory would be the only true tangible reward.

"It's a lot of affirmation on all that hard work. There were so many days of doubt that a human being goes through," Cirbus said. "It allows them now to see some evidence. We approached them every day on faith, which is belief without evidence. When you see a little evidence, that makes the job a lot easier."

When Bowling Green was forced to punt on its opening drive, it marked the first time this season UB prevented an opponent from scoring on its first possession. Falcons kicker Kyle Turano missed a 35-yard field-goal attempt on the Falcons' second series and a 27-yard try on their third.

Bowling Green didn't score until its fourth possession, which was set up by a 41-yard punt return to the UB 13.

The game will be broadcast today on Adelphia Cable's HTTV at 1 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

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