BOWLING GREEN, Ohio — University at Buffalo wide receiver Anthony Johnson appeared to have a highlight-reel play when he caught Tyree Jackson’s 28-yard pass on second-and-2 from the Bowling Green 38-yard line.
Officials ruled that Johnson didn’t have control of the ball as he fell to the turf at Doyt Perry Stadium. The reversal wiped out a play that would have moved the Bulls well into the Falcons’ end of the field, but the Bulls simply turned to another option on their next play.
Jaret Patterson rushed for four yards on third-and-2, which allowed the Bulls to sustain their fourth drive in a 44-14 rout Friday at Bowling Green. Four plays later, the freshman running back scored his second touchdown, an 11-yard run that helped the Bulls increase a 12-point lead to 20 with less than 10 minutes left in the first half.
Patterson, Jared Marks and Emmanuel Reed paced UB's ground game, which finished with 332 yards and four touchdowns. Patterson and Marks each scored two touchdowns, while Reed had a season-high 109 yards on 15 carries.
The group’s versatility impressed Patterson, who helped UB clinch its first MAC East Division championship since 2008.
“It’s real big,” Patterson said. “Our position coach (Andy Kotelnicki) told us at the beginning of the week that we were going to take a pounding and that everybody was going to get a chance to run the ball. You saw that today.”
Patterson, Marks and Reed were three of six Bulls to get carries against the Falcons. Patterson's first touchdown gave the Bulls (10-2, 7-1 MAC) a 7-0 lead on a 40-yard touchdown run at 5:27 of the first quarter, and finished with 88 yards on 11 carries.
Marks scored on a 1-yard run with 55 seconds left in the second quarter, then scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard carry with 4:33 left in the third.
“We need everyone in the running back room to contribute,” said Marks, who had 63 yards on 21 carries. “You have Jared’s style, and then you have me, you have Theo (Anderson), and you have (Dylan) McDuffie, the powerhouse guys. But everything falls in place, and it’s so helpful to have everyone to get you to this point.”
Hodge hits the mark: Linebacker Khalil Hodge registered seven tackles Friday, bringing him to 406. Hodge is the fourth player in UB history to record 400 tackles, and the first to do it in three seasons. Hodge is third all-time for UB in tackles, passing Mike Laipple (402). Davonte Shannon has the school record at 461.
In hot pursuit: Patterson, a freshman, has 874 yards on 150 carries this season. He needs 44 yards to break the school's freshman rushing record of 917 yards, set by Aaron Leeper in 2002.
Not the best day: UB kicker Adam Mitcheson went 1 for 3 on point-after attempts in the first half. The Falcons blocked his kick with 2:27 left in the first quarter, then missed a second extra-point attempt 20 seconds into the second quarter, after Brandon Williams returned a fumble recovery 69 yards for a touchdown. The Bulls lifted Mitcheson, a senior, in favor of Alex McNulty, who kicked a pair of extra points and a 21-yard field goal in the second half.
Mitcheson is 46 of 54 on extra points this season.
Possession counts: The Bulls held the ball for 42 minutes, 30 seconds of a 60-minute game Friday against the Falcons, including more than 12 minutes of possession time in the fourth quarter. UB also went 11 of 18 on third-down conversions, and 3 for 3 on fourth-down conversions.