The countdown was on for Jaret Patterson.
He wasn’t keeping count of how many yards he ran for, or how many touchdowns he scored. Yet it seemed as everyone around him was keeping track of the numbers, whether it was the statisticians in the press box or former UB running back Branden Oliver, who watched UB’s 49-7 win against Bowling Green from his home in Miami.
Even a police officer was keeping track of Patterson’s record-setting day Friday at UB Stadium. Patterson said the officer told him at halftime that he had 270 rushing yards and was approaching a school-best mark.
A bewildered and somewhat preoccupied Patterson responded with one word:
Then, he went out and ran for a few more yards.
Patterson finished with 298 rushing yards on 26 carries, and set a Mid-American Conference single-game record by scoring six touchdowns in a game. Patterson’s rushing and touchdown totals also the most in a single game by an FBS player this season.
Patterson has 1,626 rushing yards on 280 carries, a single-season UB rushing record. He also set a single-season UB record with 17 rushing touchdowns.
Have a day, @__JP26!
— #MACtion (@MACSports) November 29, 2019
“It’s an unbelievable feeling, but I want to give a shout-out to the guys up front,” Patterson said, referencing UB’s offensive line. “Without them, we, me, Smoke (Kevin Marks) and the whole running backs unit, we couldn’t run for that amount of yards, so hats off to them.”
Oliver, who watched the game from his home in Miami, was in awe of Patterson’s accomplishment, six years after Oliver set the single-season UB record of 1,535 rushing yards in 2013.
“I remember telling him his freshman year that he would do it,” Oliver said in a text message to The News. “I knew from his work ethic he was hungry, just how I was when I came to UB. But he understood the game a lot more earlier than I did.
“I’m proud to see him break the record, just like (James) Starks was proud to see me break his records. Ever since Starks paved the way for running backs at UB, it’s inspired us.”
Almost overshadowed in the win? The fact that Kevin Marks became UB's second 1,000-yard rusher this season. Marks finished with 107 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against Bowling Green, and has 1,008 rushing yards for the season.
“It shows a lot of things,” UB coach Lance Leipold said. “Depth. We’ve been able to attract talented players and find ways to use them. It talks about the job the guys have done up front.”
The Bulls (7-5, 5-3 MAC) notched a valuable win, nine days after it earned bowl eligibility for the third consecutive season.
That seventh win strengthened its cause to earn an invitation to a bowl game.
“Getting that seventh win, especially with a whole bunch of teams that are on the cusp of getting bowl eligibility, it’s a statement game to prove to people that we’re worth it,” said UB quarterback Kyle Vantrease, who was 10-for-14 passing for 131 yards. “That we’re good. And coach Leipold said after the game that a game like today and how we finish out the season, we proved to a lot of people that we’re a top team in the MAC.”
Bowl bids will be announced Dec. 8, but the Bahamas Bowl bid could be announced as early as this weekend, to accommodate international travel arrangements for its participating teams from the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA.
“Until (UB athletic director Mark) Alnutt tells me we’re officially playing another game, I’m not really going to find out," Leipold said. "My faith in that was kind of shattered a few years back (in 2017). I’m going to make sure we get the bid, and we accept it and go from there. And then from that moment on, our goal is going to be to get the first bowl victory in the school’s history.”
Patterson scored three touchdowns in the first quarter on runs of 81, 35 and 30 to help the Bulls take a 21-0 lead against the Falcons (3-9, 2-6). After Davon Jones cut the lead to 21-7 on a 14-yard touchdown run four minutes into the second quarter, Patterson scored two more touchdowns, a 9-yard run with 5:47 left and a 1-yard run as time expired in the first half.
UB had a 35-7 lead at halftime, and Patterson had 272 yards and five touchdowns on 19 carries, and 1,600 career yards.
His day wasn’t over, either.
After a scoreless third quarter, Patterson scored his sixth touchdown 34 seconds into the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run, and Marks added a 3-yard touchdown run with 6:22 left. The Bulls finished with 455 rushing yards, a single-game record for UB in its FBS history, from 1999 to the present.
“Jaret, of course, has continued to show why, at least I think, he’s the best player in this conference right now,” Leipold said. “Getting those type of yards is awesome, but it’s also even more impressive to me when everyone knows that’s what you’re going to do. We’re not fooling anyone, in many of these instances, that we’re running the football and it’s coming. That’s a challenge for the guys up front, that’s a challenge for the backs and challenging on the play-caller. For us to start off the game the way we did and to play at that level, it says a lot.”