UB's young running backs led the way. Redshirt-freshman Kevin Marks rushed for a career-high 167 yards and a touchdown. It was the second-most rushing yards by a UB freshman in the Bulls' FBS era behind Marquis Dwarte's 173 yards against Akron in 2000. Freshman Jaret Patterson also rushed for a career high with 121 yards and a score.
"I think the thing that is really impressive is that when you have two young backs that are breaking tackles and getting yards after contact, it's pretty special, head coach Lance Leipold said."
After Central Michigan kicked a field goal on its first possession, the Bulls drove right down the field and scored a touchdown on their first possession. Tyree Jackson found Tyler Mabry on a 6-yard pass for the TD. The Bulls would never trail again.
Midway through the second quarter, Jackson scored on a five-yard run to extend the UB lead to 14-3. Adam Mitcheson drilled a 26-yard field goal to give the Bulls a 17-3 lead at the half.
Central Michigan pulled back within one score when Romello Ross tallied on a 10-yard run at 5:24 of the third period. However, Marks quickly silenced the Chippewas faithful when, on the first play of Buffalo's ensuing drive, he ripped off a 70-yard touchdown run to re-establish a 14-point advantage for the Bulls.
Late in the third quarter, Tommy Lazzaro hit JaCorey Sullivan with a 23-yard TD strike to make it a 24-17 game.
But, following a Lewis interception, Patterson rumbled in from 14 yards out to make it 31-17 early in the fourth quarter and end the Chippewa threat.
Central Michigan had 348 yards of offense, with 172 coming through the air and 174 rushing. Lazarro struggled against the Bulls defense, completing just 9 of 23 for 117 yards with 1 TD and four interceptions. CMU also hurt its cause with 10 penalties for 80 yards.
The Bulls rolled up 434 yards of total offense. With the running game working so effectively, Jackson only attempted 20 passes, throwing for 127 yards and a score.
Khalil Hodge had seven tackles and Chuck Harris added six stops to lead the defense.
"We've been through enough close games," Leipold said. "I think our upperclassmen and our leaders have understood that's the way this conference is and you're going to have to play 60 minutes or 60 minutes-plus each and every Saturday. You've got to be able to keep going and our guys have really embraced that."
At 5-1, the Bulls are off to their best start since 1996 and their first 2-0 start to MAC play since the 2013 campaign. Buffalo will return home next Saturday to host Akron at UB Stadium. Kickoff is slated for noon.
Central Michigan continues its homestand Saturday when it hosts Ball State. (3 p.m. ET)
(Courtesy of UB Athletics)