On the first play of the fourth quarter, junior Ronnie Moore took a reverse for a touchdown on third-and-five from the Buffalo seven, putting the Falcons up, 28-9. The Bulls would go on to score the final 13 points of the game, scoring a touchdown with 5:13 left in regulation to pull within six.
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The Falcons ran of total of 71 plays – 25 less than Buffalo, but BGSU still outgained the Bulls, 536-500. Bowling Green also won the turnover game, as redshirt-junior linebacker James Sanford intercepted Joe Lictata – who completed 35-of-59 passes for 348 yards – on Buffalo's first drive of the second half. The interception – Sanford's first of his career – halted a drive deep in Falcon territory.
Sanford led the way on defense for BGSU, recording 13 tackles, while also registering a tackle for loss and a pass breakup to go along with his pick. The Falcon defense clamped down in the red zone all afternoon, forcing Buffalo to settle for field goals three separate times. Redshirt-sophomore linebacker Austin Valdez was second in line in tackles with 10, while senior linebacker Trent Greene had eight.
Redshirt-senior Matt Johnson completed 23-of-29 passes for 324 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing for six yards and a score. Greene led the Falcon rushing attack with 119 yards on 17 carries. Junior Fred Coppet added 75 yards on 10 rushes. Wilson had a touchdown and seven yards on three carries.
For the third time this season, sophomore Roger Lewis reached the 200-yard receiving plateau, as he finished with one score and 201 yards on 10 catches. Redshirt-senior Ryan Burbrink and redshirt-junior Gehrig Dieter finished with four catches each, for 68 yards and 24 yards, respectively. Moore had five catches for 31 yards, to go along with his rushing touchdown.
After Buffalo won the toss and elected to defer, BGSU scored a touchdown on its opening drive, driving 85 yards over 11 plays. Wilson capped off the scoring drive with a one-yard rush. After crossing midfield, Johnson found Burbrink for 37 yards down to the 12. BGSU found pay dirt four plays later.
After Buffalo answered with a 30-yard field goal, the two teams traded stops, before the Orange and Brown found the end zone yet again. Needing just three plays, Johnson kept the ball on a read option and ran 10 yards, untouched, for the score. The play prior, Lewis hauled in a 61-yard reception, beating the Buffalo defense down the Falcon sideline.
The Falcon defense then answered the bell again, setting up a six-play, 72-yard touchdown drive that lasted just 1:05. The final two plays of the drive – a 22-yard reception and a 12-yard reception – were both Johnson-to-Lewis connections.
BGSU held Buffalo to 48 rush yards on 13 attempts, while the Falcons outgained the Bulls, 360-216, in the opening half. Johnson completed 16-of-19 passes for 280 yards. Lewis led all receivers with 196 yards on nine catches, to go along with his touchdown. Burbrink had 68 yards on four catches, while Greene had a game-high 63 yards on 10 touches.
The Falcons host the University of Massachusetts on Saturday, Oct. 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. inside of Doyt L. Perry Stadium.
Buffalo returns to action Oct. 17 when it travels to Central Michigan. The Chippewas opened their MAC schedule Saturday with a win over Northern Illinois.
(Courtesy of BGSU Athletics)