BUFFALO, NY -- Buffalo’s Joe Licata and Anthone Taylor proved too much for visiting Miami as the Bulls posted a 35-27 win over the RedHawks Saturday at UB Stadium.
It was a much different game than last year’s 44-7 UB blowout in Oxford, the some things remained the same. The Buffalo offensive line gave Licata enough time to scan his receiving options and he responded by completing 28 of 38 for 276 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.
The Bulls line also helped junior running back Anthone Taylor set a new career high as he carried 36 times for 222 yards and three touchdowns – all in the second half as Buffalo came back twice – once from a 21-14 deficit and once from a 27-26 margin.
"It was a tough battle tonight, but it was a lot of fun to secure that win," head coach Jeff Quinn said. "I was really pleased with our leadership. We came in at halftime and really challenged them. A couple key guys stepped up for us and it really impacted our entire team.”
The winning drive covered 67 yards in eight plays and showed the Bulls diversity. Licata completed 3 of 4 passes. Taylor picked up one of three first downs on the way with a 21-yard run. He also finished the drive with a one-yard run up the middle at 11:19.
Taylor’s rushes not only provided scores. They often provided first downs and UB finished with a huge advantage in time of possession (38:44 to 21:16). The only quarter in which it was close was the second (UB 7:43 to MU 7:17).
Miami, which has struggled mightily in rushing the football over the past several years, actually eclipsed the century mark itself with 133 yards on the ground. Dawan Scott, who had recently been moved from a receiving role running back, provided 61 of those yards in one chunk as he ripped off a long second quarter touchdown run. However, Scott was suffered a leg injury in the second half and did not return. Spencer McInnis carried 13 times for 49 tough yards for most of the remaining Miami rushing yards.
David Frazier had four catches for 97 yards, while tight end Alex Welch registered 59 yards and a TD on two receptions for MU. Sophomore Jared collected three receptions, with two going for scores.
Buffalo receiving was paced by Jacob Martinez, who notched eight receptions for 94 yards and a one TD. Matt Weiser also had a touchdown among his four catches. Eight Bulls had at least two receptions, with Weiser, Devon Hughes and Rob Willoughby each recording two as Licata repeatedly found receivers on short or intermediate routes – particularly across the middle or on drag patterns.
Miami opened the scoring with a six-play, 78-yard drive. Hendrix, who completed 12 of 38 for 238 yards and three TDs on the day, hit Murphy with a six-yarder at 12:35 and Patterson added the PAT.
Buffalo quickly responded with its own drive, culminating in a Licata to Martinez pass for nine yards. Later in the stanza, a Licata pump fake set up a 31-yard TD completion to TD Weiser, who simply bumped off the last man in his path.
"Every time they needed a play, Licata made a play. He's a great football player," Miami head coach Chuck Martin said.
Buffalo held a 14-7 lead with 3:21 left in the first quarter, but both defenses settled in for a while. The only score before intermission was Scott’s 61-yard burst up the right side to forge a 14-all tie.
Scott was injured on the sixth play of a seven-play Miami scoring drive in the third quarter. Hendrix found Murphy in the corner from 27-yards out on the next snap.
As they had after Miami’s first touchdown, the Bulls quickly responded.
A 15-yard personal foul penalty put UB in a second-and-20 hold, but Tallor quickly ripped off 16 yards and Licata then completed three straight (15, 11, 26). Taylor’s 13-yard run for a score finished the drive. However, Clark’s PAT attempt was wide and UB trailed 21-20.
After Miami went three-and out, Buffalo came back with another Taylor TD. The Bulls went for two points on the PAT, but Quinten Rollins intercepted for the RedHawks.
Miami grabbed the lead one last time when Hendrix found his tight end Welch down the middle. The senior, who like Hendrix transferred in from Notre Dame for a final collegiate campaign, bounced on tackles to complete the 32-yard touchdown play. When MU decided to try a two-point conversion, Hendrix was stopped well short, but MU was still up, 27-26.
Taylor got his final touchdown on Buffalo’s next drive and Clarke added a 37-yard field goal to complete the day’s scoring.
“I was really pleased with the way these kids kept responding. [Miami] kept challenging us and they kept responding and in the end we were able to close it out for our first Mid-American Conference win,” Quinn said.
"They did a good job, and they made the plays they needed to make to hold us off," Martin said.
Miami, which currently holds the longest Football Bowl Subdivision losing streak (21) will host UMass next week (2:30 p.m. ET) Buffalo is at Bowling Green (3:30 p.m. ET).