The Ohio Bobcats became the first bowl-eligible team in the country on Saturday afternoon with a 38-31 victory over the Buffalo Bulls.
The Bulls jumped out to a 14-0 lead behind a powerful rushing attack before the Bobcats found their footing. Ohio rallied with three touchdowns, thanks in part to three Buffalo fumbles, to take a 21-14 halftime lead.
The Bulls tied the game at 24 late in third quarter, however Ohio closed with two Ryan Boykin touchdowns to seal the deal.
Buffalo did creep to within a touchdown with 10 seconds remaining, but the Bobcats secured the onside kick to move to 6-0 on the season.
Buffalo ran its no-huddle offense to perfection, driving 75 yards in 10 plays to take the lead on a 3-yard touchdown run by Devin Campbell.
When his team was down 14-0 and needed a spark, Bobcat freshman running back Daz’mond Patterson returned the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, tying the longest kick return in school history.
Both coaches dug deep into their bag of tricks in this one. In the second quarter, Ohio tried and failed a fake field goal from the Bulls' 12-yard-line.
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Buffalo cut the deficit to 24-21 in the third quarter on a 55-yard reverse pass from wildcat quarterback Alex Dennison to receiver Alex Neutz. The Bulls kept another drive alive with a fake punt and run by punter Tyler Grassman.
Ohio’s run defense was shredded early and often. The Bulls rushed for 131 yards in the first quarter alone and finished with 313 yards on the ground.
Ohio was without a number of key contributors. DE Tremayne Scott (foot), OT Mike McQueen (foot), DT Brandon Purdum (finger), FS Xavier Hughes (shoulder) RB Kyle Hammonds, WR Donte Foster (back) and S Gerald Moore (ankle) all missed the game due to injury. Buffalo played without star RB Branden Oliver.
The Bobcats will welcome the Akron Zips (1-4) to Peden Stadium next Saturday for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 2:00 pm EST.