While making history in the process, the University at Buffalo Bulls dominated a struggling Eastern Michigan University Eagles defense for its first Mid-American Conference victory of the season this Saturday at UB Stadium.
Since its inaugural meeting in 2001, the Bulls defeated EMU (1-4, 0-2 MAC) for the first time in program history with a 42-14 victory, which included an offensive showcase by UB (3-2, 1-0 MAC).
The 28-point margin was the second largest win for the Bulls this year, falling short of a 29-point win it had against the University of Connecticut last week. However, UB’s 42 points is a season-high.
As for head coach Ron English’s Eagles, the loss extends its losing streak to four games. The last time EMU lost four straight contests happened in the first four games of last season. EMU has been outscored 166-51 in its current skid.
“Right now, obviously we’re not playing well enough to win,” English said.
The Bulls moved to a third consecutive victory after starting out with two losses on the road.
EMU’s defensive struggles continued while the team allowed four rushing touchdowns, making that nine TD’s given up in the last two games.
“The execution is just not as detailed as you need to beat a good football team,” English said. “And we know Buffalo is a good football team.”
Two of those rushing touchdowns came from Bulls senior running back Branden Oliver, who had 25 touches for 150 yards in his second game back from an injury that kept him out of week three. Oliver ran his first TD in from 60 yards out on the Bulls first drive of the game.
“We had a guy standing in the hole and he doesn’t make the tackle,” English said.
UB’s offense was also powered by sophomore quarterback Joe Licata, both in the air and on the ground.
Completing 68.2 percent of his passes, Licata went 15-of-22 for 224 yards and threw a touchdown aside from his 24 rushing yards and his first rushing TD of his career. It was his first game without an interception.
Licata’s main target was senior wide receiver Alex Neutz. BU’s leading receiver caught four passes for 94 yards and a TD, including a 40-yard catch on a drive that led to a TD on a quarterback-keeper from Licata for a 21-0 Bulls lead halfway into the second quarter.
In the other direction, Eagles junior quarterback Tyler Benz went 12-for-19 passing with 157 yards, a touchdoown and an interception.
With 4:39 to play in the first half, Benz connected to sophomore wide receiver Jay Jones on a slant from the left side up the middle for 15 yards and a TD to get the Eagles on the board, making it a 21-7 ballgame.
Bulls sophomore running back and kick returner Devin Campbell extended the lead back to 21 on the next play with a 96-yard kickoff return touchdown that he took through the middle of the field and wheeled down the right sideline once he hit the 50-yard line.
“That was huge, because we were doing some things [well],” English said.
UB’s 28-7 lead at the half was increased 2:28 into the second half after Campbell ran another one in from a yard out. Campbell also had three receptions for 26 yards.
Despite having only two carries, junior running back Ryan Brumfield led the Eagles rushing game by turning a run up the middle into a 75-yard TD – a career best – with 1:29 left in the game to make the final score 42-14.
Other Key Game Notes:
Junior running back Bronson Hill had the majority of the carries as he went 14 for 57 yards.
Backing up Benz, freshman quarterback Brogan Roback saw a lot more snaps than usual, going four-of-eight with 25 passing yards and an interception.
The Eagles will go back to New York next week when they head to West Point to face the Army Black Knights (2-4). EMU defeated Army 48-38 last season at Rynearson Stadium.
UB goes to Kalamazoo, MI next week to take on Western Michigan University in their first road MAC game of the year in hopes of its first victory away from UB Stadium.
Follow Derrick Vergolini on Twitter @derrickvergo.