Buffalo steamrolled Temple, 38-22, on Saturday at UB Stadium in a game that the Owls didnt marginally wake up until the fourth quarter, when the game had well been decided.
Temple (2-1) now must prepare to face former Owls coach Geoff Collins and Georgia Tech, which visits Lincoln Financial Field on Saturday.
Buffalo Bulls Defeat Temple Owls 38-22
To be dead honest with you, they are a hurting group, they are kids and it is my job to protect them, Carey said. In this case — I wont do that all the time to you, you guys know that — this one, they are hurting a little bit, so you have got to keep that in mind.
They forced multiple turnovers and the Offense put together a solid series to score once more in the fourth before Banks put the game away with a pick-6 that put UB up 38-10.
If they could talk, the players likely would have pointed out the way the Buffalo offensive line and running game enjoyed sustained dominance.
Buffalo though collected themselves, drove down the field and freshman Jackson Baltar hit a 52 yard field goal. At 7-3 UB was keeping themselves from falling apart.
For the underdog Bulls to seemingly have a chance, they would have to win the time of possession and take advantage of their two major strengths, a veteran offensive line and a running game that entered the day first in the Mid-American Conference in rushing, averaging 225 yards per game.
Buffalo rushed for 217 yards and four touchdowns on 58 carries. Even though the Bulls averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, they won the time of possession 37:09 to 22:51.
For a team coming off a 35-17 loss to Liberty, Buffalo did an about-face in this one, executing the time of possession game plan to perfection.
Against a team like Temple our theory was if we could find a way to establish a running game, use clock when we can, try to get the game into the fourth quarter and find a way to win it, Buffalo coach Lance Leipold said.
The only thing flawed with the theory was that Buffalo led 31-10 entering the fourth quarter, so there was no need to find a way to win by then. Temple would eventually get down 38-10 before scoring the final two touchdowns.
Our guys really worked hard this week, especially playing Temple coming off their big win and our performance at Liberty, Leipold said.
He was referring to Temples 20-17 win over then No. 21 Maryland. The Owls were coming in sky-high and Buffalo was picking itself off the mat.
Owls quarterback Anthony Russo completed 25 of 51 for 258 yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He often overthrew receivers, but Temple also dropped a good number of passes.
After Russo hit Isaiah Wright for a 2-yard touchdown on the Owls first possession, things snowballed for the Owls.
Leading 7-3, Temple had a bad snap in punt formation that resulted in a 40-yard loss, giving the Bulls the ball at the Temple 7-yard line. Buffalos Jaret Patterson (27 carries, 133 yards, two TDs) scored two plays later and Buffalo would take a 10-7 lead with 11:32 left in the second quarter.
A strip sack of Russo by Ledarius Mack, brother of Chicago Bears All-Pro Khalil Mack, that was recovered by Eric Black at the Temple 19, led to another score.
The drive was kept alive when Temple linebacker Shaun Bradley was ejected for targeting redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Myers on a third down incompletion.
Another touchdown with 22 seconds left in the first half made it 24-7 at intermission. When Patterson scored with 6:46 left in the third quarter the rout was on.
The University at Buffalo football team got the benefit of a few breaks and bounces in the first half. Then, in the fourth quarter of a 38-22 win against Temple, the Bulls pass defense showed its mettle.
Somewhere in between, the Bulls made a few mistakes. Even UB coach Lance Leipold acknowledged that with the win, his team still has room for growth as it prepares to open its conference schedule at noon Sept. 28 at Miami (Ohio).
This is one of the kinds of games I like, Leipold said. You win by enough, but youve got plenty of things youve got to improve on, and make sure you grab their attention if you want to keep moving in the right direction.
It wasnt a perfect game; the Bulls (2-2) nearly allowed the Owls to climb back into the game on a pair of touchdowns in the final nine minutes. But after two weeks in which the Bulls struggled for consistency and for stronger play from its secondary, UB discovered some fortitude.
When the Bulls were down 7-0 less than nine minutes into the game, they didnt panic. Instead, they responded.
The Bulls scored 24 points on three touchdowns and a field goal in the second quarter, including Jaret Pattersons 4-yard run that gave the Bulls a 10-7 lead at 3:28 of the second quarter after a botched snap on a punt by the Owls put the Bulls at the Temple 7.
Three minutes later, UB linebacker Ledarius Mack sacked Temple quarterback Anthony Russo for a loss of eight yards and forced a fumble, which was recovered by UB defensive end Eric Black. That set up UBs second touchdown, Matt Myers 7-yard touchdown run with 7:02 left in the first half, en route to a 24-7 lead at halftime.
The Bulls offense also produced in short-field situations. UB started four drives inside the Temple 35; three of those drives resulted in touchdowns, as the Bulls took a 31-10 lead into the fourth quarter and opened it to 38-10 five minutes into the fourth on Joey Banks 46-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The secondary, torched for 325 yards and four touchdowns in a 35-17 loss last weekend at Liberty, withstood Temples passing game. Russo threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-51 passing, but was intercepted three times and sacked three times.
Banks interception was the first of three key fourth-quarter stops of the Owls (2-1). Russos intended pass to Isaiah Wright went out of the back of the end zone on fourth-and-11 from the UB 19 with less than 6:30 left. Then, with his team trailing 38-16, Russo was unable to connect with Wright on fourth-and-3 from the UB 18.
Our pass defense was pivotal, Leipold said. I didnt realize they threw 51 passes in this game, and (Temple) kind of abandoned the running game. Youre asking guys, snap after snap, to keep going and going and we might have bent a few times, but we didnt break.
The Bulls defense was shorthanded, without starting linebackers Kadofi Wright (leg) and James Patterson, whom Leipold said was medically ruled out against the Owls. But Banks lauded UBs defensive efforts, particularly the defensive line.
We played as a unit, Banks said. We played as a team. No one was out there being selfish, making plays on our own. We let the plays come to us. It started up front. They were causing havoc up front and it trickled down to the secondary. The quarterback was throwing money out there. We were taking it.
Mack also praised his teams resiliency. The Bulls took advantage of the bounces and breaks, beginninng with a fumble by Kevin Marks that Temple linebacker Sam Franklin scooped up and returned for a touchdown with three minutes left in the first quarter. But the tally was waved off when officials ruled after replay review that Marks was down at the Temple 40, and UB completed the drive with Jackson Baltars 52-yard field goal – the second-longest in school history.
This entire week, we told ourselves weve got to deal with adversity better, Mack said. If a bad play happens, weve got to take it to the chin and get out there and go stop them next time. Thats exactly what we did. If something bad happens, go get it back.
Leipold acknowledged that over the last two weeks, morale inside the program has been down, following lopsided losses at Penn State and at Liberty. But the win against the Owls gives UB a springboard into its conference schedule.
Rightfully so, Leipold said. We had it handed to us. This is a young football team. All in all, we might have played seven to eight seniors on both sides of the ball, total, playing a lot of snaps. But when were playing a lot of young guys, were making a lot of mistakes.
But each and every week I think they grow up a bit more and wins like this should help us with confidence. But I told them in the locker room, win or lose, its time to turn our attention to conference play. We have to get focused, on Monday, to get ready to play a good football team on the road again.