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McNulty's 2nd-chance FG completes Buffalo's rally from 21 down

Rogers' big 1st half, including NCAA record run, not enough


GETZVILLE, N.Y. – Alex McNulty made good on a second chance at a game-winning field goal as Buffalo completed a rally from 21 points down to beat Ohio 27-26 on Saturday at UB Stadium.

McNulty’s first try from 31 yards away was wide right as time expired, but Ohio’s Bryce Dugan was offsides on the play, giving McNulty another chance from 26 yards out. He sent it down the middle of the uprights to complete the Bulls’ comeback from a 21-0 deficit in the first quarter. Ohio was offsides on the second attempt as well.

"I just told the team, I was honest with them, at this point, I am disappointed with how we finished down the stretch," Ohio coach Tim Albin said. "Too many mistakes – self-inflicted. It's very disappointing. That is not who we are, but it was today.”

Armani Rogers sparked Ohio to a big start, following up a De’Montre Tuggle 6-yard touchdown run with an NCAA-record long run for a quarterback of 99 yards for a score to make it 14-0. He added a 10-yard scoring run to put the Bobcats (1-6, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) ahead 21-0 before the end of the first quarter.

Ohio sputtered after that, scoring just five more points, and Buffalo (3-4, 1-2 MAC) rallied to cut its deficit to 21-10 at halftime and then scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to win it.

Kyle Vantrease’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Trevor Borland with 8:39 remaining gave the Bulls a chance to tie the game, but Vantrease’s two-point conversion pass was knocked down leaving the Bobcats ahead 26-24.

On Ohio’s ensuing possession, Sieh Bangura was brought down just a yard shy of a first down on a shovel pass from Armani Rogers, forcing a punt. Jack Wilson’s wind-aided punt went 61 yards before tumbling out of bounds at the Buffalo 5-yard-line, giving the Bobcats’ defense their best chance to hold for the win.

A Dylan McDuffie run converted a third-and-2 by inches early in the drive, and Buffalo came through with a third-and-8 conversion with Dominic Johnson stretching along the right sideline across the first-down marker after catching a pass from Vantrease to the Ohio 21-yard line.

From there, the Bulls opted to set up for a field goal to win. On a third-and-1 play, Vantrease moved to his left to center the ball and then kneeled down before a timeout with three seconds to play. McNulty, who was just 6 of 12 on field goals on the season, missed to the right before a kick down the middle following Ohio’s penalty that extended the game one play.

The Bobcats dominated the start, forcing a quick Buffalo punt and then running the ball on seven straight plays to the end zone to take the lead. After Ohio’s Tariq Drake stuffed Buffalo’s Matt Myers on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard-line, the Bobcats took over with the entire field in front of them.

On the next play, Rogers, who was born in Buffalo while his father played for the Bills, found daylight around the left side and raced passed the defense to top the 98-yard run by Arizona State quarterback Mark Malone in 1979. It also was the longest play of any kind from scrimmage in Ohio football history.

"It's bittersweet because we didn't get the win, but it is definitely something fun to look back at," Rogers said "Coming home, where I was born at and scoring and breaking a record, it was a good experience."

Rogers completed his first pass attempt of the day for 31 yards to Ty Walton on Ohio’s next possession, and that helped set up the 10-yard touchdown run by Rogers that made it 21-0 with 2:44 left in the first quarter.

Still before the start of the second quarter, Roman Parodie intercepted Vantrease to give the Bobcats a chance to extend their lead, but eventually punted, and Buffalo followed with a McNulty 43-yard field goal to get on the board with 6:28 to go in the half.

After another Ohio punt, Vantrease threw completions of 13, 35 and 19 yards to quickly move Ohio down the field, and McDuffie reached the end zone on a 4-yard run to cut the deficit to 21-10 before halftime.

“I say, 'Hey, the team that comes out in the second half and executes is going to prevail, it going to come down to the wire,’” Albin said. “It did, and we did not. We did things we did not do all year. I am disappointed with the mistakes that we made. I don't know how else to say it.”

The Bobcats appeared to get all of those points back with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Ryan Luehrman on the opening possession of the second half, but the fourth-and-1 conversion was nullified on an offensive pass interference call on lineman Jay Amburgey. Instead, Ohio settled for a Stephen Johnson 33-yard field goal to go up 24-10.

Ohio still had momentum on its side at the point and forced Buffalo to face a fourth down on its ensuing possession. The Bulls appeared to try to surprise the Bobcats with a fake punt snap to an upback, but it sailed high and wide and all the way to the end zone, where Borland dove on it in the end zone for a safety, making it 26-10 with 5:50 left in the third quarter.

Buffalo got a stop on defense, and then on offense, it completed a long touchdown drive, converting one third down with a facemask penalty on Bryce Houston and then scoring on a 2-yard touchdown pass from Vantrease to Tyler Stephens. A successful conversion pass got the Bulls to within 26-18 with 13:11 remaining.

Kadofi Wright recovered a bad option pitch by Rogers, giving them possession at the Ohio 35-yard line. Vantrease completed a 7-yard pass to Tyler Stephens on fourth-and-6 to keep the drive alive and to set up the touchdown pass to Borland that made it a two-point game.

Rogers started for the second straight week, without Kurtis Rourke seeing any action. He rushed 22 times for 183 yards and went 6-of-10 passing for 75 yards. Tuggle added 46 yards on eight carries.

Vantrease went 22-of-30 passing for 261 yards, while McDuffie, who carried the rushing load for the Bulls with Sean Marks out with an injury, had 143 yards on 23 carries.

Houston led Ohio’s defense with 15 tackles. Buffalo’s James Patterson matched him with 15 tackles of his own.

The Bobcats host Kent State at 1 p.m. Saturday at Peden Stadium.







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