BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo football team dropped its Mid-American Conference opener to Kent State, 44-20, at UB Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Kent State quarterback Nick Holley rushed for 224 yards and four touchdowns to spoils UB's homecoming.
Kent State was able to use big plays to set the tone for the afternoon. Kent State quarterback Nick Holley took off on a 65-yard run on the first play from scrimmage to set up a field goal and then scored on a 67-yard touchdown run on the Golden Flashes next possession to quickly give the visiting team a 10-0 lead.
After taking a 13-0 lead, early in the second quarter, Buffalo got on the board with an Adam Mitcheson 34-yard field goal to cut the lead to 13-3 with 4:47 left in the half. The UB defense forced a 3-and-out on the Golden Flashes' ensuing possession. However, on the Bulls very first play, following a Kent State punt, the Golden Flashes forced a fumble, scooped it up and scored to take a 20-3 lead at the break.
The Bulls added another Mitcheson field goal, a 41-yarder, on their first possession of the second half to cut the lead to 20-6. Following another Holley rushing touchdown, the Bulls scored their first touchdown of the game – a 2-yard TD pass from Tyree Jackson to Johnathan Hawkins to make it a two-score game. However, Kent State returned the ensuing kickoff 66 yards and Holley scored his third rushing touchdown of the game, six plays later, to extend the Golden Flashes lead to 34-13.
Jackson scored on a 1-yard rushing touchdown to cut the lead to 34-20 midway through the fourth quarter. But the Golden Flashes answered, once again, as Holley ran up the middle 43 yards for a touchdown.
Jackson finished the game 20-of-39 for a career-high 250 yards and a touchdown and was the Bulls' leading rusher with 40 yards on 11 carries and another score. Marcus McGill had four catches for 65 yards and Malcolm Robinson had four receptions for 52 yards – both career highs.
"I'm extremely disappointed," head coach Lance Leipold said. "I congratulate Coach Haynes and his team, they found a recipe for success offensively with a very scrappy Nick Holley. From the first play on, it was indicative of a lot of things in the day. Attention to detail, wrapping up, doing things like that was not where it needed to be."
The Bulls will remain at home and host Ball State next Saturday at 3:30 pm.