OXFORD, OH – Weeknight football games in the Mid-American Conference come with the tagline MACtion. After Khalil Mack's performance against Miami (OH) on Tuesday night, the conference may want to consider spelling it MACKtion.
The senior linebacker had eight tackles, three sacks and three forced fumbles in a 44-7 blowout of the RedHawks at Yager Stadium. His three forced fumbles, all in the first half, shattered the NCAA record for career forced fumbles. He now has 16 career forced fumbles, eclipsing the previous record of 14 held by five different players. Mack's three sacks moved him to within 2.5 tackles for loss of that NCAA career record as well.
The defense set the tone in the game as the Bulls held Miami to 200 yards of total offense with the majority of its yards coming late in the contest. After not registering a sack for the first time all season last week at Toledo, the Bulls erupted for a season-high seven sacks against the RedHawks. Okoye Houston had two sacks and Jake Stockman and Tedroy Lynch each had 1.5 sacks.
"We challenged our kids last week after that tough loss at Toledo and they responded," head coach Jeff Quinn said. "We came down here with a purpose and we accomplished what we came down here to accomplish and that was to win a game on the road against a MAC East rival team. To have this kind of margin of victory, it just says a lot about the leadership. I can't say enough about Khalil and what he has been able to accomplish. Because he really started things tonight and I was really pleased with the way our defense came to play."
After a scoreless first quarter, the UB offense gave the defense all it needed with a 21-point second quarter. Following a Branden Oliver 38-yard run that put the ball on the Miami 1-yard line, Joe Licata hit Alex Dennison for a 1-yard touchdown pass to give the Bulls a 7-0 lead.
Oliver followed with touchdown runs of one yard and 10 yards to extend the Buffalo lead to 21-0. With the RedHawks driving late in the half, the defense decided to get into the scoring act. Mack sacked Miami quarterback Austin Gearing, jarred the ball loose, and Houston scooped it up and scampered 60 yards for a touchdown to put the Bulls ahead, 28-0, at the half.
Patrick Clarke added three second-half field goals to extend the lead to 37-0. Tony Daniel capped the scoring with his first career touchdown pass. He hit Devon Hughes on an 11-yard fade pattern to put the Bulls ahead, 44-0. Miami would score a late touchdown to make the final score, 44-7.
The 37-point win was the Bulls' largest victory in a MAC road game since joining the conference in 1999.
The Bulls piled up 517 yards of total offense, including 311 on the ground. Oliver started the game and had 150 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries. With the Bulls holding a big lead, Anthone Taylor got some extensive playing time and capitalized by rushing for a career-best 154 yards on just 17 carries.
Licata managed the offense well, going 20-of-32 for 172 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Fred Lee, Matt Weiser and Devin Campell each had four receptions for the Bulls.
Other standouts on defense included Lee Skinner, who finished with seven tackles. Okezie Alozie had five tackles, a sack and a pass breakup. Stockman finished with 1.5 tackles for loss and his first career interception.
The Bulls improved to 8-3 with the win and 6-1 in conference play. The eight wins are the most in a regular season in their FBS era and the six MAC wins are a school record.
Buffalo will host Bowling Green next Friday at Ralph Wilson Stadium for the MAC East Championship and a trip to the MAC Championship game.
ATHENS, Ohio – Dri Archer capped his Kent State career with a three-touchdown performance as the Golden Flashes closed the 2013 regular season with a 44-13 win at Ohio University on Tuesday night.
The senior speedster gave the Flashes a 10-6 lead early in the second quarter on a 24-yard touchdown run, extended another lead with a 5-yard scamper early in the third quarter, then put the exclamation point on the victory and his grand farewell with a 29-yard scoring run in the game's closing minutes.
Archer finished with 138 rushing yards on 15 carries and another 53 yards on five catches. His last two touchdowns helped Kent State close the game with 34 unanswered points after falling behind 13-10 early in the second quarter.
"It's awesome. The kids are excited, and I'm excited for them," said Kent State head coach Paul Haynes. "We probably played our best game tonight, which is awesome to sit there and see them put all three phases together ... Dri is awesome, and our offensive line did a good job of blocking. The receivers did a good job blocking on the perimeter. You don't make big runs without everyone else doing their job. It's a team effort, and Dri played awesome tonight."
The Kent State runaway also served as a celebration of the comebacks of both Nate Terhune and Anthony Melchiori from leg injuries suffered earlier in the season
Terhune returned to action on Oct. 12 at Ball State, just four weeks after breaking his lower leg in a game at Louisiana State. On Tuesday he capped his comeback by taking a fake punt 61 yards for a touchdown with 8:10 to play in the third quarter. Just for good measure, Terhune hurdled Bobcats punt returner Daz'Mond Patterson at the 40 yard line as he rumbled down the Kent State sideline.
"It was unbelievable," said Haynes. "After (Terhune) got the first down I was excited, and then I saw he did a little leap, and I was more excited. He is a great player. It doesn't surprise me because of his work ethic and his drive, but, hopefully, that will make ESPN's Top Ten."
A little more than a month ago, Haynes said Melchiori was unlikely to return from injury before the 2013 season came to an end. Instead, the kicker his way back to play last week as the Flashes' beat Miami in the season's final home game at Dix Stadium. On Tuesday Melchiori converted 3-of-4 field goal attempts, including a 47-yarder to tie the game at 3-3 with 10:06 to play in the first quarter.
Melchiori's kicks of 26 and 28 yards in the fourth quarter continued a second-half roll that saw the Flashes out-score the Bobcats 27-0 in the final 30 minutes. Kent State grabbed a 17-13 lead going into the half when Colin Reardon lofted an 11-yard touchdown pass to tight end Casey Pierce with 31 seconds to play in the second quarter.
Ohio took its last lead at 13-10 when Tyler Tettleton found Mario Dovell for a 1-yard touchdown with 10:04 remaining in the second. The only other Bobcats points came on field goals of 20 and 49 yards by Josiah Yardani in the first quarter.
The Golden Flashes dominated the box score, out-gaining the Bobcats 537-to-204. That total included 312 rushing yards by Kent State to just 69 for Ohio.
Reardon closed his redshirt freshman season with 213 yards on 18-of-29 passing. He also added 53 rushing yards on seven attempts. Fifth-year senior Tyshon Goode caught five passes for 55 yards in his final game in a Kent State uniform.
Tettleton completed 11-of-24 for 132 yards, but the Ohio quarterback also suffered a third-quarter interception by Malcom Pannell that was the game's only turnover.
The Golden Flashes completed their first season under Haynes at 4-8 overall and 3-5 in Mid-American Conference play. Ohio (6-5, 3-4) will close its season next week when it hosts Massachusetts.
"To send our seniors out the right way on a two-game winning streak is good for our program going into the offseason," said Haynes. "To come out with two good wins just catapults us to have a good offseason."
• Senior Roosevelt Nix had six tackles, a forced fumble and a tackle for loss. He finished his career with a Kent State record 65.0 tackles for loss, 10 ahead of second place Micahael Zele (1975-78). He totaled 12 forced fumbles and 24.0 sacks, one behind KSU's career sack leader Justin Parrish.
• Nose tackle Nate Terhune ran 61 yards for his first career touchdown on a fake punt. He has two career carries for 92 yards on fake punts.
• Senior Dri Archer scored his 38th, 39th and 40th career touchdowns bring his season total to 11. He moved into second place among Kent State's career leaders in touchdowns, just one behind leader Josh Cribbs (41). He finished third in career all-purpose yards with 4,980. Archer moved into a tie for ninth place with Trayion Durham in career rushing touchdowns (24). Archer ranks ninth in career rushing yards with 2,267. His 2,405 rushing yards are the ninth most in KSU history
• Sophomore Anthony Melchiori made a career-long 47-yard field goal. He made a career-high three field goals.
• Junior Malcolm Pannell had his second interception in as many games and third of the season.
• Senior Tyshon Goode finished his career second in career receptions with 181, second in receiving yards with 2,272 and third in touchdown catches with 14. He made five grabs for 55 yards Tuesday night.
• Senior Luke Wollet finished tied for seventh in career interceptions with 12 and totaled 279 career tackles.
• Junior Chris Humphrey has made a catch in 20 straight games.
• Redshirt freshman Colin Reardon went his second straight game without throwing an interception.
• Freshman Nate Holley made a career-high 12 tackles.
• Kent State's 44 points scored were the most this season. It was the Flashes' largest margin of victory this season.
• The Flashes allowed just two touchdowns in their final three games.
• Kent State won back-to-back games for the first time this season.
• The Flashes have won eight straight weeknight games.
• Kent State earned wins over its two rivals from the southern part of the state (Ohio & Miami) in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1986-87.
• The Flashes ran for over 300 yards for the second straight game.
• Kent State's 29 first downs and 537 yards of total offense were season-highs.
• Ohio's opening drive was an opponent's eighth straight trip to the redzone without scoring a touchdown.
• The Flashes have won five of the last seven meetings against Ohio and are 5-4 against the Bobcats during the Frank Solich era.