KALAMAZOO, MI - The University at Buffalo football team won its fourth straight game in convincing fashion, shutting out Western Michigan, 33-0, at Waldo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was just the second time the Bulls blanked a Mid-American Conference opponent and it was first road shutout by a UB team since 1965. Buffalo improved to 4-2 overall and to 2-0 in MAC play for the first time ever.
The UB defense completely dominated the game. The Bulls held the Broncos to just 202 yards of total offense, including only 38 yards rushing. Colby Way led the defensive attack with a career-high three sacks. The defense forced four turnovers, including interceptions by Najja Johnson and Marqus Baker. Khalil Mack finished with six tackles, 1.5 for loss, a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
"Well, as always, you know when you go on the road in this league, you really depend heavily on your leadership, and I thought our leadership did a great job today defensively, outstanding performance," head coach Jeff Quinn said. "To get a shut out on the road against a very good football team, says a lot about our leadership, and the takeaways in the second half obviously made a difference. Not really the best or well executed first half that I would have liked to see, but I just thought our kids did a good job, our coaches did in the half and coming out in the second half and getting some takeaways, capitalizing on them. I thought our defense was tremendous. Colby Way, Khalil Mack, Redden, Lee Skinner, all those guys, I mean, Beau Bachtelle, tremendous group of young men."
Offensively, the Bulls rushed for a season-high 290 yards in the game. Branden Oliver ran for 128 yards on 19 carries for his school-record 14th career 100-yard game. Potts chipped in with the best game of his young career, finishing with 91 yards on 16 carries.
Despite the lopsided score, it was a close game throughout the first half. The Bulls marched right down the field on their opening possession and Devin Campbell punched it in from 1-yard out. Patrick Clarke's extra point was blocked and the Bulls led 6-0.
However, the UB offense stalled on several occasion in the first half and the score would remain 6-0 at the half.
The Bulls scored 17 points in the third quarter to break the game open. Clarke started the second-half scoring with a career-long 51-yard field goal that really seemed to ignite UB. Mack forced a fumble that Adam Redden recovered on the Broncos ensuing possession. Buffalo capitalized as Joe Licata connected with Mason Schreck on a 2-yard touchdown to extend the UB lead to 16-0 just over six minutes into the third quarter.
Following a three-and-out by Western Michigan, the UB offense went right back to work and marched 53 yards on five plays. Licata found Free Lee along the sideline and the senior receiver tip-toed into the endzone to put the Bulls ahead, 23-0.
Licata tossed his third touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter when he found Alex Neutz in the corner of the endzone from two yards out. It was Neutz's sixth touchdown grab of the season. The senior receiver now has a touchdown catch in all six games this year. Clarke capped the scoring with a 36-yard field goal with 6:27 left in the game.
fter a rocky first half, Licata settled down in the second half. The sophomore signal caller was 5-for-8 for 44 yards and three touchdowns in the second half and finished with 124 total passing yards in the game.
Seven different players had catches in the game. Lee had a team-high four catches for 88 yards and a touchdown in the game.
This was just the second time UB shut out a MAC foe. The other was a 44-0 win over Ohio in 2001. The last shutout on the road was a 22-0 win at Delaware in 1965. It was the first time a Western Michigan team was shutout at home since 1987.
Buffalo will return home to host Massachusetts next Saturday at 3:30 pm.