Battle-tested Bulls push past Temple, 36-29

The UB Bulls are off to their best start in 35 years

Howard & Jeremy | Weekdays 6a-10a
September 09, 2018 - 3:05 pm

Photo: Danny Wild - USA TODAY Sports

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Heading into Saturday’s matchup with the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., the UB Bulls knew a win was not going to come as easily as their Week 1 victory over Delaware State. However, after another strong outing from quarterback Tyree Jackson and a last-minute go-ahead touchdown pass to star wide-out Anthony Johnson, the Bulls defeated Temple 36-29 and improved to 2-0 on the season.

The victory was a statement win for Buffalo. Not only does it give the Bulls their first 2-0 start since moving to FBS in 1999, it’s the first time UB has won their first two games of a season since 1983.

“That was a heck of a game,” Bulls’ head coach Lance Leipold said following the win. “I’m really proud of our team for how we answered their punch and counter punch, so to speak. I’m proud of this group of guys.”

UB showed a lot of resiliency in the game. Despite winning the first half convincingly, the Bulls found themselves down 14-12 early in the third quarter following a Temple touchdown on a Hail Mary to end the first half, and another touchdown on their opening drive of the third quarter.

After Temple tied the game up at 22 early in the fourth quarter, UB responded with an eight-play drive capped off by a receiving touchdown from Antonio Nunn to put the Bulls up 29-22.

Temple threw a counter punch at UB on the next drive, knotting the game up at 29-29 following a 75-yard scoring drive of their own.

The Bulls got the ball back with a little under five minutes to go and went to work, marching down the field with a 10-play drive that covered 81 yards in a little less than four minutes.

The drive was completed with a 29-yard touchdown pass from Jackson to Anthony Johnson, who came across the middle of the field and ran through four Temple defenders on his way to the end zone for the go-ahead score.

Johnson, for a while, wasn’t even sure if he was going to play in the game. On Friday night, the senior receiver found out his childhood best friend and former high school teammate De’mon Davis was shot and killed in Fort Mill, S.C. at the age of 22.

“I was going to go home, but my family members told me, ‘Don’t come home. Just play through this game first,'” Johnson said. “Even though I had a heavy heart, I wanted to play for him and for my teammates, so I just stuck through it and I gave my all.”

Johnson finished the night with a game-high six receptions and 76 yards, along with his game-winning touchdown catch. It was an incredible performance despite all that he is going through.

“Just watching him make that play was amazing,” Jackson said on Johnson’s touchdown. “He didn’t have to play. He didn’t have to be out there for us today, but he did, and that just goes to show what kind of kid he is.”

Jackson had another impressive outing following his six-touchdown performance in Week 1. The junior completed 26 passes on 45 attempts for 275 yards along with three touchdowns and an interception.

The Bulls’ rushing attack was led by red-shirt freshman Kevin Marks who finished with 138 yards on 25 carries and two touchdowns in only the second game of his career with UB.

Buffalo’s defense played strong despite the game being decided by one score. The Bulls kept Temple off the scoreboard until the last play of the first half, limited the Owls to 3-of-14 on third downs and forced three turnovers.

Two of those turnovers came on interceptions from senior cornerback Cam Lewis, who was wearing No. 41 in honor of Solomon Jackson, a former teammate who passed away in 2016. Lewis became the first UB player with two picks in a game since 2015.

The third turnover UB forced was one that sealed the game for the Bulls. Temple had the ball with a chance to tie after Johnson’s go-ahead touchdown in the final minute of the game, but any chance at an Owl’s comeback was squashed after defensive end Chuck Harris forced a fumble that was recovered by Bulls’ defensive tackle Chibueze Onwuka with 15-seconds remaining in the game.

Linebacker Khalil Hodge led the Bulls with 10 tackles as well.

The 2-0 Bulls will return home for Week 3 to host Eastern Michigan on Saturday, September 15. The Eagles also sit at 2-0 following their 20-19 upset win over the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette, Ind. this past Saturday.

Kickoff from UB stadium is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. You can listen to the game live on ESPN 1520, along with pre-game and post-game coverage.

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