UB opens MAC play with win over Eastern Michigan

The Bulls are 3-0 to start a season for first time in 35 years

Jon Simon
September 16, 2018 - 12:05 am

Photo: Mike DiNovo - USA TODAY Sports


The UB Bulls football program continued their historic start to the 2018 season on Saturday night as they improved to 3-0 with a 35-28 win over Eastern Michigan University at UB Stadium.

With the victory, the Bulls are now 1-0 in Mid-American Conference play and are 3-0 for the first time since 1983. Going back to last season, UB is now on a six-game win streak.

“That’s a pretty excited group in there right now,” Bulls’ head coach Lance Leipold said post-game. “I think they’re proud of what they’ve been able to get done so far. I think they’re excited to get a win against a good football team and keep battling. We came away with a win, but we still have plenty to clean up.”

Quarterback Tyree Jackson turned in another stellar performance, completing 21 passes on 26 attempts for 325 yards and three touchdowns. The junior now has 12 touchdown passes on the year, matching his total for all of 2017.

“I tell him he’s the best in the business,” wide receiver K.J. Osborn said when talking about Jackson. “The guy is accurate, he works hard, extends plays; his play overall speaks for itself really.”

Osborn had quite the night for the Bulls himself. The junior recorded seven catches for 188 yards and caught all three of Jackson’s touchdowns, one being a 75-yarder that put UB up 35-21 in the fourth quarter. Osborn’s 188 reception yards is the fourth most for a single game in program history.

“I took this game a little personal,” Osborn stated after the win. “Eastern Michigan is my hometown, the stadium is within walking distance of my father’s house and I didn’t get an offer; I didn’t get a letter, so all week in practice I knew I was going to take this game personal. But, as a team we came out and got a good team win.”

Red-shirt freshman running back Kevin Marks turned in a two-touchdown performance for the second straight week. Marks and junior Emmanuel Reed split most of the carries for the Bulls. Marks finished with 60 yards on 14 touches while Reed led the team with 15 carries along with 68 yards on the ground.

Despite the game being decided by one score, the UB defense had a solid game. The Bulls kept Eastern Michigan off the scoreboard for a majority of the second half; they gave up a rushing touchdown with under a minute to go in the game.

Aside from a crazy 30-second stretch in the middle of the second quarter that saw back-to-back-to-back plus-70-yard touchdown passes (two for EMU and one for UB), the Bulls’ defense kept the Eagles in check. Eastern Michigan finished the game with 490 yards if total offense, but failed to capitalize on a number of long drives.

Last week against Temple, Cam Lewis had a career game with two interceptions wearing the No. 41 jersey. On Saturday night, defensive end Chuck Harris was given the honor of wearing former teammate Solomon Jackson’s number. The senior finished second on the Bulls with eight tackles; had 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble that UB recovered.

“When coach Leipold came to me and told me he wanted me to wear 41 this week I just thought about Cam Lewis and how he had an incredible game last week,” Harris said. “I just thought if there’s any way to wear that jersey, it’s like that. Solomon was my big brother when he was here, my locker is right next to his. Every day he came in he made me better, so I had to do a lot better for him.”

Khalil Hodge also hit an important milestone against Eastern. The senior got his 300th career tackle with UB in the second quarter, putting him ninth all-time in the program’s record books. Hodge also led the Bulls with 14 total tackles on the night.

The Bulls will hit the road this week and head to Piscataway, N.J. to take on Rutgers University (1-2, 0-1) in a non-conference showdown.

A win over the Scarlett Knights would give UB their first victory over a power-five school since 2002, when they beat Rutgers, who were in the Big East at the time.

Kickoff next Saturday is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

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