On a cold bitter night in Bowling Green, the Falcons lost their third consecutive game, losing to Buffalo 42-17.
With the loss the Falcons fall to 0-3 on the season, while the Bulls continue their flawless season, moving to 3-0.
The story was the same as last year. Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson continued his dominance against Bowling Green with 301 yards and four touchdowns.
But the Falcons were able to hold the passing game of Buffalo to 74 yards.
BGSU Head Coach Scot Loeffler did not view this loss as a total failure for the team. This game showed what has improved so far this season and what work still needs to be done.
“We’re going to keep continuing to build it. There’s some things to build upon. There’s some things obviously that were ridiculously not good enough. But we’re going to continue to grind away and improve,” Loeffler said.
Buffalo gave the ball to their best playmakers to start the game. Bulls wide receiver Antonio Nunn had two catches for 34 yards on the opening drive. Patterson had 40 yards on the drive, 17 of which were on his touchdown run to put the Bulls up 7-0.
Bowling Green answered on their first drive of the game. Running back Andrew Clair made his return known with a 21-yard run to start the drive. Quarterback Matt McDonald started the game with a solid 2 of 3 passing for 25 yards. The drive stalled on the Buffalo 23-yard line when McDonald couldn’t complete the third down pass with pressure in his face. The Falcons settled for a 40-yard field goal from kicker Nate Needham to make it 7-3.
After holding the Falcons to a missed field goal to start the second quarter, Buffalo drove down the field. Patterson and his fellow backfield mate running back Kevin Marks Jr. had the bulk of the work on the drive. Marks was damaging the Falcons defense with consecutive runs of 21 and 15 yards to get into the redzone. Buffalo ended the drive with a 3-yard touchdown by Marks to make the score 14-3.
The Buffalo defense forced a three and out from the Falcons’ offense. From there, Buffalo executed a seven-and-a-half minute drive. It was 13 plays for 75 yards. Patterson and Marks dominated the drive again, accounting for 52 of the yards on the drive. Patterson scored from four yards out to extend the lead to 21-3.
At half, Buffalo had 180 yards rushing. Patterson averaged 5.6 yards per carry while Marks averaged 7.7 yards per carry. Nunn was the only receiver Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease was able to find in the first half.
The offense for Bowling Green was inconsistent in the first half. McDonald finished the half 9 of 13 passing for 102 yards and Clair looked good with 45 yards at the half. The Falcons struggled on third down though, converting only once.
McDonald got sacked twice in the second half opening drive. They punted from their own 12-yard line where Buffalo returned the ball to the BGSU 19-yard line. The defense stood tall and forced Buffalo to a turnover on downs.
Bowling Green failed to carry the momentum on to the next drive as they failed to convert on fourth down from the Buffalo 45-yard line. Then, Buffalo took the ball for a 55-yard drive.
Patterson accounted for all 55 yards on the drive, capping it off with a 15-yard touchdown to make it 28-3 in favor of Buffalo.
On the ensuing drive, Bowling Green took the ball into the redzone. McDonald was making plays on the drive, including a 27-yard strike to wide receiver Julian Ortega-Jones. On second down, McDonald threw an interception to safety Marcus Fuqua while under pressure.
Loeffler took notice that while McDonald made better throws than in his previous two outings, where he went a combined 14 of 50 for 233 yards, there was still much to be improved.
“I think there were three deals where Matt forced the football, which he should have gotten to his checkdown. One of which was in the two minute drive,” Loeffler said.
The Buffalo rushing attack continued to dominate. Patterson would make the Falcons pay for the turnover with a huge 67-yard rush to get the Bulls inside the BGSU 10-yard line. Vantrease kept the ball on an option play and scored from five yards out. This extended Buffalo’s lead to 35-3.
Bowling Green responded after the Buffalo score, aided by a Buffalo defensive pass interference. The penalty placed the Falcons on the Buffalo 24-yard line and freshman running back Terion Stewart was able to build on his stellar performance from last week after the penalty.
Stewart accounted for the rest of the yards on the drive, including a five yard score. This inched the Falcons closer to Buffalo 35-10.
This time, BGSU kept the momentum going. The Falcons forced Buffalo into a three and out. With the ball, wide receiver Jhaylin Embry started the drive with a 10-yard rush to get a first down. After that, McDonald was sacked on the next play and it was eventually fourth and ten. McDonald found tight end Presley Motes for 13 yards and the first down. Later in the drive, McDonald hit his other tight end Quintin Morris on a flat route where Morris took it 20 yards to inside the one yard line. Stewart scored on the next play to make it a 35-17 game.
But Buffalo stopped the Falcons’ momentum with a four play drive. The Bulls relied on Patterson again as he accounted for all 75 yards on the drive. Patterson gashed the middle of the Falcon defense with a 57-yard touchdown to make their lead 42-17.
A major improvement over previous games for the Falcons was their passing game. McDonald finished the game 17 for 27 with 219 yards and one interception. The passing game is benefiting from the growing confidence in McDonald.
“I think that we’ve made strides each game out there. I felt way more comfortable every single game. I know I’m going to continue to feel more comfortable every time I’m out there,” McDonald said
BGSU will look to get their first win on the road against Ohio next Saturday.