BUFFALO, N.Y. — Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
The Ohio University football team built a 21-point first quarter lead, but an Alex McNulty 26-yard field goal as time expired allowed host Buffalo to complete a come-from-behind 27-26 victory on Saturday during a Mid-American Conference East Division matchup at the University of Buffalo Stadium.
The visiting Bobcats (1-6, 1-2 MAC East) technically never trailed throughout the course of regulation, but the Bulls (3-4, 1-2) needed a 95-yard drive over the final 6:19 to complete their successful rally bid.
UB was facing a 4th-and-3 at the Ohio 14 with three seconds remaining, but an OU offsides penalty nullified a missed 31-yard field goal attempt by McNulty and moved the ball inside the 10.
McNulty’s second attempt came with no time left on the clock — due to the previous defensive penalty — and was successful from 26 yards, giving Buffalo its only lead of the day.
The Bobcats used a 6-yard De’Montre Tuggle touchdown run at the 10:04 mark of the first quarter to establish a 7-0 lead, then Armani Rogers added touchdown runs of 99 and 10 yards on Ohio’s next two drives for a comfortable 21-0 lead with 2:44 remaining in the opening stanza.
The Bulls finally cracked the scoreboard at the 6:28 mark of the second period as McNulty nailed a 43-yard field goal, then Dylan McDuffie followed with a 4-yard scoring run with 1:36 left in the half for a 21-10 deficit at the break.
The Bobcats found some offense in the third canto as Stephen Johnson nailed a 33-yard field goal with 6:33 showing, then the guests added a safety 43 seconds later for a 26-10 advantage headed into the finale.
UB started its comeback rally with a 2-yard TD pass from Kyle Vantrease to Tyler Stphens made it 26-18 with 13:11 remaining.
Ohio’s only turnover of the day followed on the ensuing drive, then the Bulls inched even closer with 8:39 left after a Trevor Borland 8-yard TD pass from Vantrease made it a 26-24 deficit.
The Bobcats came up one yard short on their ensuing 3-and-out, which was downed at the UB five with 6:19 remaining.
The Bulls marched 86 yards in 16 plays while eating up all of the clock, with McNulty providing the nail in the coffin with his successful 26-yarder.
Both teams had the ball for exactly 30 minutes and committed a turnover apiece in the contest. Buffalo claimed a 25-16 edge in first downs and also outgained the guests by a 373-346 overall margin in total yards that included a 261-75 advantage in passing yards.
Rogers paced the Bobcat rushing attack with 183 yards on 22 carries and also completed 6-of-10 passes for 75 yards. Isiah Cox led the OU wideouts with three catches for 22 yards.
Bryce Houston led the Ohio defense with 15 tackles. Roman Parodie picked off a pass and Bryce Dugan recorded the lone Bobcat sack.
McDuffie led the Bulls with 143 rushing yards on 23 attempts. Vantrease was 22-of-30 passing for 261 yards, throwing two scores and an interception. Stephens and Ron Cook each hauled in four passes apiece for 52 and 63 yards respectively.
James Patterson paced the UB defense with 15 tackles, while Daymond Williams recorded a sack and Kadofi Wright recovered a fumble.
The Bobcats return to play on Saturday when they welcome Kent State to Peden Stadium for a 1 p.m. kickoff.
Editor’s Note: This story will appear in the Wednesday sports editions of the Gallipolis Daily Tribune, Point Pleasant Register and The Daily Sentinel.
© 2021 Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.