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2019 MAC Football Week 8 Game Recap: Buffalo Bulls Blank the Akron Zips, 21-0

Buffalo’s shutout win over Akron fueled by big defensive plays and the absence of Akron starting QB Kato Nelson

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 22 Buffalo at Rutgers
Buffalo linebacker Kadofi Wright’s fourth quarter touchdown helped seal the win over the Akron Zips, 21-0
Photo by John Jones/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Buffalo Bulls (3-4, 1-2 MAC) got their first MAC win of the season, 21-0 over the Akron Zips (0-7, 0-3).

Buffalo opened game with a 14-play, 75 yard drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by running back Kevin Marks. Buffalo’s opening drive for touchdown concluded the offensive scoring for the day as a defensive battle ensued.

Buffalo held Akron’s offense to a total of 196 yards, including three-yards rushing (Akron’s QB had -39 yards rushing due to sacks). Buffalo’s defense recorded five sacks and three turnovers with two turnovers returned for touchdowns.

Buffalo’s linebacker Ledarius Mack returned a fumble 35 yards for a score with 3:57 left in the third quarter. In the fourth quarter, Buffalo linebacker Kadofi Wright recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown after he stripped the ball from Akron’s QB Zach Gibson.

Buffalo’s great defensive effort was aided by the absence of Akron QB Kato Nelson, who is the team’s leading passer and rusher on the season. There was no official word why Nelson did not play.

The ESPN broadcast crew stated Nelson “was suspended for violation of team rules.” When asked in the post-game press conference why Nelson did not play, Akron head coach Tom Arth declined to comment.

Akron’s true freshman QB Zach Gibson got the start and finished the day 22-39 for 193 yards passing and three turnovers (one interception and two fumbles).

Akron’s defense played its best game of the year. The Zips allowed only 254 total yards, which is 185 yards less than its season per game average. John Lako led the Zips with 14 tackles including two tackles for loss.

Akron’s great defensive effort was aided by a struggling Buffalo passing game as QB Kyle Vantrease completed 14-23 passes for 65 yards. Buffalo’s passing offense was held below 100 yards passing for the fifth time in seven games this season.

The field goal units for both squads continue to struggle as each team missed two field goals. Buffalo has made only five of its 13 field goal attempts this season while Akron has made only three of eight field goal attempts.

Buffalo travels to Central Michigan next Saturday to battle the Chippewas while Akron is on the road next Saturday against the Northern Illinois Huskies.