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Game Recap: Miami uses defense, special teams to power past Buffalo 34-20

The RedHawks forced four turnovers and won the field position battle against the Bulls.

Buffalo v Miami Ohio Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

You need to win two out of the three phases to win football games, and the Miami RedHawks (2-3, 1-0 MAC) did just that as the defense forced four turnovers and the Buffalo Bulls (2-3, 0-1 MAC) only had two drives that started past its own 25-yard line. Mike Brown registered a pair of interceptions (including a pick-six) while Kyle Kramer had five punts downed inside the 20-yard line. The offense did just enough to win as it didn’t turn the ball over and only allowed six TFLs on 73 plays.

After forcing a punt on the first drive, Miami was able to move the ball down to UB’s 35-yard line but a coverage-sack of Brett Gabbert on fourth down ended the scoring opportunity. Matt Myers took advantage of the good field position as he hit a 17-yard completion to Carlton Todd, scrambled for a 24-yard gain, and found Antonio Nunn for a 20-yard touchdown. After trading punts, Miami was able to answer with a 53-yard field goal from Sam Sloman.

Following another exchange of punts, Jaret Patterson took advantage of missed Miami tackles to score on an 82-yard run. More punts ensued before the ‘Hawks strung together a 10-play drive that was capped off by a one-yard plunge from Gabbert to cut the deficit down to 14-10.

The momentum swung Miami’s way on the next two drives defensively as Brown hauled in his first interception of the day on a deflected pass and Ryan McWood forced and recovered a fumble. The Red and White had to settle for a 21-yard field goal on the last drive of the half as Buffalo took a one-point lead into the locker room.

Miami took its first lead of the game in the third quarter as Brown returned an interception 25 yards for a score as the ‘Hawks took a 20-14 lead. The defense forced a three-and-out, setting up a scoring drive where Gabbert found Jalen Walker for a 13-yard touchdown. Buffalo moved the ball into Miami territory on the following drive, but the Red and White forced an incompletion on fourth down for another stop.

Gabbert flipped the field on the following drive as he hit James Maye for a 52-yard gain, which set up a four-yard scoring run for Jaylon Bester to set the score at 34-14. The Bulls responded with a pair of long tackle-breaking runs of 21 and 39 yards from Kevin Marks, with the latter resulting in a score. However, a blocked PAT kept Miami’s advantage to 14 points.

After forcing a Miami punt, UB drove the the ball inside Miami’s 20-yard line on a long drive but the defense of the ‘Hawks forced another incompletion on fourth down to get the ball back with 6:38 left. Buffalo got the ball back after exhausting all of its timeouts and a sack-fumble led to a recovery by Miami’s Joshua Maize, effectively ending the game.

Miami is on a bye this week, while Buffalo hosts Ohio Saturday at 3:30 p.m.