Another challenger saw the same result as the previous four — Buffalo’s running backs cannot be stopped.
Kevin Marks rushed for a career-high 182 yards, Jaret Patterson added 105, and the Bulls posted 428 total rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns in a 56-7 throttling of Akron. It was the first time since Nov. 29, 2019 where both running backs in Buffalo’s tandem attained 100 yards rushing.
Marks didn’t receive a single carry in the first quarter, but the junior running back went on a rampage as soon as he became involved in the offense. His first run was a 24-yard scamper where he escaped contact to put Buffalo up 21-0. His third run was a 23-yard sweep around the edge, elevating the Bulls to a 35-0 lead before halftime. Marks eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the second time in 2020 and now has 510 yards and five touchdowns through five games.
Patterson, continuing his historic pace, tied the FBS record for fewest games needed to reach 1,000 rushing yards. In his first game since tying the single-game FBS touchdown record, Patterson performed well, generating 105 rushing yards on 6.6 yards per carry. He launched Buffalo’s scoring effort for the day with the first touchdown and later contributed another touchdown in the second quarter. Buffalo elected to keep Patterson fresh for Friday’s MAC Championship game, and the star halfback did not receive a carry in the second half.
Buffalo’s offensive line once again dominated both facets of the game, in the run block and in the pass block. The Bulls only dropped back to pass 10 times for 79 yards, but the offensive line extended its streak to nine games without allowing a sack. Currently, Buffalo is the only FBS team to prevent a single sack in 2020.
The Bulls also earned special teams points. Early in the game, Akron constructed a promising drive reaching as far as the Buffalo 18. After three consecutive incompletions, the Zips lined up for a field goal, but the Bulls blocked it and free safety Tyrone Hill scooped up the loose ball and ran 63 yards the other way.
Hill and the Buffalo defense also stepped up to force a season-best seven points. The Bulls held Akron below 45 percent in the passing game, recorded one interception, and pounced all over the Zips’ backfield with four sacks.
Akron, the only MAC East team to play out its entire six-game schedule, is likely finished playing in 2020. The Zips will finish 1-5, showing signs of progress from a winless 2019 campaign.
Buffalo’s season is still running strong after a 5-0 start. The Bulls clinched the MAC East and will face Ball State on Friday for the MAC Championship Game. It will be the program’s first MAC Championship appearance since 2018, and they’ll look to win their first conference crown since 2008 — when they upset an undefeated Ball State team.