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Red-hot Buffalo steamrolls UMass 34-7 to win fourth straight

Bulls secure their first non-conference victory of 2022 in a thrashing of an old MAC member.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 10 Holy Cross at Buffalo Photo by Joshua Bessex/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Buffalo rampage continues. After stumbling out of the gate to an 0-3 start, the Bulls completely reinvented themselves. Buffalo continued its surge by notching its fourth consecutive victory, pummeling former MAC member UMass in 34-7 fashion. During Buffalo’s win streak, it has tackled its competition by an average margin exceeding 20 points per game.

UMass may be one of four programs without an FBS win in 2022, but Buffalo learned in Week 2 when it lost to FCS foe Holy Cross that overlooking competition can be dangerous. This time, the Bulls left no doubt, storming to a 24-7 halftime lead against the Minutemen and finishing the effort in the second half to record their first non-conference win of 2022.

It was a balanced performance by an assertive offense, which more than doubled UMass’ production in the yardage department. Quarterback Cole Snyder led the passing attack with 277 yards and tied his career-high by delivering three touchdown strikes. Although the Bulls had primarily been led by the duo of Justin Marshall and Quian Williams this season, Snyder spread the wealth rather evenly Saturday, with 10 different targets corralling a reception. While Williams played a role in accruing Buffalo’s first touchdown of the day on a 4th and goal gamble, it wound up being Jamari Gassett who ranked first among receivers with four receptions and 85 yards.

Buffalo produced a steady rushing attack with Ron Cook Jr. and Mike Washington, but one explosive scamper by Al-Jay Henderson was the unit’s most notable play of the day. In the early second quarter, Henderson carved through the middle of the UMass and emerged as the winner of a foot race to complete an 84-yard run. Prior to Saturday, the freshman never registered more than 27 yards in a contest, but he shattered his previous best with 99 yards complemented by his second career rushing score.

Although Buffalo’s offense produced impressive numbers, the reality is this game could have more lopsided in the scoring margin. UMass didn’t commit a single turnover while the Bulls gave the ball away on two occasions. Snyder threw one interception in Minutemen territory in the waning second of the first half and tossed a second on the penultimate play of the third quarter. But thanks to Buffalo’s relentless defense, neither turnover proved costly.

The Bulls limited UMass’ two quarterbacks to an 8-of-19 showing from the pocket for 108 yards. The Minutemen featured the FBS’s worst passing offense heading into Saturday while completed passes at a sub-50 percent clip, and the Bulls ensured those alarming trends would sustain for UMass. Thanks to dominance on both sides of the trenches, UMass wasn’t able to generate much in the run game either. Kay’Ron Adams produced several solid pickups with a team-high 65 rushing yards, but overall, UMass just mustered 2.2 yards per carry — and Buffalo’s four sacks played a part in limiting that average.

Buffalo partied in the backfield all afternoon by generating 15 tackles for loss. NC State transfer Ibrahim Kante led the charge with two sacks and three tackles for loss while team captain and All-MAC linebacker James Patterson pitched in two tackles behind the line of scrimmage while serving as the team-lead in total takedowns.

After the team from Amherst, NY dominated in Amherst, MA the Bulls officially matched their win total from the 2021 season. Buffalo, the current MAC East frontrunner, is one of two teams in the entire conference to wield a 3-0 conference record, and the other is Toledo. Next Saturday, head coach Maurice Linguist and the Bulls return home to host Toledo in a potential preview of the MAC Championship Game in one of the league’s most anticipated showdowns of the 2022 season.