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2016 MAC Football Recap: Miami RedHawks vs. Buffalo Bulls

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Miami is a win away from being bowl-eligible after the 35-24 win.

NCAA Football: Central Michigan at Miami (Ohio) Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami RedHawks (5-6, 5-2 MAC) are now a game away from becoming bowl-eligible for the first time since 2010 as they downed the Buffalo Bulls (2-8, 1-5 MAC) 35-24 Saturday afternoon. It was primarily a defensive battle as no one was able to throw for at least 200 yards, but the RedHawks were able to run for 204 yards and a score at a 5.2 yards per carry clip while the defense scored a pair of touchdowns to help the cause.

Miami got off to an early 20-0 lead in the second quarter after a pair of touchdown tosses from Gus Ragland to Jared Murphy as well as a seven-yard scamper by Ragland for a score. The Bulls managed to cut their deficit in the third quarter with a Brandon Crawford fumble return for a touchdown and an Adam Mitcheson 30-yard field goal, but the day belonged to De’Andre Montgomery as he took an interception 20 yards to the house as well as a 92-yard fumble return for a score.

A Nick Dowd field goal at 9:57 remaining in regulation set the score at 35-10, but Buffalo did not relent with a pair of rushing scores from Jordan Johnson and Jonathan Hawkins despite not having enough time to complete the comeback. UB did all the right things in the game as it had more first downs than Miami (27-11), ran more plays (86-53), gained more yards (380-309), and won time of possession (31:01-28:52), but the touchdowns off of turnovers were devastating.

Ragland had a tough day passing as he went 7/14 for 105 yards, two touchdowns, and two sacks, but nine rushes for 45 yards and a score helped the cause on the ground. The tandem of Alonzo Smith and Grant Niemiec had 18 carries for 137 yards, while James Gardner was kept in check in his first game back from injury with a 15-yard reception in the game.

Miami still has an outside shot of winning the MAC East with a win over Ball State on Nov. 22 and Ohio losses at Central Michigan and vs. Akron. The RedHawks have to take care of business first against the Cardinals in Oxford and get to .500. With road contests against Western Michigan and Bowling Green to close out the season, the Bulls have a rough couple of weeks but the program is definitely showing signs of being competitive in the MAC in the near future.