Badgers Wear Down Bulls, 35-3
The Bulls had a first and goal at the Wisconsin three-yard line late in the first half while trailing 7-3. A few moments later, the No. 12-ranked Badgers took a 21-3 lead to halftime and went on to defeat Buffalo, 35-3, before more than 80,000 fans at Camp Randall Stadium.
“I am proud of our players, they played very, very hard and very competitively,” said head coach Turner Gill. “That's what we talk to them about: compete every single play, give a great effort every play. Wisconsin has an excellent football team and they did a great job.”
Things started badly for the Bulls when on the opening play senior quarterback Tony Paoli (Fort Lauderdale, FL/St. Thomas Aquinas) was intercepted by cornerback Jack Ikegwuonu inside the Buffalo 30-yard line. The Badgers struck quickly as quarterback Taylor Donovan hit flanker Paul Hubbard for a 26-yard score.
The Bulls responded, however, on the ensuing drive. Paoli hit freshman flanker Naaman Roosevelt (Buffalo, NY/St. Joseph’s Collegiate) on a screen that the frosh turned into a 47-yard catch and run. The Bulls eventually dented the scoreboard on a 34-yard field goal by senior Adam Tanalski (Bellerose Village, NY/St. Francis Prep), to cut the Badgers lead to 7-3 with 11:07 left in the first quarter. Tanalski remained perfect on the season with the successful kick, moving to 6-for-6 on the year in field goals.
The Bulls’ defense rose up and made two huge stops after tying the score. The Bulls forced the Badgers into a three and out possession, before another turnover deep in their own territory jeopardized Buffalo. Tailback James Starks (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) fumbled with Wisconsin recovering at the Buffalo 26-yard line. However, sophomore defensive end Chris Callahan (Webster, NY/Webster Thomas) snuffed out the drive with a tackle for loss of Donovan. The Badgers then missed a 44-yard field goal attempt to keep the score at 7-3.
Buffalo’s defense continued to play with tremendous passion in the first half, snuffing out two more Badgers’ drives inside the Buffalo 30-yard line. Late in the first quarter, Buffalo drove to the UB 18-yard line before the Bulls’ forced another field goal attempt. This time kicker Taylor Mahlhaff's 35-yard attempt was blocked by junior Trevor Scott (Potsdam, NY/Potsdam).
Buffalo squandered their own chance to possibly take the lead late in the first half. Redshirt frosh Kendric Hawkins (Upper Marlboro, MD/DeMatha Catholic) recovered a fumble on a Buffalo punt at the Wisconsin 46-yard line to set Buffalo up in good position. Paoli and Roosevelt then connected again, this time for 43 yards to the Wisconsin three-yard line. However, the Bulls could not push the ball over the goal line and Tanalski missed a 25-yard field goal.
The Badgers, seizing the momentum, took advantage by driving 80 yards in five plays with P.J. Hill going the final three yards for the score. The big play of the drive was a 62-yard completion from Donovan to tight end Travis Beckum.
The Bulls looked to be setup to get another score following the kickoff, as Roosevelt returned the ball 51 yards to the UW 49-yard line. However, Paoli would get sacked and fumble with the Badgers taking over at the UB 46. Two plays later, Donovan hit Luke Swan for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give the Badgers a 21-3, after the PAT, at halftime.
The Buffalo defense recorded four sacks on the afternoon, including a pair by Trevor Scott. Scott’s two sacks give him eight for the season. Junior Ollice Ervin (Vero Beach, FL/Vero Beach) paced a defense that held Doak Walker Award semifinalist P.J. Hill to less than 100 yards. Ervin . Senior linebacker Jeff Bublavi (Norwood, PA/Interboro) went over the century mark in tackles on the season with nine stops, giving him 102 for the year. Bublavi joined Bobby Johnson and J.J. Gibson as the only players to record 100 tackles or more since moving up to Division I-A in 1999.
Kareem Byrom (New Brunswick, NJ/New Brunswick) added nine tackles, including two for loss, while Mike Newton (Pasadena, MD/Calvert Hall) added seven tackles and an interception.
BULL-etins: The crowd of 80,850 was the second largest to ever witness a UB football game, just behind the 84,912 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn in September...defensive end Trevor Scott moved into a tie for ninth place for sacks in a season with eight, matching Bill Stonecypher in 1990...strong safety Mike Newton recorded his team-leading fifth interception of the season in the fourth quarter. That figure ties him for 10th all-time for a single season. It's the highest figure since Mark Graham recorded six in 2002...free safety Jesse Imes (Cincinnati, OH/Kings Mill) tied for the single season record with his fourth fumble recovery of the season in the third quarter. Imes joined John White (1979), Kim Frink (1984), Dave May (1985) and Kevin Deakin (1987) with four recoveries in a season. The fumble was forced by Kareem Byrom, who tied for second all-time for single-season forced fumbles with his fourth of the year. Byrom moved into a tie with Rich Dadabo (1991), Pete Conley (1995), Craig Guest (1996) and Keith Hansen (1996) with four. Anthony Scott (1996) is the single-season leader with six. Byrom also moved into ninth for forced fumbles in a career, tying Steve Blake (1996-97)...the first quarter block by Trevor Scott was Buffalo’s sixth blocked kick of the season, the most since moving up to Division I-A in 1999. The school record for blocks in a season is 11, set in 1995...Kendric Hawkins recorded the first sack of his career in the second quarter...it was Buffalo’s third trip into a Big Ten stadium since Division I-A play began in 1999. Buffalo traveled to Minnesota (2002) and Iowa (2003) previously....senior tight end Chad Upshaw (Southport, CT/St. Joseph’s)New Brunswick, NJ New Brunswick extended his catch streak to 21 games with a third quarter grab...freshman Taylor Packwood (Mesquite, TX/Bishop Lynch)New Brunswick, NJ New Brunswick recorded his first career punt – 48 yards – in the fourth quarter.
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