Oliver helps Buffalo roll over Ohio in 30-3 win
AMHERST, N.Y. (AP)
Joe Licata threw two touchdown passes to Alex Neutz as the Bulls (7-2, 5-0 Mid-American Conference) won their seventh straight game. It's the Bulls' longest winning streak since they won seven straight spanning the 1958-59 seasons.
Neutz had four receptions for 79 yards. The two scores increased his career total to 28 touchdowns receiving, matching the school record set by Naaman Roosevelt from 2006-09.
''I'm very proud of these kids, but we're not done yet,'' Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn said.
With three games left, the Bulls control their own destiny in a bid to win the second MAC East Division title since joining the conference in 1999. Buffalo is guaranteed only its second winning record since 1997, after going 8-6 in 2008.
It's a different story for Ohio.
With three games left, the Bobcats (6-3, 3-2) were all but mathematically eliminated from winning the East division.
It was a significant drop-off for a Frank Solich-coached team that had combined for 97 points and 1,082 yards in its previous two games.
''Pretty frustrated,'' said running back Beau Blankenship, who had 68 yards rushing. ''That was a rough loss. We've just got to pick our heads up.''
Ohio also was hurt by a questionable call by referee Tom McCabe that resulted in a safety in the opening minutes of the third quarter that helped Buffalo grab control.
Facing third-and-7 at the Ohio 27 on the opening drive, Tettleton was flushed out of the pocket by linebackers Khalil Mack and Jarrett Franklin. Tettleton backpedalled to his 4 before throwing the ball away.
McCabe penalized Tettleton for intentional grounding, and ruled he had thrown the ball from inside the end zone, resulting in a safety that put Buffalo ahead 9-3. Replays showed Tettleton never got beyond the 4 and also showed McCabe was within 2 yards of the quarterback when he released the ball.
Tettleton's momentum eventually led him to tumble into the end zone, but it was long after he threw the ball to the sideline.
McCabe ruled the spot of the ball was not reviewable by replay.
McCabe issued a two-word answer - ''Yes, correct,'' he said - when asked if he had an inkling he might have been wrong in awarding the safety.
Solich was unhappy with the call, but noted it didn't ultimately cost the Bobcats the game.
What bothered Solich more was the rule preventing the officials from reviewing it.
''It's a call that points are scored on,'' Solich said. ''I believe all calls where points are scored to be reviewed, certainly if there's a question.''
Quinn said the safety helped turn the tide in the Bulls' favor.
''I thought it was kind of a gift,'' Quinn said. ''Yeah, that probably helped us a little more.''
The Bulls then broke the game open by scoring on their next three possessions to build a 30-3 lead. Licata capped the surge with a 24-yard TD pass to Neutz 1:55 into the fourth quarter.
Licata was 13 for 22 for 169 yards as Buffalo extended its home winning streak to seven for the school's best run since winning eight straight in 1983-84.
The Bulls opened the scoring on Oliver's 2-yard run 2 1/2 minutes into the second quarter. The scoring drive was set up by Mack, who ended an Ohio scoring threat by forcing a fumble by receiver Matt Waters at the Buffalo 28.
That was Mack's second forced fumble of the season and 13th of his career, moving into a tie for sixth on the NCAA list - one short of matching the record.