Buffalo can't keep up with Tennessee in 41-10 loss
Buffalo showed some signs of improvement that could lead to a decent Mid-American Conference season. They just weren't enough to stay competitive against a Southeastern Conference foe.
The Bulls put together a few solid drives and took advantage of some mistakes by Tennessee but ultimately lost 41-10 the Volunteers on Saturday.
''It was a tough day for us, but I was proud at moments in the game where our kids show signs of being very competitive and doing what we asked them to do,'' coach Jeff Quinn said. ''Now we have to get ready to go into the MAC play for the final seven games of the season.''
The Tennessee defense lost track of Buffalo quarterback Chazz Anderson on second-and-6 at the Bulls 32, and Anderson easily shot into open field to run 68 yards in a straight line for a touchdown with 3:21 in the first quarter to cut Tennessee's lead to 14-7.
On the kickoff, the Vols' Cameron Clear touched the football but was unable to recover the squibbed kick. Brandon Murie recovered the fumble for Buffalo at the Tennessee 21, but the Bulls couldn't capitalize and Peter Fardon was short on a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Fardon connected on a 30-yard field goal with 8:38 in the fourth quarter for the final score of the game, capping nine-play, 47-yard drive.
Buffalo got the ball back immediately when Devrin Young fumbled the kickoff return and Shaquille Dudley recovered the ball at the Vols 23. The Bulls couldn't turn the mistake into points, but instead turned the ball over on downs.
Saron Hood blocked and scooped up Matt Darr's punt on Tennessee's next drive but fumbled the ball moments later. Darr recovered it and ran for a first down.
''We've got to put it together,'' Quinn said. ''You expect your guys to make the plays when they have to be made. That's what we have to do.''
The Bulls gained just 264 yards compared to the Vols' 531, held the ball 10 fewer minutes, converted just three of 13 third-down attempts and zero of three fourth-down attempts.
Anderson finished 8 of 19 for 99 yards and had 79 yards rushing
Tyler Bray was 21 for 30 for four touchdowns and 342 yards for Tennessee. His four touchdowns marked the 10th consecutive game he's thrown for multiple scores, ranking second in the NCAA behind Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore's 16-game streak.
Da'Rick Rogers caught two of those touchdown passes and finished with a career-high 180 yards on seven catches. He surpassed his previous career high of 100 yards receiving with 10 minutes to go in the second quarter after a 58-yard pass from Bray that would eventually set up his second score.
Tennessee scored easily after Buffalo (1-4) went three-and-out on the opening drive. Bray had a pair of 14-yard passes and handed off to Rajion Neal on a reverse, and Neal ran 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Vols a 7-0 lead 3 minutes into the game.
The drive was set up by Devrin Young's 43-yard punt return, Tennessee's longest in four seasons. Young was seeing his first playing time after recovering from a fractured collarbone, and the freshman finished with 100 all-purpose yards and a fumble.
The Vols finally saw some improvement from their ground game against a Buffalo defense that had limited Connecticut to just 80 yards the previous week. After finishing with minus-9 yards total against Florida, Tennessee accumulated 199 yards rushing, led by Tauren Poole's 101 yards on 17 carries.
The game marked the first meeting between the two teams and Buffalo's second time facing a Southeastern Conference foe. The Bulls, who have beaten a BCS team only once before, previously logged a 38-7 loss at Auburn in 2006.
''There's only MAC games left for us this season,'' offensive tackle Matt Ostrowski said. ''It's a new season now. Our goal is the championship.''