History was made on Saturday afternoon as the University at Buffalo football team won the first bowl game in school history by defeating Charlotte, 31-9, in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl played in Thomas Robinson Stadium in Nassau, Bahamas
Sophomore running back Jaret Patterson was named the Offensive Most Valuable player after rushing for 173 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
While Patterson paced the offensive attack, it was the defense that shined in the Bahamas sun. Charlotte, one of top rushing teams in Conference USA, and 25th nationally, was limited to just 80 yards on the ground. Junior defensive end Malcolm Koonce was named the Defensive Most Valuable Player after tallying five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble.
The Bulls wasted little time getting on the board as they scored on their first possession. Kyle Vantrease connected with Antonio Nunn on a 12-yard fade pattern to give UB a 7-0 lead with 9:12 left in the first quarter.
Vantrease called his own number with a quarterback sneak, with three minutes left in the half, to give the Bulls a 14-0 lead.
Linebacker James Patterson made one of the biggest defensive plays of the game when he came up with an interception on Charlotte’s first play of its ensuing possession. The Bulls were able to convert that into a 31-yard Alex McNulty field goal to take a 17-0 lead at the half.
Buffalo extended its lead to 24-0 on a 6-yard Patterson touchdown run, his first of the game, with 5:22 left in the third quarter.
Charlotte finally got on the board late in the third quarter on a 51-yard touchdown pass. Linebacker Matt Otwinowski sniffed out the 49ers’ two-point conversion try to keep it a three-score game, 24-6.
After Charlotte kicked a field goal to make the score 24-9 with 10 minutes left in the game, the offense put together its most impressive drive of the game. The Bulls mounted a 16-play, 75-yard drive that took over nine minutes off the clock. Patterson put the game on ice with a 10-yard touchdown run with 1:43 left.
With a couple injuries on defense, reserve players had to step up. Junior cornerback Ali Abbas was one of those players as had a career-high nine tackles and a big pass breakup.
Seniors Joey Banks and Devon Russell finished their career on a high note with nine and seven tackles, respectively. Fellow senior Ledarius Mack’s sack was the final play of the game.
Buffalo finished the 2019 season 8-5.