Tuesday night MACtion returned to the nation’s television screens — and streaming devices — and, as is ofttimes the case, it didn’t fail to deliver an entertaining appetizer to the weekend’s main course.
On the strength of six total touchdowns from the arm and legs of Tyree Jackson, Buffalo outlasted Miami (OH) in a wild 51-42 shootout to maintain control of the MAC East race. The game was a back and forth affair throughout, featuring five ties and the same number of lead changes.
The Bulls took its biggest lead of the game at 42-28 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter; however, a 59-yard Gus Ragland pulled the RedHawks to within seven less than three minutes later. A successful onsides kick after that score led to a Ragland one-yard touchdown run with just 17 seconds left in the third to once again knot the score, this time at 42-all.
Jaret Patterson‘s four-yard touchdown run — the only non-Jackson touchdown of the night for the Bulls — midway through the fourth stretched the lead to 48-42 as the point-after failed; Adam Mitcheson‘s 37-yard field goal with 3:54 left put the game out of reach thanks to turnovers on the RedHawks’ final two possessions — a lost fumble with just over two minutes remaining and giving the ball back on downs just over a minute later.
The 6-7, 245-pound Jackson threw for a season-high 358 yards and three touchdown passes while adding another three touchdowns on the ground. Anthony Johnson caught all three of Jackson’s touchdown passes, totaling a career-high 238 yards on his eight catches.
Ragland passed for 313 yards in a losing effort, his second straight 300-yard effort and third of the season. The senior also matched Jackson’s three touchdowns on the ground.
With the win, Buffalo improved to 5-0 in MAC play, while Miami fell to 3-2. If Ohio can get past Western Michigan (6-3 overall, 4-1 in MAC play) Thursday night, the Bobcats would exit Week 10 a game behind the Bulls at 4-1 in the conference and keep the two East teams on a collision course for a Nov. 14 meeting that will likely decide the division’s representative in the conference championship game.