Three teams entered Week 13 with a shot at winning the MAC East. Exiting it, just one of those remains standing.
Needing a win to capture the division, Buffalo got off to as good a start as possible in jumping out to a 34-7 halftime lead on Bowling Green. From there, the Bulls dropped it into cruise control, rolling to a 44-14 win over the Falcons that’s was their 10th of the season, the most in program history.
A pair of freshman running backs, Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson, accounted for a pair of touchdowns apiece on the ground for the Bulls. On the day, UB ran for 332 yards as a team, led by Emmanuel Reed‘s game-high 109.
In claiming the division crown, Buffalo (7-1 in conference play) has earned a spot in next week’s MAC championship game in Detroit against West winner Northern Illinois. The Bulls last played in the conference championship game in 2008, and will be seeking their first league title since that season. In fact, that was the football program’s only conference title.
The MAC East crown, meanwhile, was the program’s second, although they lost the tiebreaker to Miami of Ohio in 2007 in sharing that year’s divisional title.
Buffalo’s opponent, NIU, will be playing in its seventh MAC title game since 2010 and its first since 2015. In a stretch of six consecutive championship game appearances from 2010-15, the Huskies won three league titles, with the last coming in 2014.
Aside from Buffalo, Miami (6-2) and Ohio (6-2) both had a shot at claiming the divisional crown coming into the week. Ohio needed to beat Akron (which they did) and for Buffalo to lose (they didn’t), while Miami needed both Buffalo and Ohio to lose after beating Ball State Tuesday night.