BUFFALO, NY – Senior running back Jordan Johnson rushed for a school-record 282 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the University at Buffalo football team to a 41-20 win over Akron at UB Stadium on Thursday night. Johnson broke a 25-year-old record held by Alan Bell who rushed for 266 yards against Duquesne in 1991.
Johnson spearheaded a rushing attack that finished with 378 yards on the ground – the most by a UB team in their FBS era (since 1999). Overall, the Bulls piled up a season-best 518 yards of total offense and their 41 points scored was also a season best.
"I'm happy for our players and assistant coaches, because I know how hard they have worked," head coach Lance Leipold said. "It's been disappointing and frustrating to this point. To see some things come together, especially on a short week, when a lot of people had counted us out completely, I'm happy and proud of that."
It was no secret Buffalo had struggled to stop the run this season. However, the Bulls defense stepped up and held the Zips to 128 yards on the ground – the lowest by an FBS opponent this season.
After the game was knotted at 3 midway through the second quarter, the Bulls took the lead for good when Tyree Jackson went untouched for a 10-yard touchdown run.
Johnson scored his first touchdown of the game when he exploded up the middle for a career-long 61-yard touchdown run to extend the Buffalo lead to 17-3 with 4:18 left in the half. It looked like that was going to be the score heading into the locker room, but Akron's JoJo Natson returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 17-10 with just 32 seconds on the clock.
Not content with taking a knee, the Bulls were able to drive 50 yards on just five plays and Adam Mitcheson connected on a 28-yard field goal, his second of the game, as time expired in the half to take a 20-10 lead. The key play on the drive was a 38-yard pass from Jackson to a diving Marcus McGill.
Jackson added a 38-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to extend the UB lead to 27-13. The redshirt-freshman quarterback rushed for 60 yards in the game on only nine carries.
After the Zips scored a touchdown to cut the lead to 27-20, the Bulls quickly answered when, on their next drive, Jackson found Mason Schreck for a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Bulls up by two touchdowns.
Fittingly it was Johnson who put the icing on the cake as he scored on a 39-yard touchdown run to not only cap the scoring, but break the school rushing record.
"It feels real good [to get the win]," Johnson said. "Our offense really started to click against NIU last week even though it didn't show on the scoreboard and we continued it this week as our coaches did a great job of preparing us with a good game plan. Our offensive line did a great job blocking tonight and we could see it all week, they were really taking what our coaches were saying to them to heart and they came out here tonight and played physical."
The Bulls will next play at Ohio next Thursday night.