Buffalo bowls over MU behind Mack and Oliver
Published: Friday, November 22, 2013
Updated: Sunday, November 24, 2013 17:11
When it rains, it pours, and this one was a Category 5 storm named Hurricane Mack. Redshirt senior linebacker Khalil Mack, a potential top-five NFL draft pick recorded three sacks and three forced fumbles in the first half alone, helping the University at Buffalo to improve to 8-3 with a 44-7 smashing of Miami University. In the win, Mack broke the all-time NCAA forced fumbles record. The previous record of 14 was held by five separate players, including current Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs. The outside linebacker passed that in the first 30 minutes, raising the bar to 16. He’s now also 4.5 tackles-for-loss behind all-time leader Jason Babin, who recorded 75 during his years at Western Michigan in the early 2000’s.
“We made him look like the No. 1 overall pick tonight,” interim head coach Mike Bath said. “It was disheartening. But he’s a dude, there’s no other way you can really put it. I remember seeing A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter on the field at the same time at Ohio State, and he was more impressive on film then what I remember those guys being. He’s clutch, and he showed it tonight.”
Buffalo outgained Miami 517 to 200, with 311 of those yards coming on the ground.
After the game, which was Miami’s senior night, Bath gathered his team around the block ‘M’ at midfield and delivered an emotional address to his ‘Hawks.
“I told the seniors I’m sorry that their last game at Yager Stadium turned out the way it did,” Bath said. “But also told them that I thank them, because again, those guys really did play to that last whistle. And I respect that, I really do.”
A few seniors even stayed out at midfield a bit longer, soaking in the icy evening air one last time on the turf they have called home for the last four years.
Though the RedHawks were blown out, it was a 0-0 tie for the better part of the first half. But Buffalo pulled away in the second quarter, as it totaled 28 points in the quarter. That quarter included a demoralizing fumble by redshirt freshman quarterback Austin Gearing in Bulls territory that senior defensive back Okoye Houston scooped up and took 60 yards to the house with less than a minute on the clock.
Miami’s lone score came with 3:04 remaining in the contest on a run by redshirt sophomore quarterback Drew Kummer against Buffalo’s second-string defense.
Gearing complete five of 19 passes with one interception and 105 total offensive yards, 40 of which came on the ground.
Freshman cornerback Heath Harding recorded an interception in the third quarter, as well as two tackles, one of which was for a loss.
Sophomore linebacker Josh Dooley led the team with 13 tackles.
It’s easy to focus on the 0-11 record, but the RedHawks are keeping a positive outlook heading into their final week of play. Redshirt senior tight end and captain Steve Marck puts emphasis on the fact that though he likes to win, there are other important achievements to be had in the game he loves.
“Coach Bath, and Coach Treadwell when he was here, they put a large emphasis on life outside of football,” Marck said. “Anybody can do the right thing on the football field and people are going to love you on Saturday, but when your time is up here, what will you take away from that? When they’re teaching you about becoming a man and having that character, that sets you up for success.”
The long ’Hawks season is almost at an end, and they face a perfectly imperfect 0-12 season barring a spectacular performance against 9-2 Ball State University Friday, Nov. 29. A loss to Ball State would extend the Miami losing streak to 16 games.