Buffalo 17, Marshall 10. The 10 ten things you need to know about the Buffalo win over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl.
Buffalo 17, Marshall 10: Camellia Bowl
10. It’s been a really, really rough run for Conference USA. The American Athletic Conference might be having problems this bowl season, but champion UAB got its bowl game canceled, North Texas got run over by Appalachian State in the Myrtle Beach, Louisiana Tech couldn’t handle Georgia Southern in the New Orleans, and Florida Atlantic lost to Memphis in the Montgomery. And now this – this one really hurt.
There are still chances with WKU against Georgia State in the LendingTree and UTSA vs. Louisiana in the SERVPRO First Responder.
9. In an AWFUL start to the bowl season, we’ll take this. There wasn’t any offense, the passing games struggled, and it wasn’t scintillating football, but both defenses were fine and it was close late with a whole lot of drama. It was the first bowl game out of the six played so far that wasn’t a double-digit uggo.
8. Don’t make mistakes, stay in the game, let the defense try to win this. The Marshall gameplan almost worked, but the O needed more out of QB Grant Wells. The Freshman all-star threw five picks against Rice, hit just 35% of his passes against UAB, and he didn’t take too many chances. He set up the lone touchdown with a nice throw, but he finished with just 114 passing yards and no touchdowns.
7. The Marshall offense was inept, but the Bulls was excellent at keeping control of the game when things weren’t working. They held on to the ball for way over 35 minutes, converted 8-of-15 third down chances, and they made the tempo work. It helped that the Herd offense was no threat for a huge chunk of the game, especially in the first half.
6. Now Lance Leipold needs to figure out how to win a MAC Championship. The UB head coach had the best team in the league for the last three years but went 0-2 in the MAC title game. His 2018 lost the Dollar General Bowl, but now he and UB are on a two-game bowl winning streak. On the other side, after going 6-0 in bowls as the Marshal head coach, Doc Holliday and the Herd have lost their last two.
5. It was an interesting late sequence. With the score tied at 10 in the final minutes and with Buffalo with the ball on the Marshall 2, Marshall – with no timeouts left – tried to let UB score to get the ball back, but the Bulls didn’t want to. With Buffalo’s shaky – to be kind – kicking game, it went down on first down, but ran it in on second down rather than run down the clock further. It all worked out in the end for the Bulls as the final Herd drive stalled.
4. Marshall’s offense died down the stretch this season. There weren’t any turnovers, but the production never came back after getting shut out by Rice and struggling against UAB in the Conference USA championship. There was one good second half scoring drive, and there was a chance to take over the game with the ball on the UB 1. The Herd settled for a field goal, and that was it.
The Bulls are @CamelliaBowl Champs..
— UB Football (@UBFootball) December 26, 2020
3. The Marshall defense put did everything it could until the final UB games-inning drive. It got hit hard by the tough Buffalo running game and the power on the offensive interior, but it allowed just 295 yards of total offense and held up fine despite having to be on the field way, way too long.
2. Neither side had their star. Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson was the marquee name, but he hurt himself in the MAC Championship and sat out. That hurt, but UB had other options – more on that in a second. Marshall couldn’t afford to lose RB Brenden Knox from its struggling offense – he’s leaving to turn pro early – and it showed.
1. Buffalo had Kevin Marks, and Marshall didn’t. With both teams missing their star running backs. anything out of the offenses would be gold. All year long, Marks played second-fiddle to Patterson, but he always rocked when he got his shot. He got his shot against Marshall, ran 35 times for 138 yards and a score, and he carried the O that struggled throughout.