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Bobcats Best Bulls, Win Sixth Straight

Nov. 4, 2010

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ATHENS, Ohio- All classes of Bobcats shined on Senior Night at Peden Stadium as Ohio defeated visiting Buffalo by a final score of 34-17 on Thursday. Quarterback Boo Jackson scored three types of touchdowns during the game, as he caught one, threw two and ran one into the end zone. Ohio's defense had a great day, combining for four sacks and three forced turnovers. Terrence McCrae had a big game as well, catching four passes for 48 yards and two touchdowns.

With the win, Ohio improves to 7-3 (5-1 Mid-American Conference) while Buffalo drops to 2-7 (1-4 MAC). The `Cats now hold an 11-7 edge in the all-time series against the Bulls. After Thursday's game, the Bobcats have now outscored their 2010 opponents by an impressive 299-210 margin heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

The Bobcats got off to a great start, scoring on their first drive via a one-yard rush by Jackson (Gardena, Calif.). The touchdown capped an eight-play, 60-yard drive which lasted four minutes and 12 seconds. It was the seventh rushing touchdown of the season for Jackson, a number which leads the team in 2010.

On its next drive, the Green and White offense continued to roll. The `Cats drove 68 yards in a mere seven plays for their next touchdown, this one being caught by Jackson. On a trick play, quarterback Phil Bates (Omaha, Neb.) found fellow quarterback Jackson with a beautiful ball thrown into the end zone for a 26-yard touchdown. This play provided firsts for both Bobcats, as the receiving touchdown was a career first for Jackson while the touchdown pass was the first in Bates' career at Ohio.

Ohio's defense hit the ground running, forcing two turnovers in the early stages of the first half. In the first quarter, Stafford Gatling (Burlington, NC) evaded Buffalo's offensive line en route to sacking quarterback Alex Zordich and forcing a fumble. Teammate Dak Notestine (Bellefontaine, Ohio) was the first player to the ball, scooping up his first career fumble recovery. A few moments later, at the beginning of the second quarter, Alphonso Lewis (Altoona, Pa.) stepped in front of a Zordich pass for his first career interception.

The third drive for Ohio's offense was just as successful as the first two, as the Bobcats found the end zone for the third consecutive possession. This time, Ryan Boykin (Woodstock, Ga.) powered the ball in on the ground from one yard out, scoring his third rushing touchdown of the season. Boykin's touchdown was the culmination of a 12-play, 66-yard drive that took 7:08 off the clock.

Buffalo got on the board with 3:06 remaining in the first half, as a ten-play, 63-yard drive ended with an impressive 17-yard touchdown pass from Zordich to Marcus Rivers. A.J. Principe split the uprights with the PAT, making the score 21-7 in favor of the Bobcats.

The Bulls tried to score again before the half, but Zordich's deep pass into the end zone was picked off by Hilton Dawson III (Compton, Calif.) as time expired. This marked the third takeaway for Ohio's defense in the first half.

More than halftime was needed for Ohio's offense to cool down, as the Bobcats scored on their first second-half drive. Jackson found receiver McCrae (Vanderbilt, Pa.) for a 15-yard touchdown strike to extend Ohio's lead to 27-7. The touchdown reception was McCrae's eighth of the season.

With 6:03 remaining in the third quarter, Buffalo narrowed the gap to 17 with a 34-yard field goal by Principe. A key play on this drive was an attempted 20-yard touchdown pass from Zordich to Terrel Jackson. Ohio's Shannon Ballard (Miami, Fla.) had other plans, jumping up and making a great play on the ball to break up the pass. This was the first pass breakup of the season for Ballard and the sixth of his career.

Buffalo made a late push in the fourth quarter, scoring a touchdown and converting the ensuing PAT to shrink the deficit to 10 at 27-17. The Bulls started this short scoring drive when Khalil Mack sacked Jackson and forced a fumble that was ultimately recovered by Steven Means.

Facing a fourth-and-one on its next possession, Jackson threw a 15-yard touchdown pass over the top of the Buffalo secondary to McCrae. This score put the `Cats up 34-17 with 5:18 remaining in the game. The touchdown catch was McCrae's ninth of the season, which ties his own single-season mark in 2009 and one set by former tight end Andrew Mooney in 2008.

Ohio's next game is a November 16 date at MAC East rival Temple. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and will begin at 8 pm.

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