Buffalo’s late score secures bowl win over Marshall

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports The Buffalo Bulls hoist the trophy after winning the Camellia Bowl against Marshall Thundering Herd during the second half at Cramton Bowl Stadium.

Kevin Marks’ 2-yard touchdown run with 1:09 left Friday enabled Buffalo to claim a 17-10 win over Marshall in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala.

The score capped a 13-play, 88-drive that ate up 6:18. Quarterback Kyle Vantrease played a key role, hitting on 5 of 6 passes for 60 yards, including a 12-yarder to Antonio Nunn that set up the Bulls (6-1) at the Thundering Herd 1.

Two plays later, Marks powered in against a defense that let him score in order to save time for the offense’s last gasp. It capped a 35-carry, 138-yard day for Marks against the nation’s second-ranked run defense. Vantrease completed 16 of 27 passes for 140 yards and an interception.

Marshall (7-3) nearly forced overtime, reaching the Buffalo 20 with 30 seconds left. But freshman quarterback Grant Wells was sacked for a 4-yard loss by Eric Black on 4th-and-11 from the 21-yard line with three seconds left to seal the outcome.

Wells hit on 13 of 20 passes for 114 yards, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Herd from ending the season with a three-game losing streak.

Neither offense got going in the first quarter, which wasn’t a surprise. Both played without their star running backs. Buffalo’s Jaret Patterson sat out with a knee injury, while Marshall’s Brenden Knox opted to forego the bowl game to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft.

But the Bulls put together a nice drive late in the first quarter and cashed it in just 3:17 into the second quarter as Vantrease kept a read option for a 1-yard touchdown. Buffalo made it 10-0 with 5:33 left in the half on Alex McNulty’s 25-yard field goal, the team’s first of the year.

After collecting just 37 yards on their first three possessions, the Thundering Herd finally responded just before halftime. They marched 75 yards on 12 plays, with Knowledge McDaniel powering in from the 2 with 42 seconds remaining to cut the Bulls’ edge to 10-7.

–Field Level Media