ATHENS, Ohio – Devin Campbell became the first true freshman since at least 2000 to rush for 100 yards in a game, amassing 160 on 30 carries in UB’s 38-31 loss to Ohio Saturday afternoon.
Campbell, No. 4 on the depth chart a month ago, slid into a starting role because of an ankle injury to Brandon Murie. Murie had been starting for Branden “Bo” Oliver, who did not dress for the second straight game because of a knee injury. Oliver’s backup to start the season, James Potts, was lost for the season after suffering a knee injury in Week Two.
Campbell’s effort showed Buffalo’s depth at running back and, perhaps most notably, the caliber of its offensive line play.
“I just want to play my game, follow behind the linemen and just follow the game plan,” Campbell said. “Coach [Matt] Simon did a great job preparing us for this week so I just went out did what he coached us to do. At first I was a little nervous but once I got comfortable after the first drive, I just went in and did what I was suppose to do.”
The Bulls totaled 313 yards on the ground with quarterback Alex Zordich adding 110. He’s the first UB QB to top 100 yards in a I-A (FBS) game.
Tight end Alex Dennison ran four times for 13 yards out of the wildcat and threw a pass to Alex Neutz that went for 55 yards and a touchdown off a reverse. The play drew UB within 24-21 early in the third quarter.
“We knew it was going to happen I just didn’t know he was going to be so open,” Dennison said. “At first I was thinking I got to put it over the top. Then everyone left him so I was just like, ‘Don’t over throw him,’ so I just lofted it out there. Just didn’t think I’d get my first passing touchdown on a reverse pass.”
Najja Johnson intercepted Ohio’s Tyler Tettleton in the first quarter, ending a streak of 161 passes without an pick for the Bobcats QB. Johnson also thwarted an Ohio field goal fake on fourth and 3 in the second quarter.
“I was just doing my responsibility,” Johnson said. “I have to check for any fakes or anything that’s funny. The running back came right to me and I got him down before he got to the first down marker. It was nothing outside doing my responsibility.”
Punter Tyler Grassman ran 13 yards for a first down on fourth and 10, keeping alive the third-quarter drive that resulted in Patrick Clarke’s tying 45-yard field goal.
“I had a feeling we were going to call it going into this game,” Grassman said. “Everyone did what they were supposed to. Colby Way was my lead blocker and with him as your lead blocker, you can’t really complain. He did his job, opening up a wide hole, and from there it was just I got to do what I got to do to get the first down.”
Neutz took hard his fumble, off a second-quarter reception, that led to an Ohio touchdown that tied the score early in the second quarter. The Bobcats scored on the next play, a 14-yard run by Beau Blankenship.
“It’s tough. First turnover of my college career,” Neutz said. “It definitely hurts. I gave them a touchdown and we lost by a touchdown so you can put two and two together there. I caught the ball, saw the first down marker, tried to make too much of a play. Just lost the ball.”
UB is now 1-7 at Peden Stadium ... Khalil Mack partially blocked a punt before the drive that led to Clarke’s field goal. For the first time this season he did not have a tackle for a loss ... UB came in as one of only four teams to have scored on every trip to the red zone (9 for 9). ... UB is fourth in the nation in sacks with 17 after 16 all of last year. ... Captains were Means, Mack, Way and Gordon.