BUFFALO 31, CHARLOTTE 9 (DECEMBER 20, 2019)

2019 Final Statistics Gamebook (PDF)
2019 Flip Card (PDF)

Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson rushed a bowl-record 32 times for 173 yards and two touchdowns to help secure the program’s first-ever bowl victory, as the Bulls defeated Charlotte 31-9 in the 2019 Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl.

Patterson was selected as the Offensive Player of the Game and punctuated the victory with his second touchdown run with 1:43 left in the contest. The Bulls’ final drive went for 16 plays and spanned 9:07. Patterson accounted for 81 rushing yards on 13 attempts during the drive, as he was handed the ball on the first nine plays of the possession to ice the game.

Buffalo defensive end Malcolm Koonce was awarded Defensive Player of the Game honors thanks to his five tackles, two sacks and one forced fumble. Koonce’s strip sack of Charlotte quarterback Chris Reynolds was recovered by the Bulls’ Ledarius Mack with six seconds remaining in the second quarter and helped the Bulls preserve a 17-0 lead heading into halftime.

“I’m really proud of our guys, especially after a layoff, to play as well as we did, as physical as we did,” said Buffalo head coach Lance Leipold. “We were able to establish the running game. Our defense, especially in the first half, played outstanding. We got some key fourth down stops, created a couple turnovers. It’s a team effort, but these three gentlemen sitting next to me (Patterson, Koonce, James Patterson) had great days and great seasons.”

Buffalo (8-5) finished the season with three straight victories and five victories in the Bulls’ final six games. Charlotte (7-6) fell in the 49ers’ first bowl appearance in school history.

Aside from Patterson’s performance on the ground, both defenses turned in solid performances. Buffalo held a slight 282 to 278 advantage in total offense. The combined 560 yards were the fewest in Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl history, which was a distinction previously held by the 2017 game between Ohio and UAB (812 combined yards).

Charlotte defensive end Markees Watts led all players with 11 tackles, while safety Marquavis Gibbs tallied an interception for the 49ers. Buffalo linebacker James Patterson (Jaret’s twin brother) also had an interception for the Bulls.

After forcing a three-and-out on Charlotte’s first drive of the game, Buffalo marched 61 yards in seven plays to go up 7-0 at the 9:12 mark of the first quarter. Patterson ran the ball five times for 46 yards on the drive, while Antonio Nunn caught two passes from Kyle Vantrease for 15 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown reception along the right sideline of the endzone.

The Bulls went up 14-0 with 3:33 left in the first half on a one-yard sneak by Vantrease. Buffalo moved the ball deliberately down the field for the score, running 15 plays (11 rushes) and taking 8:26 off the clock. James Patterson intercepted Reynolds on the 49ers’ next play from scrimmage and returned it 20 yards to the Charlotte 12, setting up the short field. The 49ers defense held strong, though, holding the Bulls to a 31-yard field goal by Alex McNulty that put Buffalo up 17-0 with 1:25 remaining in the half.

Jaret Patterson added to the Bulls’ lead at 5:22 in the third with a six-yard touchdown run. Buffalo took over on downs to start the drive at the Charlotte 43-yard line with 9:07 on the clock, and it was a healthy dose of Patterson from there. He rushed the ball on five of the seven plays, including the score to put the Bulls up 24-0.

Charlotte got on the scoreboard with 2:20 left in the third on a 51-yard touchdown strike from Reynolds to Victor Tucker. Tucker caught a short crossing route and did the rest with his feet, alluding several Bulls defenders en route to the end zone. The 49ers two-point attempt came up short, keeping the score at 24-6.

On the next Buffalo drive, Charlotte forced a quick three-and-out. After taking over via punt on their own 31-yard line, the 49ers went 54 yards on 10 plays to set up a successful 32-yard field goal by Jonathan Cruz. That score cut the deficit to 24-9 with 10:50 to go in the game before Patterson and the Bulls put the game away with their final drive.

Nunn led the Bulls with five catches for 53 yards and a score, while Charlotte’s Tyler Ringwood had five receptions for 64 yards.

Teams (Conference)1234 Final (Record)
Buffalo (MAC)7107731 (8-5)
Charlotte (C-USA)00639 (7-6)

Attendance: 13,547; Time: 3:14; Weather: Mostly cloudy, 77 degrees
Head Coaches: Buffalo-Lance Leipold; Charlotte-Will Healy
Offensive Player of the Game: Buffalo RB Jaret Patterson
Defensive Player of the Game: Buffalo DE Malcolm Koonce
Scoring Summary  BUF-CLT
Qtr-TimeTeamScoring Play - Scoring Drive (Plays-Yards-Time)Score
1-9:12BUFNunn 12 pass from Vantrease (McNulty kick) 7-61-3:117-0
2-3:33BUFVantrease 1 rush (McNulty kick) 15-74-8:2614-0
2-1:25BUFMcNulty 31 FG 4--2-1:5517-0
3-5:22BUFJaret Patterson 6 rush (McNulty kick) 7-43-3:4524-0
3-2:20CLTTucker 51 pass from Reynolds (pass failed) 7-75-3:0224-6
4-10:50CLTCruz 32 FG 10-54-5:2624-9
4-1:03BUFJaret Patterson 10 rush (McNulty kick) 16-75-9:0731-9

TEAM STATISTICSBUFCLT
FIRST DOWNS1915
RUSHING ATT-YARDS-TD46-205-331-80-0
NET YARDS PASSING77198
Comp-Att-Int8-17-115-24-1
Passing Touchdowns11
TOTAL OFFENSE PLAYS-YARDS63-28255-278
Average Gain Per Play4.55.1
Fumbles: Number-Lost0-01-1
Penalties: Number-Yards2-233-20
PUNTS-YARDS3-1281-39
Average Yards Per Punt42.739.0
Punt returns: Number-Yards-TD1-4-02-31-0
Kickoff returns: Number-Yards-TD0-0-00-0-0
Interceptions: Number-Yards-TD1-20-01-34-0
Fumble Returns: Number-Yards1-30-0
Time of Possession33:1226:48
3rd Down Conversions7-145-12
4th Down Conversions2-22-4
Sacks by: Number-Yards5-160-0

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING (Attempts-Yards)
BUF – Jaret Patterson 32-173, 2 TD, Kevin Marks 12-27, Kyle Vantrease 2-5, 1 TD. CLT – Benny Lemay 13-45, Victor Tucker 1-12, Chris Reynolds 14-10, Micaleous Elder 2-10, Aaron McAllister 1-3.
PASSING (Completions-Attempts-Interceptions)
BUF – Vantrease 8-17-1, 77 yds., 1 TD.
CLT – Reynolds 15-24-1, 198 yds., 1 TD.
RECEIVING (Receptions-Yards)
BUF – Antonio Nunn 5-53, 1 TD, Zac Lefebvre 2-18, Daniel Lee 1-6. CLT – Tyler Ringwood 5-64, Cameron Dollar 4-48, Tucker 3-61, 1 TD, Elder 2-18, Ryan Carriere 1-7.
PUNTING (Punts-Average-Long)
BUF – Jackson Baltar 3-42.7, 47 long. CLT – Connor Bowler 1-39.0, 39 long.