BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Five wins in a row established University at Buffalo as the team to beat in the Mid-American Conference. Ohio did just that Tuesday night, and the 45-24 defeat left the Bulls looking up at the Bobcats in the MAC East division.

With its first loss in 45 days, UB dropped to 5-4 overall, remaining one win from bowl eligibility, and 4-1 in the MAC, while Ohio (6-3, 4-1) holds the head-to-head tiebreaker in the standings.

The Bulls could conceivably run the table, with next Wednesday’s trip to Central Michigan (3-6, 2-3) followed by two Saturday games at UB Stadium against Akron (1-8, 0-5) and Kent State (3-6, 2-3). But the path to the MAC championship game now requires a loss by the Bobcats, who play at Miami (4-5, 2-3) and Ball State (5-4, 3-2) the next two weeks before finishing at home against Bowling Green (5-4, 4-1).

A UB offense that averaged better than 425 and 35 points during the five-game win streak sputtered on Frank Solich Field. The Bulls’ 260 net yards and 22 yards rushing were season lows, and three running backs compiled 29 yards on 12 carries.

UB battled back from after falling behind 24-3, scoring touchdowns in the final minute of the second quarter — Cole Snyder’s 12-yard pass to Justin Marshall — and the first minute of the third quarter — Keyshawn Cobb’s 26-yard interception return, the Bulls’ third defensive touchdown of the season.

Snyder’s second TD, a 2-yard toss to Mike Washington, trimmed Ohio’s lead to 31-24 late in the third quarter. The quarterback out of Southwestern by way of Rutgers was 25 of 49 passing for 238 yards. He gained 26 yards on 10 scrambles, but lost 33 to six sacks. 

Ohio counterpart Kurtis Rourke was 20 of 249 passing for 317 yards and five touchdowns. It was the first 300-yard passing game UB has allowed this season. Rourke also rushed for 36 yards.

The Bobcats opened a 17-0 lead in the first quarter while the Bulls had five net yards, no first downs and an interception on the first three series.

UB got on the board in the second quarter with Alex McNulty’s 28-yard field goal.

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Jonah Bronstein joined the News 4 roster in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. Read more of his work here.