AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) — University at Buffalo’s football team will go to a bowl game for the sixth time in history and fourth in five seasons after coming back to beat Akron 23-22 in Friday’s regular season finale at UB Stadium.
UB improved to 6-6 after losing three in a row when one more victory was required for bowl eligibility. The Bulls came back from down 16-0 in the second quarter and drove for the winning touchdown after Akron went ahead 22-17 in the fourth.
Bowl game destinations and matchups will be announced Sunday.
Cole Snyder threw a 16-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Quian Williams with 1:15 remaining.
“I’m so proud of this team finishing,” UB coach Maurice Linguist said. “This team responded in the moment. This team made plays.”
Jaylon Bass positioned UB for the winning drive when he recovered a fumble at the Bulls 38-yard-line on the next play after a Snyder interception.
“I’m proud of the resiliency this group showed,” said Linguist, who went 4-8 last year in his first season coaching UB. “I’m proud of the coaching staff. I’m proud to be the head coach here. I’m proud to get us to the next step.”
Marcus Fuqua, the Bulls’ all-conference safety, made two interceptions to bring his season total to seven. Fuqua’s second interception secured the win for UB.
“We had to lock in and execute and be us in the moment,” said Fuqua, who had three interceptions in UB’s comeback win against Toledo last month. “It was a do-or-die situation and we had to get this win to be bowl eligible. I think only five teams have done that before here. It’s a big thing in this program to be bowl eligible.
Snyder, the quarterback from Southwestern in his first season starting for UB following his transfer from Rutgers, was 23-of-43 passing for 264 yards and also threw a pair of touchdowns to Justin Marshall (six receptions, 83 yards), a senior transfer from Louisville.
“I’m just happy for the guys who are in their last year of eligibility, or aren’t going to be in the program after this year,” Snyder said. “To go out with a bowl game is definitely really special for those guys. My motivation was playing for those guys. I’m just super happy that we can make it happen.”
Marshall made a spectacular leaping grab on a 38-yard touchdown that brought UB within 16-10 before halftime. He hauled in a 9-yarder that put the Bulls up 17-16 in the third quarter.
Alex McNulty got UB on the board in the second quarter by kicking a 43-yard field goal. The MAC Special Teams Player of the Year has set a school record making 21 field goals this season. He missed an attempt from 54 yards in the fourth quarter.
All-MAC linebacker Shaun Dolac, a West Seneca East graduate, led the Bulls with 11 tackles. He made four solo stops, raising his UB single-season record total to 90, which ranks first in the country.