BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A second straight loss on the road prevented the University at Buffalo from achieving bowl eligibility and knocked the Bulls further out of the hunt for the Mid-American Conference football championship.

UB sputtered in the second half of Wednesday night’s 31-27 loss at Central Michigan, surrendering a 17-point lead. Another midweek MACtion defeat, following last week’s loss at Ohio, drops the Bulls to 5-5 overall and 4-2 in the MAC, one game behind the Bobcats (7-3, 5-1) in the East division standings.

CMU freshman quarterback Bert Emanuel Jr. rushed for 293 yards and the first three touchdowns of his career to lead the Chippewas (4-6, 3-3). Emanuel, who saw his first game action the week before as part of a three-quarterback rotation, ran for a 75-yard touchdown on the Chippewas’ first play from scrimmage in the the second half and tied the game at 24-all late in third quarter on an 87-yard run. Emanuel’s 293 yards came on 24 carries in the absence of leading rusher Lew Nichols III, who missed the game with a toe injury.

UB linebacker Shaun Dolac, the West Seneca native who led the nation with 68 solo tackles entering Wednesday’s game, added nine more, though Wednesday, he was bested by Central Michigan’s Thomas Incoom, who had 10. Alex McNulty kicked two field goals to become Buffalo’s single-season record holder with 18.

UB gained 310 yards in building a 24-7 halftime lead but managed only 121 after that. McNulty’s career-long 54-yard field goal were the only points the Bulls could muster in second half.

Ron Cook, Mike Washington and Al-Jay Henderson rushed for touchdowns in the first half. Cook led the ground game with 100 yards. Henderson ran for 72 yards, and Washington had 41 yards before being sidelined by an injury.

Cole Snyder was 19-of-32 passing for 191 yards and an interception. The Southwestern graduate also rushed for 27 yards.

The Bulls play their final two regular season games at UB Stadium, on Nov. 19 against Akron (0-6, 1-9), and Nov. 26 at Kent State (4-6, 3-3). The Bulls need one more victory to become bowl eligible for the seventh time in school history. UB went 3-4 on the road in its first regular season with seven away games since 2007.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.