As the dogpile celebration unfolded before their eyes, the only thing Miami University’s football players could do was quietly head home.
The RedHawks made a stirring comeback to forge a tie with 23 seconds left Saturday afternoon, then watched Buffalo’s Patrick Clarke nail a 47-yard field goal as time expired to give the ecstatic Bulls a 27-24 victory at cold, windy UB Stadium.
“It’s always tough when you lose at the tail end of a game, but that’s also part of the game of football and the game of life,” MU coach Don Treadwell said. “You’ve got to work through that.
“We give Buffalo credit. They played a very good game, a tough game. I think you saw two teams playing hard today.”
Quarterback Zac Dysert became Miami’s all-time passing leader and connected on 25-of-44 throws for 242 yards and three touchdowns, all to Nick Harwell (10 catches, 62 yards).
The RedHawks rallied three times to knot the score, the last being a 16-play, 75-yard drive to the end zone that included two fourth-down conversions.
Dysert found Andy Cruse for a 22-yard reception on fourth-and-20, then hit Harwell with a 5-yard TD toss on the next play. Kaleb Patterson kicked the extra point to make it 24-24, but the game most definitely wasn’t over.
Devin Campbell took Mason Krysinski’s kickoff at the 18-yard line and ripped off a 47-yard return to the Miami 35. Branden Oliver ran 5 yards on the next play, and the Bulls called a timeout with 0:02 on the clock.
Enter Clarke, a left-footed kicker who had a stiff wind at his back and was perfect on the game-winner.
“I was ready to go,” a smiling Clarke said. “That scenario played out in my head over and over again. I knew I would come through. As soon as it came off my foot, I knew it was good. It was a good hold, a good snap. Everything went well.”
UB coach Jeff Quinn made the decision to take the wind in the fourth quarter, and it paid off big time.
“I just knew these are games in this league that could come down to these kind of moments,” Quinn said. “I did have complete faith that Pat could hit that kick. That was a big part of our decision to give them the wind in the third quarter and us to have it in the fourth.”
It was a devastating defeat for Miami, which fell to 4-5 overall and 3-2 in the Mid-American Conference East Division. The RedHawks host Kent State next Saturday.
Oliver ran 32 times for 199 yards and a score for Buffalo (2-7, 1-4). Quarterback Joe Licata, subbing for injured starter Alex Zordich, was 13-of-24 for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Kaleb Patterson kicked a 29-yard field goal for MU, extending his streak of successful 3-pointers to eight.
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