AMHERST — Buffalo planned to showcase star running back Branden Oliver on national TV on Wednesday night, but Kent State wasn’t keen on playing a supporting role.
The game was broadcast on ESPNU and 14,373 attended the game at UB Stadium. Oliver suffered a game-ending leg injury at the end of the first half and wouldn’t return. The Bulls offense ended up being stifled by Kent State in a 23-7 defeat.
Bulls coach Jeff Quinn wasn’t happy with his team’s effort, especially a conference matchup.
“It was a disappointing loss and very frustrating,” Quinn said. “I’m very aggravated because it’s not about the losing but about the way we played, especially on the offensive side of the ball.”
Quinn looked to quarterback Alex Zordich to make plays in Oliver’s absence and the junior didn’t deliver. He only completed 4 of 22 passes and threw two costly interceptions, one deep in Kent State territory with the Bulls looking for the go-ahead score with the game still in reach.
Zordich’s lone highlight came on the final play of the first half when he miraculously found junior wide receiver Alex Neutz on a 46-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass. Neutz elevated over the defense and walked, untouched, into the endzone amidst a stunned Kent State secondary.
The expectation was that the Bulls would play well under the bright lights, especially for Quinn. The coach liked the way his team practiced the past week and couldn’t figure out why his players couldn’t make plays.
Quinn said that Zordich was pressing too much and that led to his poor play.
“He’s disappointed as we all are. He’s a guy that has fought his tail end off to get to this point and today is something he has to learn from,” Quinn said.