Leftwich came out of the gate on fire, a trait he would exhibit all afternoon. Leftwich finished the day going 37-49, 455 yards, 2 passing touchdowns (and one rushing), while giving up two interceptions to the Bulls. Still, it was a performance even Leftwich's linemen thought was impressive.
"He's one of the best -if not the best- quarterbacks in the country," said tackle Steve Sciullo after the game. "455 yards passing against the #1 pass defense (in the MAC). I guess that's pretty good."
WR Josh Davis hauled in Leftwich's first strike, 19-yarder with 6:40 to go in the first quarter. The touchdown capped off a 8 play, 80 yard drive that only consumed 2:16 off the clock. Not to be left out of his own mix, three minutes later Leftwich sprinted up the middle on a quarterback draw for a rushing touchdown. The quick-strike offense once again lived up to its billing, taking only 1:35 on the drive.
Marshall kicker Curtis Head extended Marshall's lead to a comfortable 17-0 at the 13:44 mark of the second quarter, booting a 24-yard field goal through the uprights at UB Stadium. Just to finish off the half in grand fashion, Franklin Wallace ran the ball in from the 1-yard line at the 4:01 mark, and Marshall took a 24-0 lead at the half.
"Them guys are getting open. I've got the easy job, throwing it to them," Leftwich said after the game. Clearly, Leftwich understated his case. Leftwich did set a Marshall game record with 37 completions in one game. "I can go set records, and we don't win the MAC championship, it don't mean nothing."
Marshall receiver Darius Watts hauls in a pass in the Buffalo secondary. Photo by Rick Haye for Herd Insider.
Buffalo did manage to put their first points on the board early in the first half. Running back Albert Grundy put the ball in the endzone from two yards out with 12:09 left in the third quarter. That effectively ended the scoring in the third quarter, as it was almost 11 minutes later until Marshall WR Curtis Jones sped across the middle of the endzone, and was delivered a Leftwich heater for Jones' first collegiate touchdown. Marshall extended their lead to 31-7.
Curtis Head finished the Marshall scoring midway through the fourth quarter, booting a 37-yard field goal with 8:06 left in the game. UB's Derrick Gordon added a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:47 to go, but the damage had already been done by Marshall.
The Marshall defense held Buffalo's offense to 369 yards, 162 on the ground and 207 through the air. LB Alonzo Jones was high man on the tackle totem pole with 9 solo, three assists, for a total of 12. Both Orlando Washington and Charlie Tynes picked off UB quarterback Joe Freedy during the game. Washington has now touched the ball in two consecutive games, as he picked up a fumble last week at NIU and ran it back for a touchdown.
"If we can pass protect, it's hard to stop us," was Marshall coach Bob Pruett's assessment after the game.
Marshall center Jeff Edwards was removed from the field on a stretcher, and apparently suffered a neck injury. No update was offered after the game, but tackle Steve Sciullo did confirm that he heard Edwards did have feeling in his fingers, a good sign.
With the win Marshall now moves to 4-1, 3-0 in the MAC East. Buffalo falls to 1-5, 0-4 in the MAC East. Marshall next hosts Central Michigan on October 20 at 4pm. It is Marshall's Homecoming.
Look for complete in-depth game coverage of Marshall's win at Buffalo in the next issue of Herd Insider, due out this Tuesday. 24 pages in length, Herd Insider is the ONLY independent sportsweekly covering Marshall sports exclusively. Call toll-free (877) 800-HERD for subscription information or a free copy.