BUFFALO -- One week after taking Texas-El Paso into overtime before losing, Stony Brook arrived at Buffalo full of anticipation about the possibility of scoring its first win over a team at the FBS level. But Buffalo quickly disabused the Seawolves of that notion when quarterback Chazz Anderson connected on a 57-yard scoring pass to Alex Dennison, who was uncovered on the first play from scrimmage.
Statistically, Stony Brook held its own with 184 yards rushing and 39:04 in time of possession. But just as coach Chuck Priore feared, the Bulls had the advantage in athleticism, and it showed up on a series of big plays that gave Buffalo a 35-7 victory Saturday night at UB Stadium.
Bulls running back Branden Oliver carried 15 times for 126 yards and three TDs. Though SBU (0-2) didn't get the upset, the Seawolves came away from the first two games feeling good about themselves going into the rest of the schedule against FCS competition.
"We played 'up' two weeks in a row," Priore said. "We really were physically able to compete in both lines, but there's a 20-scholarship difference . I think we come away with a lot of confidence as a team."
That first Buffalo TD came as a shock to the system for SBU. "It wasn't anything we haven't seen," said cornerback Donald Porter, who had a second-quarter interception for Stony Brook. "It was just emotion. We made a mental mistake. But we have the talent to play teams like this. We showed unity on defense."
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SBU recovered to hold the Bulls without a first down on the next two possessions and then put together a 93-yard scoring drive to tie the game on a 16-yard pass from backup QB Kyle Essington to Jordan Gush with 13:46 left in the second quarter. The drive was keyed by Miguel Maysonet (22 carries for 92 yards) and Brock Jackolski (14-75).
The success of the running game at UTEP and Buffalo promises good things ahead. "It's awesome," Seawolves quarterback Michael Coulter said. "We're not 'wowed' anymore by FBS schools."
Buffalo responded with a 13-play drive to take a 14-7 lead on a 22-yard burst up the middle by Oliver. The kicking game has been a sore spot for Stony Brook and the Bulls took advantage when a 32-yard Wes Skiffington punt gave them the ball at their own 48. Operating out of a spread formation on third-and 7, the Bulls caught the Seawolves by surprise, springing Oliver on a trap play for a 49-yard TD run and a 21-7 lead.
"It came as a surprise in a four-wide receiver formation," Porter said, "but honestly, we missed a couple tackles."
The Seawolves got an unlikely break on the next series when Khalil Mack intercepted a Coulter pass and was headed for an apparent 26-yard score. But a penalty for celebrating before the TD placed the ball back at the SBU 18, and Porter intercepted on the next play.
In the third quarter, a fumble by Maysonet that was forced by Mack set Buffalo up at the SBU 25. Three plays later, Anderson found slot receiver Devon Hughes wide open up the middle for a 15-yard touchdown and a 28-7 lead.
Oliver's 43-yard scoring run with eight seconds left in the third quarter ended the scoring, and Stony Brook lost a chance to make it closer after driving to the Buffalo 3 before Essington fumbled.
"It's very disappointing after a loss because we expect to be competitive," Coulter said, "but now, we move on to Brown ."