Prior to kickoff Saturday, the Buffalo Bulls were whooping it up, jumping up and down, and celebrating as if they were ready to play football.
You did not see that on the Bowling Green sideline, and it was noticeable, even to players and the coaching staff.
Those attitudes seemed to carry over into the game as the Bulls grabbed a 31-0 halftime lead and proceeded to rout the Falcons, 38-7, in front of 8.724 fans that filled less than one-third of the seating at Doyt Perry Stadium Saturday afternoon.
“I did not like the emotion of our team on the sideline,” BGSU coach Scot Loeffler said. “They had emotion, we didn’t. I don’t understand that. That’s the part of the puzzle that I don’t get.
“This is an emotional game. Obviously, I have got to figure out how to get the emotions going. You must have that aspect,” Loeffler continued.
“From the beginning of time that has always been the case in football. You are not going to win any games when you have that kind of emotion.”
One year ago, the Falcons topped Buffalo, 56-44, at UB Stadium in a wild shootout that saw 49 points scored in the fourth quarter and Loeffler was ejected, which appeared to motivate the Falcons.
“I mean you’re playing Buffalo, and you all know what happened last year. Come on now. It’s disappointing from that end,” Loeffler said.
Even senior quarterback Matt McDonald and safety Jordan Anderson noticed the Falcons’ lack of energy.
“Our effort was not where it needed to be today,” Anderson said. “You can blame that on the whole team, especially the leadership in a big game like this.
“We’ve just to come back and never let that happen again because (without that) effort, energy — that takes a toll on the whole team.”
McDonald added, “We came out flat and it showed. We never got in a good groove, so we need to do a better of having emotion going into games and getting the sideline involved.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot. Football is hard enough and then when you are shooting yourselves in the foot, you have no chance.”
As a result, Buffalo won its third straight Mid-American Conference, taking over first place at 3-0, despite opening the season with three non-conference losses. BGSU falls to 2-4 and 1-1.
Buffalo running backs Mike Washington and Ron Cook each ran for two touchdowns. Cook scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns as UB took a 17-0 lead after 15 minutes, and Washington had a pair of second quarter scores, including a 92-yard rush.
The Falcons got their only score on a third quarter TD pass from McDonald to sophomore running back Ta’ron Keith. McDonald threw for 281 yards, completing 21-of-42 passes.
BGSU senior C.J. Lewis led all players with 82 yards receiving. Senior tight end Christian Sims, like Lewis, caught four passes on the afternoon while Keith had three receptions.
The Bulls had 466 yards in total offense to the Falcons’ 380, but it was turnovers and penalties that mostly doomed the Falcons.
“In every aspect, all three phases, we played extremely poor,” Loeffler said. “We did every error you could possibly do in a half. We had three turnovers all within the 10-yard line.
“It starts with me. I’ll take responsibility for it,” Loeffler continued. “We are supposed to be competitive, and we were as far from being competitive today as you could possibly get, and I don’t have the answer why. We need to find out and figure out how we can play consistent.”
The Falcons had four turnovers, one leading to a 97-yard fumble return for a touchdown, and 12 penalties for 117 yards.
“It is flat-out discipline, when you are jumping offsides,” Loeffler said. “It’s one thing when it’s a holding call — those are all subjective — or a pass interference call.
“But the pre-snap penalties are absolutely ridiculous. Heck, the quarterback is not even in his cadence, and we jump offsides. That makes no sense to me.
“We have 12 penalties, four turnovers, we ran the ball for 99, they ran for 280, we had three turnovers in the red, and that’s not the formula. It never has been,” Loeffler added.
“We couldn’t punt, we faked a field goal, and the field goal kicker fell down. We didn’t get off the field all the time the way we wanted to on defense.
“We gave up big plays, offensively didn’t create big plays, we turned the ball over. That’s not the formula to win. Like I said — put it on me. I’m good with that.”
The Falcons will be back at home next Saturday, Oct. 15, hosting Miami. The game is scheduled for a noon start at Perry Stadium and will be an Orange Out.
“We’re playing a good Miami of Ohio team next week. But that was as disappointing a half and disappointing a game as I have had, probably, in my career,” Loeffler said.
“But you’ve got to bounce back, you’ve got to find a way to clean up the mistakes. We’ve got work to do and it starts with me. I’ll take it. It’s my job. That’s where we are at.”