UFFALO, NY (AP) – Kaleb Eleby threw a pair of touchdown passes to Skyy Moore and Western Michigan won its fourth straight game, beating Buffalo 24-17 on Saturday in an opening game of the Mid-American Conference .
Eleby hit Moore with a 64-yard streak to give the Broncos (4-1, 1-0) the lead with 9 and a half minutes to go. After Buffalo came out three for the fourth straight possession, the Broncos burned nearly six minutes before La’Darius Jefferson scored a yard.
Kyle Vantrease’s 1-yard goalie reduced the lead to seven with 1:17 left, but WMU recovered a kick out.
After WMU’s Parker Sampson missed two field goal attempts, kicker Nick Mihalic kicked a field goal from 26 yards to tie it at 10 earlier in the fourth quarter.
Eleby found Moore in the right corner of the end zone for 12 yards and a 7-0 lead in the first quarter before Buffalo tied him less than 30 seconds later in the 55-yard sprint of Ron Cook in the middle. The Bulls (2-3, 0-1) led the way with Alex McNulty’s 37-yard field goal in the third.
The game featured the MAC’s top two receivers Quian Williams of Buffalo and Corey Crooms of WMU, but Moore racked up a career-high 163 yards on 11 catches. Williams finished with 119 yards on six catches.
Eleby had 21 of 33 passes for 279 yards as WMU edged Buffalo 457-282. Jefferson ran for 96 yards on 23 carries.
Zaire Barnes forced a fumble by registering the first sack against Buffalo this season, but Western Michigan failed to score the turnover.
Tim Lester, of western Michigan, returned to coach in a game for the first time since September 18 after testing positive for COVID-19 with a breakthrough infection.
NORTH OF ILLINOIS 27, EAST OF MICHIGAN 20: DEKALB, Ill. (AP) – Anntario Brown rushed for 101 yards and Northern Illinois scored the first 17 points of the game, then resisted to defeat Eastern Michigan in a lightning-delayed game between the first and second quarters.
The Huskies (3-2, 1-0 Mid-American Conference) built their lead on a 5-yard run from quarterback Rocky Lombardi, a 28-yard field goal from John Richardson and a 59-yard interception return from Jaden Dolphin .
The Huskies led 17-3 at halftime and did not give up the lead although East Michigan’s Ben Bryant threw 42-yard touchdown passes to Bryson Cannon and 17-yard touchdowns to Dylan Drummond in the third quarter. Clint Ratkovich’s 2-yard run in the third quarter helped northern Illinois maintain their lead to 24-17 and the teams traded field goals late in the fourth quarter.
Bryant completed 27 of 40 passes for 338 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Hassan Beydoun caught 14 passes for 167 yards, but the Eagles (3-2, 0-1) had only 38 yards on the ground.
The Huskies rushed for 242 yards and Lombardi had just 9 of 20 passes for 84 yards.
MIAMI (OH) 28, CENTER OF MICHIGAN 17: OXFORD, Ohio (AP) – Quarterback AJ Mayer threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to rally Miami (OH) past center Michigan in a Mid-American Conference opener.
Starting quarterback Brett Gabbert put the RedHawks (2-3, 1-0) to a 14-0 first-quarter lead with touchdowns to Andrew Homer and Jack Sorenson, covering 24 and 36 yards, respectively. Miami was leading 14-7 when an injury sidelined Gabbert late in the second quarter. Marshall Meeder’s 39-yard field goal was the only goal in the third quarter, reducing the Chippewas’ deficit to four points. Daniel Richardson gave center Michigan a 17-14 lead on an 11-yard touchdown throw to Dallas Dixon with 1:25 in the fourth quarter. But Mayer joined Nate Muersch for a 23-yard possession touchdown that followed and wrapped up the win with an 11-yard strike at Sorenson with 7:44 left.
Mayer completed 13 of 18 passes for 179 yards with an interception for the RedHawks. Gabbert completed 12 of 20 shots for 171 yards before leaving. Mac Hippenhammer caught eight passes for 170 yards, while Keyon Mozee rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries.
Richardson had 22 of 41 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns – including a 41-yard one to JaCorey Sullivan in the second quarter for the Chippewas (2-3, 0-1). Dixon finished with seven receptions for 113 yards.