Montgomery.- Kevin Marks was in charge of delivering the decisive blow with a one-yard touchdown run, with 1:09 left to play, and the Buffalo Bulls defeated Marshall 17-10 in the Camellia Bowl.
Replacing the national leader in rushing yards per game, Jaret Patterson, Marks had 35 carries for 138 yards for the Bulls (6-1) against one of the best rushing defenses in the country.
On the next play, Grant Wells led Marshall (7-3), who had recovered from a 10-0 deficit, to Buffalo’s 20-yard line with no timeouts, but a catch by Kadofi Wright forced a fourth down and 11. , which ended the threat. Both teams had lost their conference championship games.
“We just didn’t make enough offensive plays in the last three weeks,” Marshall’s coach said, Doc Holliday.
The showdown between the best running team in the nation and the second-run defense lost some of its luster even before kickoff.
Patterson, who had 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns in six games, did not dress well after sustaining a right knee injury in the Mid-American Conference Championship Game. He was cheering from the bench.
“We think it would be the best for his future,” said James Patterson, Buffalo linebacker and brother of Jaret, of the prolific running back’s decision not to play.
Marks had 23 carries for 117 yards at halftime, although in the second half he was limited by a defense that gave up just 88.9 rushing yards per game. Marks said he found out he would start “at the end of game week.”
Like Buffalo, Marshall had no team. Best Running Back Brenden Knox; C-USA Defensive Player of the Year, Tavante Beckett; and starting right tackle Josh Ball did not participate in the game.
The game was the first NCAA bowling game played on Christmas Day since 2003.