Western Michigan beats Buffalo for fourth straight win

FILE Skyy Moore
Posted at 6:15 PM, Oct 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-02 18:15:25-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Kaleb Eleby threw a pair of touchdown passes to Skyy Moore and Western Michigan won its fourth straight game, defeating Buffalo 24-17 on Saturday in a Mid-American Conference opener.

Eleby hit a streaking Moore with a 64-yard strike to give the Broncos (4-1, 1-0) the lead with 9 1/2 minutes remaining. After Buffalo went three-and-out for the fourth straight possession, the Broncos burned almost six minutes off the clock before La’Darius Jefferson scored from a yard out.

Kyle Vantrease’s 1-yard keeper cut the lead to seven with 1:17 remaining but WMU recovered an onside kick.

After WMU’s Parker Sampson had missed two field goal attempts, punter Nick Mihalic kicked a 26-yard field goal to tie it at 10 earlier in the fourth quarter.

Eleby found Moore in the right corner of the end zone for a 12-yard score and a 7-0 lead in the opening quarter before Buffalo tied it less than 30 seconds later on Ron Cook’s 55-yard sprint up the middle. The Bulls (2-3, 0-1) had the lead with Alex McNulty’s 37-yard field goal in the third.

The game featured the MAC’s top two receivers in Buffalo’s Quian Williams and WMU’s Corey Crooms but it was Moore piling up a career-high 163 yards on 11 catches. Williams finished with 119 yards on six catches.

Eleby was 21-of-33 passing for 279 yards as WMU outgained Buffalo 457-282. Jefferson rushed for 96 yards on 23 carries.

Zaire Barnes forced a fumble by recording the first sack against Buffalo this season but Western Michigan failed to score off the turnover.

Western Michigan’s Tim Lester returned to coach in a game for the first time since Sept. 18 after testing positive for COVID-19 with a breakthrough infection.