Bulls "Hail Mary" Stuns Owls Print E-mail
Saturday, September 13 2008
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Buffalo WR Naaman Roosevelt Catches Winning TD
BUFFALO - Flanker Naaman Roosevelt hauled in a 35-yard "Hail Mary" pass from quarterback Drew Willy to stun Temple and turn UB Stadium on its ear with bedlam. The play capped a remarkable final three minutes that saw the lead change hands three times.

Temple had taken the lead with :38 to go on a touchdown pass from Adam DiMichele to Bruce Francis to set up one of the craziest finishes in UB's long football history.
"Thank the Lord," said head coach Turner Gill, of his immediate reaction to the play. "Great win for our program. Great win for our community. Great win for this university."
"I'm proud of our players. You always talk about believing. You always talk about not giving up, you always talk about finishing. Our theme is about being relentless to the finish. This was a classic example of how to finish. You practice that play almost every week. You know you only get the opportunity like that once or twice a season. The guys didn't panic. Just like in practice, everyone kept doing what they're doing. I'm proud of our players and its a great win for our program because of the way we won today's game."
Said quarterback Drew Willy, "I was on a sprint out to the right. We practice this play every week. Three receivers go down. I made sure Naaman got down there so he saw it come out of my hands. I threw it high so he could look at it. He made an amazing catch. I was just hoping that when he went down he held on to it and didnt let them rip it out of his hands. It's the most memorable play I've ever been a part of and congrats to the whole team. It was a once in a lifetime play and Im glad I was a part of it."
That play capped an edge-of-your seat final three minutes. The Bulls broke a 21-21 tie with 2:27 left when sophomore A.J. Principe booted a 25-yard field goal. The Owls would respond by driving 74 yards in nine plays and taking the lead with :38 left. That set up Willy and Roosevelt's heroics.
The Bulls got the ball at the 40-yard line after Temple kicked it out of bounds. Willy then hit Roosevelt for a clutch 20-yard pickup before sending UB Stadium into delirium with the TD throw to the junior flanker.
The Owls came out flying in the firt half, stopping the Bulls on the first possession and then driving to the Bulls' six-inch line before the Bulls made an incredible goal line stand. The Bulls did not allow an inch on four straight cracks at the goal line with Buffalo taking over at their one-yard line.
Defensive tackles Anel Montanez and Ronald Hilaire helped repel two quarterback sneak attempts and on fourth down sophomore linebacker Tom Drewes met running back Joe Jones helmet to helmet and drove him back.
The Bulls, however, could not convert a first down and had to punt from their own end zone, setting the Owls up at their own 49-yard line after an excellent 48-yard punt by freshman Peter Fardon. From there, the Owls drove 51 yards for the opening touchdown of the game as Adam DiMichele hit Dy'Onne Crudup from one-yard out. After the PAT, Temple led 7-0 with :38 left in the first quarter.
Sophomore tailback Brandon Thermilus spelled starter James Starks on UB's third series and the move paid immediate dividends. Thermilus ran six times for 38 yards and finished the drive off on a fourth-and-one play by rambling three yards into the end zone to cap a 78-yard drive.
The Owls regained the lead on a one-yard touchdown run by Joe Jones to cap a 13-play, 65-yard drive with 3:40 remaining in the half.
Buffalo responded immediately on their next drive, driving 69 yards on just six plays to tie the game for the second time. Willy connected on five of six passes on the drive, including the payoff when he hit senior flanker Ernest Jackson on a nine-yard slant pattern that Jackson caught in heavy traffic with just :54 left in the half.
The Owls took advantage of a huge momentum swing at the end of the first half. The Bulls forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff as senior Alex Pierre forced a fumble by returner Travis Shelton that Domonic Cook fell on it at the Owl 38-yard line.
What looked like the Bulls perhaps taking the lead at intermission, however, quickly swung the other way when Willy was sacked and fumbled with Temple recovering at their own 41-yard line. The Owls took full advantage of the turnover as DiMichele hit Bruce Francis for a 23-yard touchdown with just :06 remaining in the half. The Owls went to halftime with a 21-14 lead.
The Bulls came storming out of the gates in the second half to tie the game. They stopped the Owls on their first drive and promptly drove 58 yards on 12 plays to tie the game. Willy hit junior tight end Jesse Rack for gains of 26, 7 and 9 yards on the drive and eventually connected with Brett Hamlin for a six-yard strike to tie the game at 21-21.
Buffalo's defense continued to swarm the Owls and it appeared the Bulls would take the lead late in the third quarter. An 11-yard pass from Willy to halfback Mario Henry who would chip in with 40 yards rushing on seven carries a 20-yard connection to Jackson and a 21-yard hookup with Rack.
However, just when it appeared the Bulls would take their first lead of the game, Willy was intercepted on the first play of the fourth quarter by Jamal Schulters.
The game would remain tied after Temple's field goal kicker missed a 43-yard attempt and the Bulls would drive down for the go-ahead score. Willy had a clutch fourth-and-one completion to Rack to keep the drive alive, and then hooked up with Roosevelt for gains of 20 and 17 yards to set up the field goal to give UB a 24-21 lead with 2:27 remaining.
That, however, was just the beginning of two of the wildest minutes in UB's football history. No doubt, many of the hundreds of football alumni and the fans at UB Stadium will be talking about for years to come.

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