MAC football notebook: Eastern Michigan overwhelmed by LSU, Bowling Green survives Buffalo

By Christopher Marino

Louisiana State star running back Leonard Fournette has been a man amongst boys this season and that trend continued Saturday against Eastern Michigan, as Fournette powered the No. 9 Tigers to a 44-22 rout over the Eagles.

Fournette became the first player in Southeastern Conference history to eclipse the 200-yard rushing mark in three straight games, as he finished the day with 233 yards and three touchdowns on the ground.

Eastern Michigan (1-4) moved the ball pretty effectively throughout the game, but three interceptions (including one returned for a touchdown) from quarterback Brogan Roback crippled any hopes of an upset.

A strong performance from the Eagles secondary limited LSU to just 80 yards passing, but LSU compensated the total with nearly 400 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Only a sophomore, Fournette is an early season Heisman Trophy candidate and expected to be taken near the top of his draft class.

Despite the lopsided final score, the game was close heading into halftime, as a pair of rushing touchdowns from Eastern Michigan running backs Shaq Vann and Darius Jackson made it 20-14 LSU at the midway point. But a 75-yard touchdown run from Fournette on the first play from scrimmage in the second half broke the game open, and another score from Fournette early in the fourth quarter iced the game.

The Eagles will next return to Mid-American Conference action against Akron Saturday at 3 p.m.

Bowling Green withstands furious Buffalo comeback to hold on in nail-bighter

Behind the strong and efficient arm of quarterback Matt Johnson, Bowling Green had just enough to get past Buffalo, as the Falcons survived 28-22 Saturday afternoon.

Johnson went 23-for-29 passing for 324 yards and a touchdown, earning a total quarterback rating of 78.6 out of 100.

The Bowling Green (3-2, 1-0 MAC) rushing attack also amassed 212 yards and scored three touchdowns, including 119 yards from starting running back Travis Greene.

The Falcons seemed to be on their way to a comfortable victory after Ronnie More scored on the first play of the fourth quarter to cap a 10-play, 94-yard drive and increase the lead to 28-9. But the Bulls (2-3, 0-1 MAC) mounted a rally, and a pair of touchdowns just minutes apart made it a one score game at 28-22 with just 5:13 left in regulation.

But the Falcons rushing attack proved to be vital, as Bowling Green kept the ball away from a surging Buffalo offense for the last five-plus minutes of the game after the Bulls cut the lead to six.

The Falcons look to continue its two-game winning streak and gain a share of first place in the MAC next week when UMass visits at 2 p.m. Buffalo is on a bye week and does not play again until Oct. 17 against Central Michigan.

Christopher Marino can be reached at [email protected]