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Buffalo holds off Georgia Southern to win Camellia Bowl

Dec 27, 2022; Montgomery, Alabama, USA; Georgia Southern Eagles wide receiver Khaleb Hood (7) is tackled by Buffalo Bulls defensive end C.J. Bazile (53) and linebacker James Patterson (8) during the first half in the 2022 Camellia Bowl at Cramton Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

Alex McNulty kicked three field goals to set a career record and help Buffalo defeat Georgia Southern 23-21 on Tuesday in the Camellia Bowl at Montgomery, Ala.

McNulty, the Mid-American Conference’s special teams player of the year, made kicks of 33, 24 and 20 yards, all in the second half. The senior finished his career with 49 field goals, breaking the school record of 48 held by Adam Mitcheson.

Buffalo (7-6) was led by quarterback Cole Snyder, who completed 21 of 38 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown. Snyder became the program’s third quarterback to throw for 3,000 yards in a season.

Justin Marshall caught 11 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown, while Bulls running back Tajay Ahmed ran 27 times for 98 yards and one touchdown.

Georgia Southern (6-7) was led by former Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease, who completed 28 of 45 passes for 352 yards and two touchdowns. But Vantrease’s costly fourth-quarter interception set up Buffalo’s final field goal and gave the Bulls a 23-14 lead with 8:38 remaining.

Buffalo used a pair of lengthy first-half drives to score touchdowns and took a 14-6 lead at halftime. Marshall caught a 32-yard pass from Snyder to cap an 11-play, 81-yard drive, and Ahmed completed a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 5-yard run.

Georgia Southern’s first-half points came on a pair of Alex Raynor field goals, from 23 and 21 yards.

Georgia Southern got even after Chase Dial-Watson forced a fumble that was recovered by Anthony Wilson on the first play of the second half. Vantrease and Joshua Thomson hooked up on a 79-yard TD pass, while Jjay Mcafee caught a two-point conversion pass to tie the game at 14-all.

After McNulty’s three field goals gave Buffalo a 23-14 lead, Georgia Southern finished a 90-yard drive with a 13-yard TD pass from Vantrease to Mcafee. But Buffalo was able to pick up two key first downs and run out the final 3:38.

It was the first meeting between the two schools. Buffalo won its third straight bowl game.

–Field Level Media