When it rains, it pours, and this one was a Category 5 storm named Hurricane Mack. The potential top five NFL draft pick recorded three sacks and three forced fumbles in the first half alone, helping the University at Buffalo to improve to 8-3 with a 44-7 smashing of Miami University. In the win, redshirt senior linebacker Khalil Mack broke the all-time NCAA forced fumbles record. The previous record of 14 was held by five separate players, including current Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs. The outside linebacker passed that in the first 30 minutes, raising the bar to 16. He’s now also 4.5 tackles-for-loss behind all-time leader Jason Babin, who recorded 75 during his years at Western Michigan in the early 2000’s.
“We made him look like the No. 1 overall pick tonight,” Bath said. “It was disheartening. But he’s a dude, there’s no other way you can really put it. I remember seeing A.J. Hawk and Bobby Carpenter on the field at the same time at Ohio State, and he was more impressive on film then what I remember those guys being. He’s clutch, and he showed it tonight.”
Buffalo outgained Miami 517 to 200, with 311 of those yards coming on the ground.
After the game, which was Miami’s senior night, interim head coach Mike Bath gathered his team around the block M at midfield and delivered an emotional address to his ‘Hawks.
“I told the seniors I’m sorry that their last game at Yager Stadium turned out the way it did,” Bath said. “But also told them that I thank them, because again, those guys really did play to that last whistle. And I respect that, I really do.”
A few seniors even stayed out at midfield a bit longer, soaking in the icy evening air one last time on the turf they’ve called home for the last four years.
The long ‘Hawks season is almost at an end, and they face an 0-12 season barring a spectacular performance against 9-2 Ball State University next week.