Buffalo, who ran down Jaret Patterson, was perhaps a player many fans didn’t know about when they got into the 2020 college football season. But when we get to the end his name has to be mentioned to tell the full story of the year.
Patterson, a junior, caught the sport’s attention on November 28 against Kent State when he broke the FBS record for quick touchdowns in an eight-player game and the second-highest single-game rushing at 409 yards in a 70-41 win -Total scored.
He has come a long way since he was in his sophomore year in eastern Michigan when his twin brother James found him crying in a bathroom on campus after he was the only one who didn’t get an offer on his recruiting visit. Now Jaret Patterson is one of the best players in Buffalo history alongside the likes of Branden Oliver and Khalil Mack.
While Patterson and Buffalo (5-1) have a matchup with Marshall (7-2) in the Camellia Bowl (2:30 p.m. ET, ESPN and the ESPN app) on Christmas Day, let’s take a closer look at the bull outbreak Star.
Big games are Patterson’s specialty
As a senior at St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, Maryland, he did a bit of everything in a 2016 game against Riverside Baptist. That was 558 all-purpose yards, one interception and two forced fiddling.
“You can ask anyone in the Maryland area,” Patterson said. “You know this game.”
His talent was translated seamlessly at Buffalo. In 15 of the 28 games in which he carried the ball 11 times or more, he ran over 100 meters. And in more than half of them he ran at least 160 meters.
In 2019 – a season of 1,799 yards and 19 touchdowns, and putting together 209 yards with one more score – he went in a rush with Toledo and Bowling Green and scored a breakout. Against the missiles, Patterson had 227 scrimmage yards and five touchdowns; He picked up the Falcons and had 298 rushing yards and six touchdowns.
“Only in these two games there are 11 touchdowns. For some it is a whole season,” he said. “It’s not a coincidence.”
There is a good football player, and then it’s overwhelmingly good. Patterson is often the latter.
In the 2019 Bahamas Bowl, he led the Bulls to the program’s first bowl win with 173 yards and two touchdowns against Charlotte.
“The fourth quarter came and the guys were just tired and we put our will on us,” Patterson said.
He remembered Charlotte coach Will Healy walking up to him after the game, impressed, and saying, “The game only makes you stronger.”
Post-game and even post-game praise has become the norm for Patterson. Either between games or to the limit, the Bowling Green and Kent State guys have asked him not to let the ball run, or even suggested that he play the Bulls Pass instead.
“They know it’s coming, but they have to stop it at the end of the day,” Patterson said. “Sometimes they can’t.”
Patterson went into the game against the Golden Lightning and sought revenge. When the two teams played in 2019, the Bulls had risen 27-6 in the fourth quarter, only to allow 24 unanswered points, including a game-winning field goal when time ran out to lose 30:27. Patterson ran 141 yards in that game.
At the start of the 2020 matchup, Patterson knew he was going to have a good game, but he didn’t know As Well.
“The first few touchdowns were unaffected,” he said. “I’m talking about the holes that were so big you could drive a truck through them.”
At halftime, Patterson said he had a moment before he stopped and knew he was doing something big.
“I didn’t know how much, but I knew I was doing pretty well and hit a lot,” he said.
Many college football fans were upset when Bulls manager Lance Leipold Patterson pulled before breaking the touchdown record. After the game, Leipold said: “I didn’t even know he had eight touchdowns. I wish I had known a little.”
Patterson didn’t realize what he’d done until after he was removed from the game, and he said he didn’t have any hard feelings about not getting the record. Patterson and Leipold have even joked about it since then.
Patterson even described this game as “easy” and praised his offensive line.
“I won’t run more than 1,000 meters in five games without these guys up front,” said Patterson. “That’s unheard of. Even the perimeter receivers, everyone plays a role in it. The long runs you see, guys trying to take out the defenders, everyone plays a part in it.”
He added, “I don’t see any better line than the guys and what they did. I think their résumé speaks for itself.”
Awards or not, Patterson knows he’s one of the best RBs in the country
The Doak Walker Award finalists were announced on Tuesday, and he wasn’t one of them. He was also not among the finalists for the Heisman Trophy. But Patterson knows he’s one of them.
In a season of rules being made and thrown out the window, Patterson’s ability to generate stats at a pace that would be overwhelming for the defense has not changed. And he’s completed his 1,072 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in just five games, which he continues to point out when advocating why he should attend those awards shows.
“Just the way I did it, it was different from the others,” Patterson said. “Don’t take away – the guys definitely came up with the numbers themselves – but just like I did in a row. The guys don’t get eight touchdowns and run 300 yards in a row. But I think the two biggest things are just the short games and how late we started. I think that’s why I should definitely be a competitor. “
With all of the Heisman votes in place by the time Patterson gets a chance to play on Christmas Day, his Camellia Bowl stats won’t add to his case. But he’ll still play with that chip on his shoulder for the rest of his career.
“If it comes back in the fall or goes to the NFL, I’ll still have that chip, I’ll still be the same player,” said Patterson, who turned 21 this week. “Nothing’s going to change. I’m sticking to that, that’s my moral, and regardless of whether it’s Buffalo or the next level, I’ll still have the motivation to prove people wrong and to agree with me, that I can be a great runner back in college and at the next level. “