Winning on the road isn’t supposed to be easy.
Winning with four turnovers is supposed to be next to impossible.
And winning easily on the road while turning the ball over four times is supposed to be unheard of.
But that didn’t seem to bother the Magic on Friday night.
Monticello went to Buffalo, made a couple of big special teams miscues, as well as a couple of other less costly turnovers, and still walked out with a 38-23 victory that pushed them to their first 2-0 start in five years.
Of course, just like winning on the road with four turnovers, teams also aren’t supposed to be able to run at will against solid opponents, breaking big plays seemingly on cue. But led by Jake Olson’s 207 rushing yards, that’s exactly what the Magic did Friday.
After a dropped punt snap gave Buffalo the ball on the Magic ten-yard line following a three and out (with a fumbled snap on first down), the Bison took advantage with a 2-yard rushing touchdown to go up 7-0. But then, the Magic responded. And quickly.
On the next play from scrimmage Jake Olson went untouched through the middle of the line, and then won the 70-yard race to the end zone to tie the game at 7, early in the first.
From there, the Magic started rolling. Offensively, they ripped off runs for chunks and connected on big pass plays. Defensively, they just kept getting stops. Even when the Magic made mistakes, they were quick to correct them. When Birk Olson, after shedding a handful of tacklers, lost the ball on the way to the ground, the Bison took possession. But, Olson responded.
On the next play he was in the backfield almost as quick as the ball was, hitting quarterback Jason Senger in the back right as he went to release the ball, causing it to float right to defensive tackle Adam Rossberg’s waiting arms for a Bison turnover.
“A tremendous defensive play,” said Coach Jason Telecky. “An NFL caliber hit.”
Rossberg, who was on the receiving end of the turnover, also continues to make big plays. He’s been in the middle of seemingly every other big defensive play for the Magic for the first two weeks.
“He’s a gamer,” said Telecky. “He’s been a defensive tackle for a grand total of two and a half weeks.”
After the turnover, the Magic again struck quick. Quarterback Matt Bonk found Hayden Laimer coming across the field and hit him with a strike, allowing Laimer to turn upfield and reach the end zone for a 25-yard scoring pass.
From there, the Magic continued dominating the trenches, helping to force three and outs on defense and allowing them to run the ball down Buffalo’s throat on offense. After a short touchdown run by Birk Olson, and a Buffalo snap through the end zone, the Magic carried a 23-7 lead into the half. The lead could have been bigger, but Bonk just missed Will Bauman on a deep ball late in the half, and on their next possession the Magic turned it over near midfield when Bonk threw an interception after getting hit as he threw.
Still, Monticello led comfortably. And they would get even more comfortable in the third quarter, aided by another snap out of the end zone on a Buffalo punt, and a 60-yard touchdown run by none other than Jake Olson.
As the fourth quarter began, it was 32-7 Magic.
Then however, Monticello was reminded they were on the road, playing a proud opponent. One who wasn’t quite ready to lay down.
Instead, Buffalo responded with a long touchdown pass, and after another special teams miscue gave Buffalo the ball on the one-yard line, they punched it in and got a second straight two point conversion to pull within 32-23.
On the ensuing possession, Monticello got just one first down. A big punt return set the Bison up deep in Monticello territory down just nine points. But then the Magic got the break they needed. On third down the Buffalo snap was low, and when it bounced away from the quarterback, Rossberg was there to fall on it.
If Buffalo’s will wasn’t broken at that point, it was about to be.
The Magic took the field with 5:46 left on the clock and a nine-point lead that was still in question.
Three minutes later, Jake Olson and his blockers had answered all questions.
Monticello marched the ball downfield, led by Olson’s thirty-five yard pinball type run on a third and five, and eventually found the end zone as Olson carried it nine yards for his third score of the game, providing the final margin.
“I just broke down and went around Birk’s block, which was amazing,” said Olson. “I give him huge props.”
As good as Birk’s block was, and as quick as Olson’s cut away from the other defender looked, there might have been something else at play. Neither defender seemed all too anxious to tackle a back who had already punished them for 200 yards on 14 carries at that point.
“If I give them a good hit, I feel like they’re going to be afraid to come at me next time,” said Olson.
On Friday night, the Magic had taken a few hits of their own, some of which were self-inflicted. But with the Olson moving company leading the way, they delivered a lot more than they took.
Friday night proved the Magic are far from perfect. But, it also proved that they are good enough to occasionally get away with it. Even on the road.
Passing: Matt Bonk 5-12, 88 yards, 1 TD.
Receiving: Hayden Laimer: 3-67, 1TD; Michael Witschen: 1-15; Sam Johnson 1-6.
Rushing: Jake Olson: 15 carries-207 yards, 3 touchdowns; Birk Olson: 11-79, 1; Will Bauman 7-45; Sam Johnson: 4-17.
For additional notes from the Magic win over Buffalo, click here: http://monticellotimes.com/2012/09/13/extra-points-magic-football-notes/