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Buffalo both lost and regained the lead despite not snapping the ball for an entire quarter

One of the weirdest football occurrences ever happened at the Dollar General Bowl.

NCAA Football: Dollar General Bowl-Buffalo vs Troy John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Buffalo’s offense did not snap the ball for the whole third quarter of Saturday’s Dollar General Bowl against Troy.

Here’s what happened during that span:

  • Buffalo kicked off to start the second half, leading 17-14.
  • Troy went on a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took 5:19 of clock time.
  • Troy tried and converted an onside kick after the touchdown.
  • Troy drove down to the Buffalo 8, taking up four more minutes. But the Trojans fumbled at the 5, and Tyrone Hill picked it up and ran it 93 yards for a touchdown. Buffalo retook the lead, 24-21. There was still 5:23 on the clock in the third frame.
  • Buffalo kicked off regularly.
  • Troy then mounted a 12-play, 69-yard drive that took 6:10 off the clock and ran into the fourth quarter, ending with a Damion Willis touchdown catch.

So Buffalo actually lost the lead again, but at least that came in the fourth.

It’s exceedingly rare, of course, for an offense to go so long without playing.

The longest drive in recorded football history took 14:26 of clock time, which isn’t a whole quarter. All of Troy’s drives that touched the third quarter took between about four and about six minutes. That requires some weirdness to keep an offense off the field so long, and this quarter had it in the form of a) the onside kick and b) the fumble that happened to come at the end of a relatively long Troy drive. It was the perfect storm.

It took about 62 minutes of real time between non-kneel-down offensive snaps for Buffalo, given that halftime split them up.

And it appears the Bulls were rusty. They lost 1 yard on three plays upon getting the ball back, then punted it away after a possession that lasted 1:57.