2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 5 - Buffalo at Tennessee
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Oct. 1 at Tennessee 41 … Buffalo 10
CFN Analysis: The Vol passing game rolled without Justin Hunter as Da'Rick Rogers stepped up and showed he could be the No. 1 target with seven catches for 180 yards and two scores. Tyler Bray continues to be terrific completing 21-of-30 passes for 342 yards and four scores, but most importantly, at least besides the play of Rogers, the running game showed up with Tauren Poole finally getting a little room to move with 101 yards on 17 carries. Tennessee was never threatened and it looked refreshed after getting two weeks off from the Florida game. This was a god tune-up game with home games against Georgia and LSU up next.
Going on long, sustained drives is going to be a problem for the Bulls, and there weren't any long marches against Tennessee. The Bulls had the ball for fewer than 22 minutes with Chazz Anderson having a hard time moving the chains against a rested defense looking to come up with a good game. The UB QBs combined to complete 10-of-25 passes for 116 yards, and outside of a 68-yard touchdown dash from Anderson, there wasn't anything coming from the ground game. With Ohio up next, the defensive front has to be tighter and Anderson has to connect on his third-down throws.
(AP) KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Tyler Bray threw four touchdowns, Da'Rick Rogers caught two of them and DeAnthony Arnett caught two more as Tennessee beat Buffalo 41-10 on Saturday.
Derek Dooley was looking for improvement on both sides of the ball after a loss at Florida and a bye week. The Vols (3-1) also got their first test without top wide receiver Justin Hunter, who tore the ACL in his left knee against the Gators and will miss the rest of the season.
Tennessee's passing game didn't look much different without Hunter. Bray, who was 21 for 30 piled up 342 yards mostly by throwing long to Rogers, who finished with 180 yards on seven catches.
Rogers surpassed his previous career high of 100 yards receiving with 10 minutes to go in the second quarter after a 58-yard pass from Bray that would eventually set up his second score.
Bray's four touchdowns marked the 10th consecutive game he's thrown for multiple scores, ranking second in the NCAA behind Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore's 16-game streak. He now has 14 touchdowns and 1,328 yards through four games.
Arnett only had 27 yards on three catches, but his touchdowns were tough ones. He stretched across the corner of the end zone on a 13-yard scoring strike that put Tennessee up 31-7 just before halftime and trapped the ball at the edge of the end zone, a play that was upheld on review, for his second score which gave the Vols a 38-7 lead with 3:49 in the third quarter.
Tennessee scored easily after Buffalo (1-4) went three-and-out on the opening drive. Bray had a pair of 14-yard passes and handed off to Rajion Neal on a reverse, and Neal ran 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Vols a 7-0 lead 3 minutes into the game.
The drive was set up by Devrin Young's 43-yard punt return, Tennessee's longest in four seasons. Young was seeing his first playing time after recovering from a fractured collarbone, and the freshman finished with ... all-purpose yards but also lost a fumble on a kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
The Vols finally saw some improvement from their ground game too. After finishing with minus-9 yards total against Florida, Tennessee accumulated ... yards rushing, led by Tauren Poole's 101 yards on 17 carries.
But Tennessee also showed enough mistakes that caused Dooley to have some concern.
The defense lost track of Buffalo quarterback Chazz Anderson on second-and-6 at the Bulls 32, and Anderson easily shot into open field to run 68 yards in a straight line for a touchdown with 3:21 in the first quarter to cut Tennessee's lead to 14-7.
Cameron Clear touched the ball but couldn't fall on it on a squibbed kickoff on the next play. Brandon Murie recovered the fumble for Buffalo at the Tennessee 21, but the Bulls couldn't capitalize and Peter Fardon was short on a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Tennessee got the ball to start the second half, but Neal dropped a lateral pass and recovered 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Da'Rick Rogers dropped a wide-open pass on the next play, and the Vols were forced to punt for the first time.
The game marked the first meeting between the two teams and Buffalo's second time facing a Southeastern Conference foe. The Bulls, who have beaten a BCS team only once before, previously logged a 38-7 loss at Auburn in 2006.
Though Buffalo took advantage of some of Tennessee's mistakes, the Bulls couldn't do much against Tennessee's speed. They gained just 264 yards compared to the Vols' 531, held the ball 10 fewer minutes, converted just three of 13 third-down attempts and zero of three fourth-down attempts.
Anderson finished 8 of 19 for 99 yards and had 79 yards rushing.
Buffalo (1-3) at Tennessee (2-1) Oct. 1, 12:30, ESPN3
Here's The Deal … Get … out … healthy.
It's the fourth game of the year and Tennessee already faced a good Cincinnati team (a win) and a great Florida team (a loss), and while it needs more production out of the running game and the special teams and pass rush could use more work, at this point, the goal is to beat Buffalo and get out unscathed.
The Vols lost star receiver Justin Hunter to a blown ACL in the Florida game, and while he's just one guy, for team without a lot of depth, it can't lose any more of the frontline playmakers with Georgia, LSU, at Alabama, and South Carolina coming up. Fortunately, it shouldn't take too much effort to put away a Buffalo team that's feisty, but doesn't have any punch.
The Bulls battled hard in the loss to UConn last week after losing a heartbreaker at Ball State, but the firepower isn't there on an offense that moves the ball relatively well, but can't score. UB isn't going to roll over and just give away the win to the Vols, and the secondary is strong enough to be a test for a passing attack looking to find a true No. 1 target in place of Hunter.
Why Buffalo Might Win: The defense has been terrific. The pass rush has been strong and the secondary has been good, and there's just enough athleticism and just enough aggressiveness up front to give Tennessee's backfield a hard time. The Vol running game hasn't shown up yet, averaging just 82 yards per game, hurt by an offensive line that isn't getting enough of a push. UB should be able to tee off against the run and swarm the secondary around Da'Rick Rogers, now that Hunter is gone, and that might be just enough to keep the game from getting out of hand.
Tennessee isn't getting enough of a pass rush, registering three sacks so far, and the UB offensive line hasn't been bad. Bull quarterback Chazz Anderson is mobile enough to buy himself a little bit of time, and he's getting the ball out of his hands just quick enough to avoid taking the big shot.
Why Tennessee Might Win: Buffalo doesn't score. The offense is balanced and Anderson has been strong at times, but the Bulls can't seem to keep the chains moving converting just 36.5% of their third down chances. The Tennessee defense couldn't handle the speed of the Florida backfield, but Buffalo isn't going to get the same sort of big plays to take advantage of the shaky Vol defensive back seven. 21 points should be enough to put the Bulls away.
Tennessee might be one dimensional, but that one dimension, Tyler Bray and the passing attack, has been excellent. Even without Hunter, the Vols should be able to move the ball all over the field as long as Bray is getting a little bit of time to throw. He's fearless, has no problems going for the big throw, and he's getting the production for an attack that leads all SEC teams in passing yards. Buffalo might only be giving up 184 passing yards per game, but it's giving up a slew of big plays.
What To Watch Out For: Is Da'Rick Rogers ready for the bigger role? He needed to step up against Florida once Hunter went down, and he came up with a decent performance catching five passes for 62 yards and a score. The 6-3, 215-pound sophomore showed flashes last year, and he's big, fast, and acrobatic with the talent to explode. The star of last year's recruiting class after setting the Georgia state record for a season with 1,641 yards and 22 touchdowns, he has to be a go-to, No. 1 target.
UB might not have a superior running game, but sophomore Brandon Oliver has been fantastic so far. He cranked out three straight 100-yard games to start the season before being held to 84 yards on 23 carries against Connecticut, and he's been a solid receiver. He'll be the workhorse as long as he's effective, and Tennessee will focus its energy on stopping him first and will take its chances on Anderson pushing the ball deep.
What Will Happen: Tennessee will come up with a few big pass plays to explode out of the gate, and then things will fizzle. The Buffalo Bulls aren't the Buffalo Bills, but while the talent level isn't special, head coach Jeff Quinn has his team playing with 100% effort on every play. Tennessee will win, but it'll have to try.
CFN Prediction: Tennessee 31 … Buffalo 13
Click For Latest Line From ATS:
Tennessee -28 O/U: 53
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