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CFN Take: Buffalo Chilled By SDSU In Boise

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 21, 2013


Buffalo Bulls 2013 ... Head Coach: Jeff Quinn


Buffalo Bulls

2013 Record: 8-5
8/31 at Ohio State L 40-20
9/7 at Baylor L 70-13
9/14 Stony Brook W 26-23 5OT
9/21 OPEN DATE
9/28 Connecticut W 41-12
10/5 Eastern Mich W 42-14
10/12 at Western Michigan W 33-0
10/19 UMass W 32-3
10/26 at Kent State W 41-21
11/5 Ohio W 30-3
11/12 at Toledo L 51-41
11/19 at Miami Univ. W 44-7
11/23 OPEN DATE
11/29 Bowling Green L 24-7
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
12/21 San Diego State L 49-24
2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
San Diego State 49, Buffalo 24
Basically … San Diego State took control right away on a weaving, rumbling 29-yard touchdown run from quarterback Quinn Kaehler, and Adam Muema scored the first of his three touchdowns for a 14-0 Aztec lead. Buffalo fought back with Branden Oliver scoring on a 10-yard touchdown catch and getting a 38-yard Patrick Clarke field goal, but the last few minutes of the first half were disastrous for the Bulls leading to an eight-yard Muema scoring run and a 25-yard Dylan Denso touchdown catch in the final 1:11 as part of a run of 28 points that put the game away. Buffalo got two fourth quarter touchdowns on a 23-yard Alex Neutz catch and a ten-yard Fred Lee scoring grab.

- San Diego State RB Adam Muema ran 28 times for 229 yards and three scores
- Buffalo RB Branden Oliver ran 28 times for 114 yards
- Penalties: San Diego State 13 for 122 yards, Buffalo 8 for 54 yards
- Buffalo LB Khalil Mack made six tackles with a fumble recovery and a broken up pass.

Bowling Green 24, at Buffalo 7
Basically … Bowling Green won the MAC West scoring 21 unanswered points in the second half on a 23-yard Shaun Joplin touchdown catch and touchdown runs from Travis Greene and Matt Johnson. Buffalo took a 7-3 lead on a two-yard Branden Oliver touchdown run, but the offense fizzled the rest of the way.
- Bowling Green WR Shaun Joplin caught six passes for 149 yards and a score.
- Buffalo RB Branden Oliver ran 18 times for 46 yards and a score.
- Buffalo finished with 236 yards of total offense, finishing with 15 rushing yards on 24 carries.
- Bowling Green QB Matt Johnson completed 11-of-26 passes for 230 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran ten times for 72 yards and a touchdown.

Buffalo 44, at Miami University 7
Basically … Buffalo ran at will with Branden Oliver scoring twice in the second quarter and Alex Dennison catching a one-yard touchdown pass. The defense also helped out with a 60-yard fumble return for a score from Okoye Houston on the way to a 28-0 halftime lead. Patrick Clarke hit three field goals as UB got up 44-0 before MU scored on a two-yard Drew Kummer run with just over three minutes to play.
- Buffalo ran for 311 yards and held on to the ball for over 36 minutes. Miami University gained 200 yards total.
- UB RB Branden Oliver ran 26 times for 150 yards and two scores, and Anthone Taylor ran 17 times for 154 yards.
- Miami University QB Austin Gearing completed 5-of-19 passes for 65 yards and a pick.
- Miami converted one of ten third down chances, missed on its lone fourth down try and gained just nine first downs.

at Buffalo 30, Ohio 3
Basically … Branden Oliver ran for two touchdowns and Alex Neutz caught touchdown passes from 25 and 24 yards out as Buffalo dominated Ohio. The Bobcats managed just 233 yards of total offense and a 23-yard Josiah Yazdani field goal. The second half was all UB, starting with a grounding penalty on Bobcat quarterback Tyler Tettleton starting out a run of 23 unanswered points.
- Buffalo RB Branden Oliver ran 34 times for 249 yards and two scores, and he caught three passes for 19 yards.
- Ohio RB Beau Blankenship ran 20 times for 68 yards.
- Ohio QB Tyler Tettleton completed 14-of-31 passes for 126 yards
- Buffalo WR Alex Neutz caught four passes for 79 yards and two touchdowns.

Buffalo 33, at Western Michigan 0
Basically … Buffalo got up 6-0 in the first half on a one-yard Devin Campbell run, but it wasn’t until the third quarter when everything kicked in. The Bulls got three touchdown passes from Joe Licata, and Patrick Clarke nailed field goals from 51 and 36 yards out on the way to the easy win. Western Michigan only managed 202 yards of total offense and turned the ball over four times.
- Break up the Bulls? Not only are they on a four game winning streak, but they’re blowing teams out with Joe Licata and the offense rolling without a problem. The defense is turning dominant, stuffing WMU for just 38 yards while forcing four turnovers. Branden Oliver ran for 128 yards as a steadying force, but it was Licata’s three touchdown passes that made the game a blowout.
- What’s working for Western Michigan? The offense isn’t getting any sort of a push for the ground game, and the line didn’t give Zach Terrell any time to work. He’s only a freshman and he needs others to help pick up the slack, but it’s not happening. There were a few decent pass plays, but the four turnovers from the offense, and the defensive problems coming up with a stop, led to another disastrous loss.

at Buffalo 42, Eastern Michigan 14
Basically … Buffalo’s Branden Oliver ran for to scores in the first quarter and Devin Campbell returned a kickoff for a score and ran for a one-yard touchdown on the way to an easy win. The Bulls got up 21-0 before EMU scored on a 15-yard Joe Licata touchdown run, but the Eagles didn’t get back on the board until Ryan Brumfield ran for a 75-yard score in the final moments.
- Break up the Bulls. That’s two straight games Buffalo has exploded on offense with a crisp game from QB Joe Licata, completing 15-of-22 passes for 224 yards and a score and running for a touchdown, and Branden Oliver taking control of the ground game from the start finishing with 150 yards and two scores. The defense was also fantastic, allowing nothing on the ground until a garbage time dash.
- EMU’s offense couldn’t get working. The three turnovers allowed Buffalo to make it a laugher, but the real problem was the lack of any sustained momentum. Buffalo was cranking out long scoring drives, while EMU was trying to find anything to move the chains. The offensive line was dominated.

at Buffalo 41, Connecticut 12
Basically … Buffalo forced four turnovers, with Najja Johnson returning an interception for a first quarter score, and the offense got into the act with Branden Oliver running for a five-yard score and Joe Licata throwing three touchdown passes. Connecticut managed two Chad Christen field goals early, but was down 28-6 before Lyle McCombs ran for a two-yard score. UB scored 13 unanswered points in the second quarter, highlighted by Patrick Clarke field goals from 49 and 50 yards out.
- UConn, what the heck was that? It was almost as if Michigan beat the Huskies twice – they didn’t even show up. The passing game was bad, the running game worse, and a bad season has just turned into a disaster. Nothing is going to work unless the ground attack starts doing something positive. It gained just 27 yards.
- It’s not like Buffalo was perfect, but Branden Oliver was a steadying factor with 90 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries, while Joe Licata had a nice day completing 10-of-19 passes for 177 yards and three scores with just one pick. UB didn’t explode, but it did enough to pull away.
- The Husky defense did what it could. Linebacker Yawin Smallwood continues to be a superstar, coming up with 12 tackles, but there wasn’t any pass rush whatsoever from the line.
- The Bull defense played at another level with more pop and quickness with five sacks. Linebackers Khalil Mack and Lee Skinner combined for 18 tackles.

at Buffalo 26, Stony Brook 23 5 OT, Sept. 14
Basically … In a wild game that wouldn’t end, Anthony Taylor ran for a six-yard score in the fifth overtime to finally give Buffalo the win. The two teams traded field goals in the first overtime, traded touchdown passes in the second, and then the mistakes came with Stony Brook failing to capitalize on two UB turnovers with a pick and a missed field goal before Nick Ferrara hit a 25-yard field goal in the fifth overtime, leaving the door open for the Bulls’ final scoring drive. Down 10-0, Stony Brook had to fight just to get to overtime with Malcolm Eugene catching a five-yard touchdown pass with 29 seconds to play.
- Buffalo was helped by lots and lots of Stony Brook mistakes with 12 penalties, three missed field goals and three turnovers. The Bulls held in there through the late adversity and got the desperately needed win. The season might have been saved by the crazy victory.
- With no Branden Oliver, Anthone Taylor ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns. Alex Neutz caught ten passes, but they didn’t go anywhere with just 43 yards and a score.
- Linebacker Adam Redden made 17 tackles with two tackles for loss and safety Okoye Houston made 14 tackles with a sack.

at Baylor 70, Buffalo 13, Sept. 7
Basically … The Bear offense exploded with 781 yards and score after score highlighted by two Bryce Petty touchdown passes from 61 yards to Tevin Reese and 83 to Antwan Goodley. Lache Seastrunk added 150 yards and three touchdowns in the blowout. The Baylor defense got into the act with a 91-yard fumble return for a score from Bryce Hager as part of the 56-pound first half and a run of 49 unanswered points. Buffalo scored first on a Branden Oliver one-yard run and later in the first quarter got a 14-yard touchdown catch from Alex Neutz.
- The Baylor first teamers cranked out 576 yards in less than a quarter in a phenomenal display of offensive firepower. Everything the BU offense tried worked with 452 passing yards and 329 on the ground. It didn’t matter who was in, the production rolled.
- Lost in all the fun and firepower was a huge day from Buffalo’s Alex Neutz, who caught six passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. That was the one bright spot for the Bulls.
- Not everything went perfectly for the Bears. They committed ten penalties for 125 yards. Not that it mattered with 781 yards of total offense, but someday a big play will come back because of a mistake.
- You wouldn’t know if from the losses to Ohio State and now Baylor, but Buffalo is supposed to have a decent defense. The pass rush failed to come up with a sack and only generated four tackles for loss.

at Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20, Aug. 31
Basically … The Buckeye offense rocked and rolled out of the gate with Braxton Miller hitting Devin Smith for a 47-yard touchdown and finding Chris Fields for a seven yarder early, but it was Jordan Hall who stole the show with a 49-yard scoring dash and a 37-yarder late in the first. It seemed like a walk in the park with a 23-0 lead, but Buffalo hung around highlighted by a 47-yard pick six from linebacker Khalil Mack, but OSU pulled away in the third on a 21-yard Kenny Guiton touchdown pass to Chris Fields.
- The offense worked just fine. The Buckeyes looked in midseason form early on with Braxton Miller sharp and Jordan Hyde running wild. The offensive line blasted away on a very good MAC defense, and Miller and Hyde took advantage helping the ground game roll for 261 yards.
- The talk of Ohio State this week will be about the secondary that was a bit too shaky without Bradley Roby. Buffalo was able to crank up 185 yards and two scores through the air, and the game became a bit too close. However, the defensive front bottled up Branden Oliver, holding him to just 73 yards on 26 carries.
- Buffalo’s Khalil Mack made his presence felt, but the Buckeyes were running way too easily through the second level. However, Mack’s interception for a score showed just a little bit of what he can do.
- If it’s an Urban Meyer coached team, there will be penalties. The Buckeyes committed nine for 94 yards and turned it over twice.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited ... A little bit of an offensive boost will likely mean the difference between 4-8 and 6-6. If the UB offense is ever going to start working, it has to happen in 2013 with nine starters returning losing guard Graham Whinery and tackle Gokhan Ozkan off the right side. After being dinged up throughout last season, running back Branden Oliver is back along with dynamic young speedster Devin Campbell and veteran Brandon Murray. The quarterback play has to be better, but Joe Licata worked through the freshman kinks and should be a bit better, and receiver Alex Neutz should be among the league’s top targets.

Why To Be Grouchy ... The defensive front that was a big positive last season has to replace end Steven Means and nose guard Wyatt Cahill. Using a front three, the Bulls were outstanding against the run and held its own so Khalil Mack and the linebackers could fly into the backfield. However, Means was one of the team’s best pass rushers and was one of the team’s key veterans. The linebacking corps needs a few reinforcements to step up with Isaac Baugh, Dalonte Wallace, Imani Chatman and Scott Pettigrew out of the rotation.

What Needs Working On ... The special teams need to be night and day better. The punting game was abysmal averaging a horrendous 32.75 yards per try in Tyler Grassman’s true freshman season, while the punt and kickoff returns games were non-existent. On the plus side, kicker Patrick Clarke had a good year with a few clutch field goals, but the coverage team was a disaster. For a team with so many concerns getting the offense moving, there’s no room to struggle in the third phase.

Non-Conference Games: at Ohio State, at Baylor, Stony Brook, Connecticut
Games Against The West: Eastern Michigan, at Western Michigan
Realistic Best Case Record: 7-5
Worst Case Record: 3-9
Likely Finish: 4-8

Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Stony Brook, Eastern Michigan, UMass, Ohio

Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Ohio State, at Baylor, Connecticut, at Western Michigan, at Kent State, at Toledo, Bowling Green

Schedule Analysis: After catching a beating at Ohio State and Baylor to start out the year, the Bulls get a break with Stony Brook in the home opener followed up by a potentially interesting upset shot against Connecticut. Eastern Michigan is a must win to start the MAC season followed up by a road trip to Western Michigan and another winnable home game against UMass. And then comes the nastiest conference stretch on the slate with three road games in four weeks and the lone home game coming against Ohio. Closing out at home against Bowling Green won’t be easy.

Team Concerns For 2013: The offense has to match the defense. Can the attack score? After coming up with just one game of 30 points or more against an FCS team, the offense needs to be far more efficient passing the ball needing help from an offensive line that's been average in pass protection. The special teams have to be far better after a miserable season punting and with little pop in the return game averaging just 18.9 yards per kickoff return and 5.08 yards per punt try.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Receivers. There weren't many spots open in the recruing class after a few huge hauls, and once again the Bulls are going after the passing game. JUCO linebacker Blake Bean is an interesting option to help on the outside right away and quarterback James Coleman will be groomed to be in the mix in 2016. Receivers Jamarl Eiland out of Michigan and DuBois Ross are the two best players in the class, but it might take a few years before they make any sort of impact.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 97. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game is getting the attention with more options coming in to push for the job in the near future. There are some players already in place, including part-time starter Alex Zordich, but the Bulls need an upgrade. Turner Gill went after quarterbacks and receivers a few years ago, and Jeff Quinn is looking down the road when that class matures. Improving the secondary is also needed, and Quinn is bringing in enough to address the losses to come in 2014. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 104. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. After focusing more on trying to get the passing game going last year, and beefing up the offensive line, this year’s class is about trying to upgrade the defensive front. There’s nice bulk coming in with the 272-pound Kendall Patterson and the 285-pound Patrick Williams to clog things up, while Joe Feliecia and Brandon Tammaro are dangerous prospects for the outside. JUCO transfer Wyatt Cahill will play right away at one end.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 109. That Class Was Heavy On ... The passing game. Turner Gill had loaded up with so many big classes that the program didn't just go light last year, but it didn't need a whole bunch this year, either. New head coach Jeff Quinn was looking for guys he could develop, and Rudy Johnson might be the quarterback of the future if he doesn't move to another spot. RB James Potts might be an instant impact performer, while there are some nice receiver prospects to get excited about.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 115. That Class Was Heavy On ... Offensive line. The small class didn’t get much in the way of bulk talent, but a few decent offensive linemen, especially at guard, are coming in to build for the future. There aren’t a lot of holes to fill right away with depth already built in from the last two classes, and this class showed it.

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