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2006 CFN Buffalo
Defending MAC East champions. Actually, defending co-champions.
Considering Buffalo hasn't come up with a winning season at the
D-I level since 1969, and it's been one of the worst programs in
America since making the move back up in 1999, 2007 was a dream
year. Almost. UB hadn't won more than three games since '99, but
the 5-7 season was still hollow because the team came so close
to being special.
Head coach: Turner Gill
3rd season: 7-17
Off. 30, Def. 23, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 16
Best Bull Players
1. SS Davonte Shannon, Soph.
2. RB James Starks, Jr.
3. QB Drew Willy, Sr.
4. WR/KR Naaman Roosevelt, Jr.
5. FS Mike Newton, Jr.
6. DT Ronald Hilaire, Sr.
7. OG Jeff Niedermier, Sr.
8. WR Ernest Jackson, Sr.
9. DT Anel Montanez, Soph.
10. CB Domonic Cook. Soph.
Aug. 28 UTEP
Sept. 6 at Pitt
Sept. 13 Temple
Sept. 20 at Missouri
Sept. 27 at Central Michigan
Oct. 4 OPEN DATE
Oct. 11 Western Michigan
Oct. 18 Army
Oct. 28 at Ohio
Nov. 4 Miami Univ.
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 13 at Akron
Nov. 21 at Bowling Green
Nov. 28 Kent State
CFN Prediction: 1-11
Aug. 30 at Rutgers L 38-3
Sept. 8 at Temple W 42-7
Sept. 15 at Penn State L 45-24
Sept. 22 Baylor L 34-21
Sept. 29 at Ball State L 49-14
Toledo W 43-33
Oct. 20 at Syracuse L 20-12
Nov. 3 at Miami L 31-28
Bo. Green L 31-17
Nov. 24 at Kent St W 30-23 OT
A tough 31-28 loss to Miami University ended up deciding the East
tie-breaker, and a loss the next week to Bowling Green ended dreams of a
.500 season, and now there are high expectations for the first time in
the program's history.
Ten starters return on an improved offense, the defensive line should be
better, especially at tackle, and all four starters return to a deep
secondary. The linebacking corps is a problem and there's still a
question about the overall talent level, allowing several newcomers to
have a shot at playing right away, but all the excitement and all the
promise could quickly dissipate because of one reason.
This might be the best team in UB history, but the entire MAC has
improved and there isn't a sure win in the bunch. Home games against
Temple, Army and Kent State have to be victories, and it'll take some
major upsets to get over the hump and come up with a winning record.
All Buffalo can do is keep improving as a team and hope to start winning
all the close games and beat the teams it's supposed to. Head coach
Turner Gill is starting to put together a MAC power, even if the final
record might not show it this season.
What to watch for on offense:
Excellent balance. With all the returning starters, and a veteran
ring-leader in senior QB Drew Willy to spread
the ball around, all that's needed is a little bit of time for him to
work. The decent line should provide that, while the skill trio of RB
James Starks and receivers Naaman Roosevelt and Ernest Jackson should be
What to watch for on defense: Position movement, and lots of it.
The linebacking corps will be a major work in progress with at least two
freshmen likely to start. The defense is built on speed and quickness
over size, but the problem is there isn't nearly enough size with the
safeties as big, or bigger, than some of the linebackers. There will be
plenty of moves all over the place to try to get the best players on the
field, and several recruits will get their chance to play right away.
The team will be far better if … the offense can keep
things moving when games are still in doubt. UB outscored teams 95 to 88
in the first quarter, but was crushed 192 to 88 in the second and third.
Too often the Bulls had to scramble to get back in the game, and often
times it was too late.
The Schedule: The Bulls will know where they stand in MAC play right off the bat with
a mid-September game against a veteran Temple team and a road trip to
Central Michigan. Playing the Chippewas and Western Michigan from the
West isn't a plus, but getting Miami University at home is nice. UTEP is
a bit off the wall for an opener, but it's at UB while non-conference
road games at Pitt and Missouri have to be seen as tune ups for the
conference season. There's a nice stretch of three weeks in October
without going on the road, but back-to-back November away dates at Akron
and Bowling Green might ruin any dreams of a huge year.
Best Offensive Player:
RB James Starks.
Drew Willy is the leader of the attack who makes everything go, but
Starks is the star of the show with the ability to hit the home run from
anywhere on the field, and the toughness to carry it as much as needed.
He's the sure-thing workhorse the offense can always go to.
Best Defensive Player:
Davonte Shannon. A true find from last year's recruiting class, Shannon
turned into the team's best all-around defensive playmaker and will once
again be an All-MAC star. A great tackler with the coverage skills of a
corner, he can do it all.
Key player to a
Freshman LB Obi Ezemma. There are several linebackers who'll get a shot
at a starting job, and Ezemma is hardly a lock to start even after a
good spring, but if he's the man in the middle, he has to become a star
right away in the middle. At 6-0 and 215 pounds, he's not all that big,
but he can move.
The season will be a
... Buffalo wins six games. It's not going to be easy. The Bulls have to
win all the MAC home games, and there will have to be some upsets here
and there, but the team is experienced enough and good enough to beat
anyone in the MAC.
Sept. 13 vs. Temple. The Owls also have designs on 2008 being a
breakthrough season, and they need to beat the Bulls in the MAC opener
to have any realistic chance to get to the MAC championship. UB can't
give away home games in MAC play, and simply put, the title dream ends
if it loses.
2007 Fun Stats:
quarter scoring: Opponents 109 – Buffalo 45
- Kickoff return average: Opponents 22.8 yards – Buffalo 13.6 yards
- Fourth down conversions: Buffalo 13 of 25 (52%) – Opponents 6 of 21