Buffalo (0-2, 0-0 MAC) vs. Army (3-0)
September 24, 2016
UB Stadium - 7:00 pm
Radio in Buffalo - 1520-AM WWKB
• This is the fifth meeting between Buffalo and Army. The Bulls won the only other meeting played in Buffalo, a 27-24 overtime win in 2008.
• The Bulls have rushed for over 200 yards in each of the first two games. You have to go back to 2013 the last time the Bulls rushed for over 200 yards in three straight games. Since joining the FBS ranks in 1999, the Bulls have never rushed for over 200 yards in each of the first three games of the season.
• Tyree Jackson is the first freshman quarterback to start for the Bulls since Joe Licata started the final four games of the 2012 season.
• Army head coach Jeff Monken was on the Buffalo coaching staff from 1992-94.
• Jordan Johnson (1,385) is 103 yards shy of passing Tom Roth (1,488) for 10th in school history in career rushing yards.
• Senior wide receiver Marcus McGill is 44 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards for his career.
• The Bulls have 42 new players on the roster this season. Phil Steele lists UB as the fourth most inexperienced team in FBS.
• Army is the only service academy Buffalo has ever played.
• Both coaching staffs will be wearing arm patches to recognize AFCA's Coach to Cure MD to raise awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Bulls Return Home to Host Army
The University at Buffalo football team will host Army on Saturday at UB Stadium. The Bulls are looking to bounce back after losing at Nevada, 38-14, last Saturday. The Bulls were led by senior running back Jordan Johnson who rushed for 87 yards and had a rushing and receiving touchdown. Army is 3-0 and is coming off a 66-14 win at UTEP on Saturday. The Black Knights are led by running back Andy Davidson who has rushed for 334 yards and six touchdowns on the season. The series is tied, 2-2. Army won the last meeting, 47-39, at Michie Stadium in 2014.
Hello Old Friend
For the second straight week, the Bulls will face a head coach that was previously on the Buffalo coaching staff. Army head coach Jeff Monken was the wide receiver and tight ends coach at Buffalo from 1992-94. Last week, the Bulls played at Nevada. Wolf Pack head coach Brian Polian had two stints on the Buffalo coaching staff.
In a Rush
The Bulls have rushed for over 200 yards in each of their first two games of the season, averaging 228.5 yards per game. You have to go back to 2013 the last time a UB team has rushed for over 200 yards in three straight games. In addition, quarterback Tyree Jackson rushed for 87 yards on 10 carries. It was the most rushing yards by a UB quarterback since Alex Zordich rushed for 110 yards against Ohio in 2012.
Young Linebackers Stepping Up
Heading into the season, the UB coaching staff had the tough task replacing linebackers Okezie Alozie and Nick Gilbo. Alozie was an All-MAC selection and Gilbo had 113 tackles. Early on, sophomore Khalil Hodge and junior Ishmael Hargrove have stepped up and filled their shoes quite nicely. Hodge, who joined the team in January after transferring from City College of San Francisco, leads the Bulls in tackles with 23. He had 17 tackles against Nevada on Sept. 17. After playing a reserve role over the last two seasons, Hargrove has flourished so far as a starter. The Cleveland native has 17 tackles and a sack over the first two games.
JJ is OK
Jordan Johnson earned the start at running back against Albany in the opener and rushed for 114 yards on 23 carries. It was his fourth career start. He has rushed for 100+ yards in three of his five career starts. The senior running back rushed for 811 yards on 172 carries for a 4.7 yards per carry average last year. He had a knack for finding the endzone in 2015, scoring 12 rushing touchdowns. He tied for sixth in school history for a single season, four shy of the school record. Johnson started the first two games of his career as a junior in 2015. He rushed for 147 yards and two touchdowns in his first start against Ohio on Oct. 24 and followed that up by rushing for 123 yards and two more scores against Miami (OH) on Oct. 29. He became just the second running back in UB's FBS era to rush for 100 yards in each of his first two career starts. Johnson is 102 yards shy of entering the top 10 in school history in career rushing yards.
Honoring a Friend
Boise Ross has changed his jersey number from 1 to 41 to honor teammate Solomon Jackson who passed away in February. Jackson's parents asked Ross to wear their son's number since the two were close friends and roommates.
For the first time since November of 2012, the Bulls had someone other than Joe Licata line up behind center when Grant Rohach started the season opener against Albany. Licata had started the previous 40 games for the Bulls.
Tyree Jackson has emerged as the starter after redshirting in his first season with the Bulls last year. At 6-7, he is an imposing figure who threw for nearly 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns over his last two years of high school. Jackson was inserted in the second quarter against Albany and has remained the starter ever since. The versatile Jackson has accounted for 402 yards of total offense, passing for 255 yards and rushing for 147 yards.
Rohach is a graduate transfer from Iowa State where he started five games over his career with the Cyclones. He saw the most extensive action in 2013 when he appeared in seven games and started the final four of the season. He threw for 1,208 yards and eight touchdowns at Iowa State.
Buffalo has plenty of new faces on the roster in 2016. In fact, 42 new players will suit up for the Bulls this season, making UB not only the most inexperienced team in the Mid-American Conference, but one of the most inexperienced teams in the nation. Phil Steele lists Buffalo as the fourth most inexperienced team in the nation.
Experience on D
The Bulls return eight starters to an experienced defense, including a pair of All-MAC defenders.Brandon Berry was a second-team All-MAC selection after piling up a career-best 104 tackles in 2015. He ranked second on the team with 11.5 tackles for loss. Boise Ross was one of the Bulls breakout defenders in 2015. The UB cornerback broke the school record for single-season passes defended with 20. He also ranked fifth in the nation in the same category. The Bulls also return their entire starting defensive line from a year ago with Brandon Crawford and Demone Harris at defensive end and Chris Ford and Max Perisse at defensive tackles and nose guard, respectively.
The Bulls placed three players on different preseason watch lists for the upcoming year. Senior cornerback Boise Ross was named to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award Watch, awarded to the nation's top defensive back. Senior tight end Mason Schreck was named to the John Mackey Award Watch List, given to the nation's top tight end. Sophomore James O'Hagan was named the Rimington Trophy Watch List, given to the best center in college football.
The Bulls have a number of players on the offensive side of the ball that actually played quarterback in high school. Starting running back Jordan Johnson, starting receiver Marcus McGilland starting tight end Mason Schreck were all quarterbacks for their high school teams. In addition, reserve tight end Kevin Rogers and reserve wide receiver Jamarl Eiland were also quarterbacks in high school.
Youth at Inside Linebacker
With the graduation of Nick Gilbo and Travis Pitzonka, the Bulls will have fresh faces at the middle linebacker spot. Following a strong camp, sophomore JUCO transfer Khalil Hodge is slated to started while true freshman Matt Otwinowski is listed as the top reserve. Hodge transferred to UB after playing one season at the City College of San Francisco. He had an astounding 262 tackles his senior season at St. Mary's High School in Stockton, CA. At 6-3, 225, Otwinowski has good size for a true freshman. He had 87 tackles in seven games his senior year of high school and is the school record holder for career tackles.
McGill Leads Young Receivers
Marcus McGill had a breakout season for the Bulls in 2015 and will look for even bigger things in 2016. After missing the 2013 with an injury, McGill had 22 catches for 343 yards in 2014. Last season, he started all 12 games and had 50 receptions for 581 yards and four touchdowns - all career-highs. McGill leads a young receiving corps. Only three other receivers on the roster have registered a catch. Jacob Martinez has 43 catches for 433 yards over his career. Malcolm Robinsonhas 10 catches for 108 yards over his career. Jamarl Eiland has four receptions for 89 yards over his career.
New Look Bulls
The University at Buffalo unveiled a new set of athletics logos in April. While the traditional interlocking UB logo will serve as the primary mark, a new wordmark and spirit mark were also introduced. The new logos were part of a university-wide branding initiative. The new look for athletics is now more closely aligned with the university's strengthened and cohesive academic identity. The university's news release about launch of UB's new brand and identity strategy is available here. The new spirit mark is the first update to the bull since 2006. The sleek, classic bull head evokes a sense of energy, pride and action. Its iconic nature serves to represent the top-notch, competitive nature of UB Athletics. Additionally, a bold new "Buffalo Bulls" wordmark with a modernized font was introduced. While "Buffalo" will replace the "State University of New York Buffalo" wordmark previously featured on uniforms and apparel, New York State will remain an important part of UB Athletics' identity. In addition, the team will be wearing new uniforms for the first time since the 2011 campaign.
The Bulls added a trio of graduate transfers to the roster in the offseason. Quarterback Grant Rohach, defensive tackle Remaine Douglas and defensive end will Joe Keels all be eligible to play immediately. Rohach transferred from Iowa State where he started five games over his career. He saw the most extensive action of his career in 2013 when he appeared in seven games and started the final four of the season. He threw for 1,208 yards and eight touchdowns, completing 110-of-191 pass attempts. Douglas came to Buffalo from Lousiana-Lafayette where he played for current defensive line coach Tim Edwards. He appeared in 32 games and started twice for the Ragin' Cajuns. He had career totals of 25 tackles, three sacks and five tackles for loss. Keels transferred from Nebraska where he played two seasons for the Huskers. He appeared in five games in 2014, before an injury sidelined him in 2015.
All You Need is Lovejoy
Lovejoy, GA is a town of 6,300 and Lovejoy High School had a graduating class of 406 in 2014. Now three members of that same high school class play on the UB defense. Cornerback Brandon Williams, defensive end Randy Anyanwu and safety Jordan Collier were all teammates on the same Lovejoy team before coming to UB.
The Name Game
UB defensive back Boise Ross' full name is DuBois Ross - named for W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP. He has two brothers, Duke Ellington Ross, named for the legendary jazz musician and Langston Hughes Ross, named after a poet and social activist.
On The Airwaves
Again this season, University at Buffalo football can be heard locally on ESPN 1520, a 50,000-watt station with one of the strongest signals in the nation. Calling all the play-by-play action of Bulls football for his 17th year, and ninth consecutive, will be Paul Peck. Back in the analyst role is former Navy standout quarterback Jim Kubiak. Scott Wilson will return to his sideline duties in 2016 and Brad Riter also returns as in game host. Again this season, the UB Football postgame show will take place at Santora's on Millersport with host Bob Gaughan. Jon Fuller hosts the UB Football Insider with Lance Leipold radio show on Thursday nights at 6:00 pm. The show air on ESPN 1520 and be broadcast live from the Santora's Millersrport location.