Bulls Host Kent State in MAC Opener on Saturday

Bulls Host Kent State in MAC Opener on Saturday

               

Buffalo (1-3, 0-0 MAC) vs. Kent State (1-4, 0-1 MAC)
October 8, 2016
UB Stadium
 - 3:30 pm

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Storylines

• The Bulls are 6-11 all time in MAC openers since joining the conference in 1999 with five of the wins coming in the last nine years. 

• Since joining the MAC, the Bulls have more wins against Kent State (7) than any other team in the league.

• Buffalo is hosting Kent State for the first time since 2012. 

• This game will feature two of the nation's best tacklers. Kent State's Nate Holley ranks second in the country, averaging 14.6 tackles per game and UB's Khalil Hodge ranks third, averaging 12.3.

• The Bulls lead the MAC and rank seventh in the nation in pass defense, allowing 147 yards per game. 

• Jordan Johnson (1,415) is 74 yards shy of passing Tom Roth (1,488) for 10th in school history in career rushing yards.

• The Bulls had 10 tackles for loss against Boston College. They had 12 combined in the three previous games.

• The Bulls have been outscored 69-16 in the first half of games this season.

• After being penalized nine times against Albany in the opener, the Bulls have only been penalized 14 times in the last three games combined.

Bulls Host Kent State in MAC Opener
The University at Buffalo football team will host Kent State in their Mid-American Conference opener on Saturday afternoon. The Bulls are 1-3 and are looking to rebound from a 35-3 loss at Boston College on Saturday. Buffalo was led by linebackers Khalil Hodge and Jarrett Franklin who each had 10 tackles and combined for 1.5 of the Bulls' 10 tackles for loss in the game. 

Kent State is 1-4 overall, 0-1 in the MAC and is coming off a 31-27 loss to Akron on Saturday. The Golden Flashes are led by safety Nate Holley who is averaging 14.6 tackles per game. 

Buffalo leads the all-time series, 11-10. The Bulls won the last meeting, 18-17, in 2015 at Dix Stadium. 

A New Khalil
Khalil Mack will likely always be remembered as the best player to ever play at UB. However, there is a new linebacker named Khalil making some noise of his own for the UB football team.

Khalil Hodge, a sophomore transfer from City College of San Francisco, leads the team and ranks third in the nation in tackles, averaging 12.2 per game. He had 17 tackles against Nevada on Sept. 17 and 16 the following week against Army. He became the first UB player in their FBS era to have 16+ tackles in consecutive games.

Go Ish
Junior linebacker Ishmael Hargrove is making the most of his first season as a starter. He ranks second on the team in tackles with 36 and has a team-best 23 solo stops. The Cleveland native also leads the team in sacks with two and has forced and recovered two fumbles on the year.

TFLs
Buffalo had a season-high 10 tackles for loss at Boston College. It was the most tackles for loss in a game since having 10 against Central Michigan on October 25, 2014. The Bulls had a total of 12 tackles for loss in the first three games combined. 16 different players have recorded a TFL this season, led by Ishmael Hargrove and Brandon Crawford who have three apiece.

Jackson and Mitcheson Named MAC Players of the Week
After playing key roles in Buffalo's come-from-behind victory over Army, quarterback Tyree Jackson and kicker Adam Mitcheson were named the Mid-American Conference East Division Offensive and Special Teams Players of the Week, respectively, on September 26.

 Jackson had the best game of his young career. In only his second career start, the redshirt-freshman signal caller accounted for all three of the Bulls touchdowns in their comeback victory over the Black Knights. Jackson ran for two touchdowns and passed for another. He finished 20-of-31 for 178 yards and a touchdown and added 34 yards rushing and two scores on the ground.

Mitcheson, UB's sophomore kicker, made his only field goal of the game, a 33-yarder in overtime, to give the Bulls the walk-off win. He was also 2-of-3 on extra points. His extra point with 2:26 remaining in the game tied the contest at 20.

T3
Tyree Jackson continues to impress at a young age as the redshirt-freshman quarterback orchestrated a come-from-behind victory over Army in only his second career start. 

With the Bulls trailing, 10-0, in the third quarter, Jackson's one-yard touchdown run cut the lead to 10-6. Jackson connected with Kamathi Holsey on a 5-yard touchdown pass to bring the Bulls to within a touchdown. Jackson orchestrated the game-tying 62-yard drive and tied the game on a one-yard touchdown dive. He found Mason Schreck to convert a 4th and 9 to keep the game-tying drive alive. Jackson was 9-of-13 for 109 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

For the year, Jackson has passed for 475 yards and rushed for 179 yards. He became the first quarterback in the Bulls' FBS era (since 1999) to have two rushing touchdowns in a game when he scored twice against Army.
  
Comeback Kids
The Bulls erased a 14-point fourth quarter deficit to beat Army on September 24. It was the largest fourth quarter comeback since the Bulls erased a 20-point fourth quarter deficit to win at Bowling Green on November 21, 2008.

Pass Defense
Buffalo ranks first in the MAC and seventh in the nation in pass defense, allowing only 147 passing yards per game. The Bulls did play an Army offense that is predicated on the run, but the Bulls are better than a season ago when they allowed 227 yards per game. Boston College (258) was the first team to pass for over 200 yards against the Bulls this season.

Schreck Carries the Torch
A year after Matt Weiser was a first-team All-MAC tight end for the Bulls, Buffalo hasn't missed a beat with 2016 starter Mason Schreck. The senior tight end leads the Bulls in receiving with 13 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown. He has been a steady contributor over his entire career with 62 catches for 642 yards over his 38-game career.

Hawk Talk
Sophomore running back Johnathan Hawkins is developing into a formidable compliment to starting running back Jordan Johnson. The Georgia native continues to improve, averaging 38 yards per game rushing and has added a reception in each game as well, including six in the last three games.  He has rushed for 153 yards on 33 carries on the season. His 4.6 yards per carry average is tops among UB running backs. 

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.

New Faces 
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.  

Watch Out
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.

Former QBs
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. 

Graduate Transfers
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.