Buffalo (2-8, 1-5 MAC) at #14 Western Michigan (10-0, 6-0 MAC)
November 19, 2016
Waldo Stadium - 3:00 pm
Radio in Buffalo - 1520-AM WWKB
• The Bulls are 1-11 all-time against ranked opponents. Their lone win came against #14 Ball State in the 2008 MAC Championship Game.
• Western Michigan leads the all-time series, 5-2, but the Bulls have won the last two meetings.
• Jordan Johnson is 116 yards shy of 1,000 yards rushing on the season.
• UB quarterback Tyree Jackson and WMU safety Asantay Brown are cousins.
• With 1,772 yards, Tyree Jackson has set the school record for passing yards by a freshman quarterback.
• The Bulls lead the MAC and rank fourth in the nation in pass defense, allowing 158.7 yards per game.
• Tight end Mason Schreck is averaging 6.8 catches over the last five games.
• After averaging 293 yards of offense over the first four games, the Bulls have averaged 413 yards of offense over the last six games.
• Jordan Johnson is 7 yards shy of moving past O.D. Underwood (2,062) for sixth in school history in career rushing.
• Since joining the MAC, the Bulls are 1-20 in road games against West Division opponents. Their lone win came at Western Michigan in 2013.
Bulls Travel to Western Michigan for Nationally-Televised Matchup
The University at Buffalo football team will travel to Kalamazoo to take on 14th-ranked Western Michigan on Saturday. The Bulls are 2-8 overall, 1-5 in the MAC and are coming off a 35-24 loss to Miami (OH) last Saturday. Buffalo was led by running back Jordan Johnson who rushed for 100 yards and a touchdown. Western Michigan is 10-0 overall, 6-0 in the MAC and is coming off a 37-21 win over Kent State last Tuesday. The Broncos are led by quarterback Zach Terrell who has passed for 2,445 yards and 23 touchdowns on the year. Western Michigan leads the all-time series, 5-2. The Bulls won the last meeting, 33-0, in 2013 at Waldo Stadium.
Buffalo's offense has been improving in recent weeks. After averaging 293 yards of total offense over the first four games, the Bulls have been averaging 413 yards over the last five games. UB has posted over 400 yards of offense in three of the last five games, including a season-best 518 yards in a win over Akron on Oct. 27.
Slow starts have hurt the Bulls this season. Opponents have scored first in every game this season. 8 of the Bulls' 10 opponents have scored on their first possession. The Bulls have been outscored 81-10 in the first quarter of games this season.
JJ is Dynamite!
Jordan Johnson rushed for a school record 282 yards and two touchdowns against Akron on Oct. 27. He broke the previous record of 266 yards set by Alan Bell against Duquesne in 1991.Johnson's total was the highest by a MAC player this season and the fifth best single-game total of any player in the nation. With 2,056 career rushing yards, Johnson has entered the Top 10 in school history in career rushing yards and is 7 yards shy of passing O.D. Underwood (1986-87) for sixth in school history in career rushing. His career 4.9 yards per carry average is better than both former UB greats Branden OIiver (4.7) and James Starks (4.5).
Win, Lose or Craw
Brandon Crawford is having the best season of his career. The senior defensive end has 45 tackles (28 solo), three sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss - all career highs. He has been especially effectively lately, with 6.5 tackles for loss over the last four games.
Whether through the air or on the ground, Tyree Jackson has accounted for 14 of the Bulls' 20 offensive touchdowns on the season. The redshirt-freshman quarterback has passed for nine touchdowns and has rushed for five more.
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 50 catches for 559 yards and four touchdowns. He had a career-best 10 catches against Miami (OH) last week. He had career-high 120 receiving yards at Ohio on Nov. 3. His 50 catches on the season is one more than his first three seasons combined. He has been a steady contributor over his entire career with 99 catches for 1,028 yards over his 44-game career. Schreck has been named to the John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List.
Running Down a Dream
In its win over Akron, Buffalo rushed for 378 yards. It was the most yards gained on the ground by a UB team since joining the FBS ranks in 1999. It was an impressive total for a team that had rushed for a combined 430 yards over the previous four games combined. UB's four rushing touchdowns against the Zips was only one fewer than it had in the first seven games of the season.
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 10th in the nation in tackles, averaging 10.3 tackles 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.
Tyree Jackson is turning heads with his impressive play. The redshirt-freshman quarterback continues to improve and is getting better every game. Jackson had the best game of his young career against Ball State on October 15 as he went 28-for-46 for 306 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 64 yards rushing. He became the first freshman quarterback in the Bulls FBS era (since 1999) to throw for over 300 yards in a game. For the year, Jackson has passed for 1,772 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 399 yards and five TDs. He has already set the single-season passing yards school record for a freshman. He has scored two rushing touchdowns in a game twice this season. No other QB in the Bulls FBS era has ever scored two rushing touchdowns in a game even once.
Buffalo ranks first in the MAC and fourth in the nation in pass defense, allowing only 158.7 passing yards per game. The Bulls are significantly better than a season ago when they allowed 227 yards per game. Boston College (258) is the only team to pass for over 250 yards against the Bulls this season.
Buffalo has 23 players that are sophomores or younger on their 2-deep. The Bulls have three true freshmen contributing, including starting right guard Tomas Jack-Kurdyla, reserve middle linebacker Matt Otwinowski and kickoff specialist Taylor Sheets. Starting quarterback Tyree Jackson is a redshirt-freshman.
Junior linebacker Ishmael Hargrove is making the most of his first season as a starter. He ranks second on the team in tackles with 74 and has 43 solo stops. The Cleveland native has had a knack for turnovers. Of UB's 10 forced turnovers on the year, Hargrove has had a hand in four of them with an interception, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
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. 21 different players have recorded a TFL this season, led by Brandon Crawford who has 10.5.
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.
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.
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.
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.