Bulls Open Conference Play at Kent State Looking for Third Straight Win

Khalil Hodge

               

Buffalo (2-2, 0-0 MAC) at Kent State (1-3, 0-0 MAC)
September 30, 2017
Dix Stadium - 3:30 pm

Bulls on the Air

Radio

Buffalo - ESPN 1520
Rochester - Fox Sports 1280

Television

Storylines

• The all-time series between Buffalo and Kent State is tied, 11-11.
 
• Buffalo has won the last five meetings at Kent State. The last UB loss at Dix Stadium was a 34-24 decision on Nov. 22, 2003.
 
• The Bulls have more wins at Dix Stadium (5) than any other stadium in the MAC.      
 
• The Bulls have scored on their opening drive in each of the last three games. UB scored on its opening drive only once all of last season (vs. Ball State).
 
• The Bulls are averaging 11 points in the first quarter of games this season. They scored 10 points in the first quarter all of last year.
 
• Buffalo leads the nation in pass defense, allowing 115.5 yards per game. The Bulls have only allowed one passing touchdown on the season.
 
Khalil Hodge leads the MAC and ranks second in the nation in tackles, averaging 13.2 tackles per game. He has had two games of 15+ tackles this season (20 at Minnesota/17 vs. FAU).
 
• Buffalo ran the ball 57 times last week against FAU after running it 58 times the previous week against Colgate.
 
• The Bulls are 6-12 all-time in MAC openers since joining the conference in 1999.
 
• Buffalo last won its conference opener on the road at Bowling Green in 2010.
 
Bulls Open Conference Play at Kent State Looking for Third Straight Win
The University at Buffalo football will  be in search of its third straight win when it opens Mid-American Conference play at Kent State on Saturday.      
 
The Bulls are 2-2 overall and are coming off a 34-31 win over Florida Atlantic last Saturday. The Bulls had three rushing touchdowns in the game, including two by Tyree Jackson and one by Theo Anderson.  
 
Kent State is 1-3 on the year and is coming off a 42-3 loss at Louisville on Saturday. The Golden Flashes are led by cornerback Demetrius Monday who leads the nation with four interceptions on the season.  
 
The all-time series is tied, 11-11. Kent State won the last meeting, 41-20, at UB Stadium last season.
 
Off to a Good Start
A season ago, the Bulls scored a total of 10 points in the first quarter of games. This year, Buffalo has gotten off to much better starts, scoring in the first quarter of every game so far. In each of their last three games, the Bulls scored on their opening possession – something they did only once last year. UB scored on its first two drives in each of the last two games.
 
Against Colgate, UB scored 20 points in the first quarter, the most it scored in the first quarter of a game since scoring 21 at Temple in 2007. Through three games, the Bulls have scored 44 points in first quarter. 
 
No Fly Zone
Buffalo leads the nation in pass defense allowing only 115.5 yards per game through the air. After allowing a touchdown pass to Minnesota for the first score of the opener, the Bulls haven't allowed a touchdown pass since. Buffalo also leads the nation in passing touchdowns allowed with only one. The Bulls are one of only five teams in the nation to only allow one touchdown pass this season, joining Michigan State, Wisconsin, Southern Miss and Air Force.
 
Reed All About It
Emmanuel Reed had a breakout performance against Colgate with a career-high 120 yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 carries. The sophomore running back saw the most extensive action of his career against the Raiders and took advantage. He scored his first career touchdown on a 10-yard dash late in the first quarter. Prior to the Colgate game, Reed had 14 carries for 52 career yards. 
 
Reed earned the first start of his career against FAU and responded with a 107-yard performance. He is the first UB player to post consecutive 100-yard rushing games since Jordan Johnson ran for 147 yards against Ohio and 123 yards against Miami (OH) in 2015.
 
Just How They Drew it Up
When starting quarterback Tyree Jackson left the FAU game with an injury just before halftime, the Bulls inserted Drew Anderson, a quarterback with one pass attempt in his UB career.
 
The junior signal-caller looked like a polished veteran when he got in to the game. Anderson was 7-of-9 passing for 109 yards and a touchdown. His 20-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Johnson, with under three minutes remaining, iced the game for the Bulls.  
 
Anderson has a good quarterback resume. He transferred from Diablo Valley College in 2016 where he passed for 346 yards a game with 33 TDs. He put up even bigger numbers in high school, throwing for 4,074 yards and 47 TDs his senior season at Miramonte High School in California.
 
Picking Up The Slack
Cornerback Tatum Slack is enjoying a great start to the season. The junior California native has seven pass breakups on the year to tie for the MAC lead. He is coming off the best game of his career with six tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and three pass breakups against Florida Atlantic. He has had at least two pass breakups in three of the four games this season.
 
Big Play Bulls
Through four games, the Bulls have recorded six plays of 45 or more yards This is a stark difference from a season ago when Buffalo had only five plays of 45+ yards all season.
 
Junior wide receiver Anthony Johnson has played a major role in this as he has made a big play in three games. He had a 50-yard catch at Minnesota, a 52-yard catch at Army and a 46-yard grab against Army.
 
Running of the Bulls
The Bulls have run the ball 57 or more times in each of the last two games. Against FAU, UB ran the ball 57 times. Buffalo ran the ball 58 times for 302 yards in its win over Colgate. The 58 rush attempts tied for the second most in a game in the Bulls' FBS era (since 1999). UB also rushed the ball 58 times in a win at Bowling Green in 2010. The FBS-era record for most carries in a game is 62 in a 26-17 win against Ohio in 2003.
 
Hodge Ball
Khalil Hodge leads the MAC and ranks second in the nation in tackles, averaging 13.2 tackles per game. 
 
In the season opener against Minnesota, the junior linebacker recorded a career-high 20 tackles. It was the most tackles in a game by a UB player since Davonte Shannon had 20 against Army in 2008.
 
Hodge was named the MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 4.
 
He has also had double-digit tackle performances against Army (11) and Florida Atlantic (17). 
 
Last season, Hodge had 123 tackles – the eight-most in school history for a single season. He ranked seventh in the nation, averaging 10.25 tackles per game. Hodge was an All-MAC Second Team selection in 2016.
 
Charles in Charge
Chuck Harris is making the most of his first season as a starter. The junior defensive end ranks third on the team in tackles with 23. He has already surpassed his season total in tackles in 12 games in 2016.
 
Harris has posted at least five tackles in all four games this season. He had a career-high eight tackles at Army on Sept. 9. Of his 23 tackles, 16 are solo - ranking him second on the team. 
 
What a Debut!
It was quite a debut for Anthony Johnson as the junior wide receiver, playing in his first game for the Bulls, had 11 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota in the season opener. Johnson's 11 catches were two shy of the single-game school record. He had eight catches for 115 yards in the first half alone. In the second quarter, Johnson had a 50-yard reception and followed with 16-yard touchdown reception on the very next play. Four of his 11 catches in the game went for more than 10 yards.
 
Johnson, who redshirted last season after transferring from Iowa Western Community College, and UB quarterback Tyree Jackson made an instant connection against the Gophers as 11 of Jackson's 22 completions in the game went to Johnson.
Johnson leads the team in receiving with 
 
22 catches for 369 yards and three touchdowns.
 
Mitch Perfect
Kicker Adam Mitcheson was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Special Teams Player of the Week after a solid performance in Buffalo's win over Florida Atlantic.
 
Mitcheson made both of his field goal attempts in the victory. The junior kicker made a 23-yarder as time expired in the first half to tie the game at 17. He then made a clutch 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. His season-long field goal extended the UB lead to 27-17 with 10:54 left in the game. Mitcheson was also a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points in the game. 
 
After missing his first two kicks of the season, Mitcheson has made each of his last five field goal attempts.
 
New Receivers Stepping Up
Buffalo graduated its top two wide receivers from a season ago and top three pass catchers overall - so a big question heading into 2017 was who was going to step up.
 
That question was quickly answered with the play of Anthony Johnson who had 11 catches for 140 yards at Minnesota. Johnson is the Bulls' top receiver with 22 receptions for 369 yards and three TDs.
 
Antonio Nunn, like Johnson, is in his first season with the Bulls after redshirting as a freshman last year. Nunn has three catches for 71 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown on the season.   
 
Sophomore  K.J. Osborn who had eight catches all of last season, has eight already this year.   
 
T3
Tyree Jackson is off to a solid start at quarterback this season. The sophomore signal-caller has thrown for 733 yards and three touchdowns and has rushed for 227 yards and four more scores.  
 
Jackson is building on his strong freshman campaign in which he started eight games. He finished last season 165-for-311 for 1,772 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was the Bulls' second leading rusher, gaining 472 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He threw for 302 yards against Ohio and 306 yards against Ball State last season to become the first freshman quarterback in school history to throw for 300 yards in a game.  
 
A History of Running Backs
With the graduation of All-MAC running back Jordan Johnson, the Bulls have a new starter in the backfield this season. Whether it's been Johnathan Hawkins or Emmanuel Reed, they have big shoes to fill as the Bulls have featured 1,000-yard running backs in six of the last 10 seasons, including three of their last four. Prior to 2007, UB had only three 1,000-yard rushers in the history of the program.
 
Year-Player Yards
2007-James Starks-1,103
2008-James Starks-1,333
2011-Branden Oliver-1,395
2013-Branden Oliver-1,535
2014-Anthone Taylor-1,403
2016-Jordan Johnson-1,040
 
O'Hagan Named to Rimington Trophy Watch List
James O'Hagan was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List. The award is giving annually to the nation's top center. This is the second straight year UB's junior center has been named to the watch list.
 
O'Hagan is coming off the best season of his career. He started all 12 games of 2016 and was named All-MAC Third Team. O'Hagan has been the anchor of the Bulls' offensive over the past two season, starting all 24 games. 
 
Fake News
For the second straight season, the Bulls will play every game on artificial turf. Buffalo is one of 18 teams that will play all its games on artificial turf this season. Ohio State, Washington State, Kansas State, Wyoming, Utah State, Air Force, UNLV, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Miami (Ohio), Western Kentucky, Charlotte, UT-San Antonio, Arkansas State, Idaho and Coastal Carolina will also play all of its games on turf.   
 
Bulls Add Grad Transfer from Cal
Defensive end Kennedy Emesibe has joined the team as a graduate transfer. Emesibe joined the Bulls after spending three seasons with the Cal Bears. Emesibe was a reserve defensive end for the Bears after a standout high school career in which he was ranked the 35th best defensive end in the nation his senior season.   
 
Team Captains Named
Five players were voted team captains for the 2017 season. Players voted senior wide receiver Jamarl Eiland, senior linebacker Jarrett Franklin, senior defensive end Demone Harris, junior linebacker Khalil Hodge and junior center James O'Hagan were voted captains for the upcoming season.
 
It's All Relative
The UB football team features a pair of players related to two of the top five picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Junior wide receiver Anthony Johnson is the cousin of top pick Jadeveon Clowney. Junior linebacker Ledarius Mack is the younger brother of former UB All-American and fifth pick Khalil Mack.
 
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. The Bulls can also be heard on 1280 AM in Rochester.  
 
Calling all the play-by-play action of Bulls football for his 18th year, and 10th consecutive, will be Paul Peck. Scott Wilson will serve as analyst after previously serving as sideline reporter. Brad Riter also returns as game host. 
 
Again this season, the UB Football postgame show will take place at Santora's on Millersport with host Bob Gaughan.
 
Peck hosts the UB Football Insider with Lance Leipold on Monday nights at 5:30 pm. The show air on ESPN 1520 and be broadcast live from the Santora's Transit Road location.