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Gridiron report card: UB Bulls defeat Ohio Bobcats

Bulls pick up first conference win of Leipold era with 41-17 victory

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On a cold and rainy day, the football team (3-4, 1-2 Mid-American Conference) defeated Ohio (5-3, 2-2 MAC) 41-17 and captured their first conference win of the Leipold era. Things don’t get easier from here, as the Bulls play their next two games on the road before a date with Northern Illinois (5-3, 3-1 MAC).

Here’s how we graded the Bulls' victory over the Bobcats.

Quarterback: B

The Bulls got one solid performance from Joe Licata.

Licata finished with 21-of-32 passing for 212 yards. He threw zero touchdown passes and zero interceptions, but finished with a rushing touchdown on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. The senior quarterback did a good job of finding receivers in the middle of the field and on the outside, leading the Bulls into the end zone on three separate occasions.

Running back: A-

In a game without senior running back Anthone Taylor, it was junior running back Jordan Johnson who had a career day on the ground.

Johnson made most of his first career start, finishing with a career high 28 carries for 147 yards and two touchdowns – a four-yard score to give the Bulls a 14-7 lead in the second quarter and 39-yard run to end the game.

Besides Johnson, the Buffalo backups sparingly got on the field. Freshman Jonathan Hawkins had one carry for 1 yard, while senior Devin Campbell had one carry for 4 yards.

Wide receivers and Tight end: B+

An all around solid performance for the Buffalo skill players.

Senior wide receiver Marcus McGill had a day, leading all Buffalo receivers with eight receptions for 81 yards, including two long, impressive catches. Senior Matt Weiser had five catches for 54 yards, continuing a strong season at the tight end position.

In total, five different receivers caught a pass from Licata in a solid offensive performance.

Offensive Line: B

The Buffalo offensive line has quietly looked solid in two of the team’s last three games.

Against Ohio, the Bulls allowed zero sacks and just three tackles for losses. The ability to keep Licata upright in the pocket allowed the Buffalo offense to continue to flow and move down the field. Even though they allowed three tackles behind the line of scrimmage, Johnson ran for more than 140 yards.

Defensive Line: B

The Bulls showed up with an impressive performance against the Bobcats’ offensive line. Instead of one strong performance, the unit as a whole put together a solid performance and held Ohio to less than 60 yards rushing.

The Buffalo defensive line also played well at the point of attack, finishing with six tackles for losses. Defensive ends DeMone Harris and Charles Harris each finished with 0.5 sacks and a tackle for loss. Freshman Justin Brandon also had a sack.

Linebackers: A

We saw a great performance for the Bulls’ best defensive unit Saturday.

Senior Nick Giblo finished with a one sack and a career-high 15 tackles. Junior Brandon Berry finished with 13 tackles, his fifth consecutive game with at least 10 tackles. The star, however, was Ozekie Alozie.

Alozie, a senior, finished with just three tackles, but it was his playmaking that shined as he grabbed two interceptions and 1.5 tackles for losses. Alozie returned his first interception 22 yards back for a touchdown, then showed his speed on his second one, taking it back 43 yards.

Secondary: B+

As a unit, the Buffalo secondary had one of their better all-around performances this season.

Sophomore safety Ryan Williamson had nine tackles on the day and his interception gave the Bulls their first touchdown of the day. Senior cornerback Marqus Baker had eight tackles and two pass breakups, while junior cornerback Boise Ross had four tackles and two pass breakups.

The only thing that takes away from this performance is that Ohio quarterback Derrius Vick threw for 321 yards. But 116 of that total came in the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach.

Special teams: A-

Freshman kicker Adam Mitcheson converted two of three field goal attempts, with his only miss coming on a 29-yard attempt at the end of the half that ultimately didn’t cost Buffalo.

Senior punter Tyler Grassman was solid once again with five punts with a long of 53 yards and two punts inside the 20-yard line.

Coaching: A

There’s not much to say here, largely because head coach Lance Leipold coached a steady game.

Leipold did a good job with everything, including his play calling. After a couple weeks of some questionable calls, Leipold and offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki did an excellent job of working offensively after the defense gave them a lead.

Defensive coordinator Brian Borland mixed it up on defense, sending linebackers in on blitz plays and called a very aggressive game, bringing the Buffalo defensive line up on Ohio’s offensive line and creating pressure on the quarterback.

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Haynes_Spectrum.


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