Gridiron report card: UB versus Miami (OH)
Positional breakdown of UB Football versus Miami
Saturday afternoon was rough for the Buffalo Bulls (2-8, 1-5 Mid-American Conference) football team. They couldn’t get out of their own way and lost to the Miami (OH) RedHawks (5-6, 5-2 MAC) 35-24 on the back of their own mistakes. For the second straight week, the Bulls outgained their opponent but lost because of their own mistakes.
Here is The Spectrum’s positional breakdown.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Tyree Jackson had one of the worst games of his young career. He couldn’t get anything going and made some major mistakes.
The interception he threw in the third was a terrible decision on his part. Miami’s sophomore defensive back De’Andre Montgomery knew exactly where the ball was going the whole play and caught the ball like it was intended for him before taking it to the house. The fumble on the read option is too difficult to tell who is at fault but as the quarterback, he has to be held at least partially responsible.
Jackson struggled with ball placement most of the game before leaving with an undisclosed leg injury in the third quarter. Graduate transfer Grant Rohach played fine in the final quarter, but it was during a point in the game that was essentially garbage time.
Running backs: B-
The Bulls’ running backs had fairly average games against the RedHawks. Senior running back Jordan Johnson made it to the 100-yard mark and made himself the seventh running back in program history to reach 2,000 rushing yards. It took him almost 30 carries to get to the century mark though.
He managed to find the end zone in the fourth and so did sophomore running back Johnathan Hawkins. But both scores were too little, too late and really didn’t mean much for the game.
Wide receivers and tight ends: D
Buffalo can at least get the ball to the tight end. Senior tight end Mason Schreck was the only member of this group to look good on Saturday. He finished with more catches than the entire receiving core and 28 more yards.
Senior receiver Marcus McGill is the only receiver to finish with more than one catch. Hawkins and redshirt freshman backup tight end Tyler Mabry both had more yards and catches than the rest of the receivers. They had trouble finding separation and there were multiple drops throughout the game.
Offensive line: C
The offensive line could have had a better game but they certainly aren’t responsible for a lot of Buffalo’s issues Saturday. The team rushed for 187 yards, averaging over four yards per carry. The line also only allowed two tackles for loss and no sacks.
They could have created more holes for the running backs but no matter how many holes they create, the mistakes would undo the team.
Defensive line: B
The Bulls defensive line had an overall good showing. Aside from a 70-yard run that falls mostly on the linebackers, UB played pretty well against the rush. The defensive line finished with four tackles for loss and looked aggressive about getting to the ball.
Senior defensive end Brandon Crawford scored the Bulls’ only touchdown in the game. He got around the edge and literally took the ball right out of Miami’s sophomore quarterback Gus Ragland’s hands before taking it nine yards and scoring.
The linebackers looked flat against Miami even though they’re one of the Bulls’ better units. Sophomore linebacker Khalil Hodge has been in a slump with his second straight game of only five tackles.
The unit is largely responsible for a 70-yard run from sophomore running back Alonzo Smith. Junior linebacker Jarrett Franklin got an arm on Smith but couldn’t get ahold of him as Smith broke into the open field.
Ragland also managed some easy keeper runs including a seven-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Defensive backs: C
The secondary was a mixed bag against Miami. They held Ragland to only 105 yards on a 50 percent completion rating. But they let up two touchdowns.
More specifically, they allowed a 40-yard touchdown pass right in the middle of the field on the first drive. The defensive backs bit hard on a jet sweep play action and were completely out of position to defend it. The secondary played decently the rest of the way but Miami had such control that they weren’t trying to do too much in the pass game.
Special Teams: C
Things didn’t get much better on special teams for the Bulls. Sophomore kicker Adam Mitcheson did miss a field goal but it was a 49-yard attempt on a windy day that had the distance but hit the post. He made his other field goal attempt as well as an extra point.
The punting unit allowed Miami to get a block on sophomore punter Kyle DeWeen, who still managed to get the ball past the line of scrimmage.
Coaching continues to be an issue for the Bulls. They have been outscored by opponents 81-10 in the first quarter. Offensively, their play calling has become predictable. Miami seemed to know where things were going right from the snap. Buffalo attempted a couple trick plays that had zero effect on the RedHawks defense.
Defensively, things weren’t much better. Buffalo seemed undisciplined and out of position. They were gouged for 110 yards on two fake jet sweeps.
Mistakes happened on both sides of the ball and it has continued to hinder any production they have been able to manage.
Dan Petruccelli is a sports staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org