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Shipping up to Boston

Bulls head to Foxboro looking to win three straight

Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 19:11

joe

Nick Fischetti /// The Spectrum

Redshirt freshman Joe Licata, who is 2-0 since taking over as the starter, looks to lead the Bulls to their third straight win when they take on UMass on Saturday.

The football team is one win away from producing its best record under head coach Jeff Quinn.

The Bulls (3-7, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) have been on the winning side of games recently, knocking off Miami (4-6, 3-3 MAC) 27-24 on a last-second field goal two weeks ago and Western Michigan (4-7, 2-5 MAC) 29-24 last Saturday.

Freshman quarterback Joe Licata has been impressive and has opened up the passing attack for the Bulls. This season, Licata has completed 55 passes on 103 attempts with five touchdowns and two interceptions. He is 2-0 as the starter.

Buffalo will try to keep its two-game winning streak alive as the Bulls travel to Foxboro, Mass. this Saturday to take on MAC newcomer UMass (1-9, 1-5 MAC).

In their first season of FBS play, the Minutemen have struggled to adapt, only posting one conference win. However, they have battled and pushed teams to the limit. The most notable example of this came on Sept. 29, when they pushed then-undefeated Ohio (8-3, 4-3 MAC) and only lost by a 37-34 score.

The last time they met:

On Sept. 26, 1998, the Minutemen trounced the Bulls, winning by a 51-27 score at McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst, Mass. UMass running back Marcel Ship (who played in the NFL from 2001-08) torched the Bulls’ defense, rushing for 221 yards on 26 carries and adding three touchdowns. For the Bulls, who finished 4-7 under coach Craig Cirbus, wide receiver Drew Haddad snagged 11 receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.

Players to watch:

Quarterback Mike Wegzyn–The freshman has thrown for 1,610 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions. It will be interesting to see how Wegzyn does against the Bulls’ defense that forced four interceptions last week.

Linebacker Perry McIntyre– Last season, McIntyre had 116 tackles and averaged 11.1 per game. So far this year, McIntyre has paced the UMass defense, accumulating 101 total tackles on the season – an average of 10.1 per game. He will be the player the Bulls will want to focus on in their blocking schemes.

He said what?

“They made a change at quarterback and all the new guy has done has been to win two games in a row. He’s efficient and they do a great job of getting the right plays. He’s done a great job of managing the game up to this point.”

– UMass coach Charley Molnar on Joe Licata

Magic Number:

4: First, the Bulls are one win away from their fourth win of the season – what would be the most in the Quinn era. Also, it is the number of sophomore cornerback Cortney Lester, who had three interceptions last weekend.

Matchup to watch – Bulls cornerbacks vs. UMass passing attack:

Last weekend, the Bulls defense forced five turnovers, the last being Lester’s pick that ended Western Michigan’s chances at a last second-minute win. Look for the Bulls’ secondary to have a huge game this weekend against the Minutemen, who have thrown 13 interceptions.

Prediction:

The Bulls will get off to a slow start but shake their first quarter jitters and prove to be too much for new MAC rival UMass. Although the statuses of both junior running back Branden Oliver and freshman counterpart Devin Campbell are uncertain, the Bulls will still be able to move the ball with junior Brandon Murie carrying the load. This will help open the Bulls’ passing attack behind Licata, propelling Buffalo to a convincing victory and a 4-7 record.

Bulls 42

Minutemen 10

 

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com

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