Wednesday night fight
Bulls, Golden Flashes will battle in Buffalo
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 19:11
Let the MAC games begin.
After two weeks of playing non-conference opponents, the football team will finally get a chance to back up the comments made by senior defensive end Steven Means, who promised a Mid-American Conference championship before the season.
The Bulls’ (1-1) first conference opponent is Kent State (1-1). UB will showcase its talents in front of not only Buffalo, but the entire nation, as this game will be broadcast on ESPNU.
This game marks the first time Buffalo has had a home game on national TV since 2009, when the Bulls beat the Golden Flashes 9-6. Playing in this type of environment will be a big test for the Bulls, but it won’t change their game.
“It’s very exciting for us knowing that we’re the only team on TV at that time,” Means said. “But like coach [Jeff Quinn] said, we’re just going out there to play. [We’ll be] playing hard like we always do.”
On defense and special teams, the Bulls will have one primary objective – stop Dri Archer. The sophomore running back has only carried 16 times in two games, but with eight yards a carry on the season, he is a change-of-pace back who can explode for a game-breaking run at any time.
Archer has shown his ability to change the game on special teams, too, as he has already returned a kick for a touchdown – a 98-yard scamper against Football Championship Subdivision team Towson (1-1, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association).
On offense, the Bulls will continue to do what has worked in their first two games – run a balanced offense. Buffalo’s offense has dominated its opponents, as junior running back Branden Oliver and junior wide receiver Alex Neutz are among the MAC leaders in rushing and receiving statistics, respectively.
Things will be tougher for the Bulls this week, as this is the first game without sophomore running back James Potts, who left last week’s game against Morgan State (1-2) after a 49-yard touchdown run. Potts is out for the season with a torn ACL. Finding a solid backup for Oliver will be one of the keys to beating Kent State.
The passing game should be an advantage for Buffalo, as the Golden Flashes are third worst in the MAC in terms of defending the pass, giving up 300 yards a game.
Key Matchup: Kent State running game vs. Buffalo run defense
This will be the most important matchup for the Bulls. Archer is well known, but his compliment, Trayion Durham, is the guy who takes most of the carries. Durham is a solid compliment to Archer. They will try to exploit a defense that has given up rushing yards in bunches, allowing players to rush for 100 yards in both games. Overall, the Bulls have given up 214 yards a game on the ground, a number that has to be smaller if they want to control the Kent State offense.
They said it … (Money Issue edition)
“If money grows on trees, I’m branching out.”
– Kent State punter AJ Rotella (@ajrotella12) via Twitter
Number(s) to watch: 0
The Bulls have yet to force a turnover in their first two games of the season – one of only two teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision yet to force one. The other? Southern Mississippi.
With a Wednesday night primetime slot on ESPNU and the “Sea of Blue” at UB Stadium, the fans should be jacked up for this game and so should the players. Getting over their nerves and starting off strong will be key.
A prolific pass attack led by junior quarterback Alex Zordich against a defense that has had trouble stopping the pass will be the factor that leads to an eventual Bulls win. Stopping the run game is also very important, as Kent State doesn’t scare many teams with its pass attack. Special teams will play a role, as the Bulls can’t afford to surrender any big plays or squander any scoring opportunities in the kicking game. This should be a high-scoring affair, with a late touchdown deciding the game.
Kent State 30