"Bulls Look For Confidence, Falcons Seek Revenge"
On Sept. 23, 2000, a fledgling football program took its first step toward respectability when the UB Bulls captured their first win over a Division I-A opponent since 1970.
Their victim: the Bowling Green Falcons.
This year the two clubs will meet again in their Mid-American Conference openers at Perry Stadium in Bowling Green, Ohio, Saturday at 6 p.m.
While the Falcons will be seeking redemption for last season's road loss to the Bulls - a 20-17 defeat in UB Stadium - Buffalo will be attempting to regain their confidence following an opening-week disappointment against Rutgers.
On the other side of the spectrum, Bowling Green is coming off a huge upset victory over the Missouri Tigers last week, and will have plenty of swagger heading in to their match-up with the Bulls.
"Were still looking for our confidence; they have already earned theirs," said UB Head Coach Jim Hofher. "They have our attention with an outstanding victory on the road over a Big 12 opponent."
Offensively, the Falcons will be looking to stretch the Buffalo defense with their new spread formation. Bowling Green will line up in a shotgun set for most of the game. The spread formation normally tends toward passing, but the Falcons presented a well-balanced attack in last-weeks' game while rotating their quarterbacks.
"They are very much a spread offense, running the shotgun 80 percent of the time," Hofher said. "The QBs run the ball, and they are balanced although they are in the shotgun."
The Falcons will use both Andy Sahm and Josh Harris at quarterback. Against Missouri, Sahm saw most of the action, completing 11 of 18 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. Harris went four for six in the opener.
"When you've got two very good quarterbacks that really complement each other and really cause defenses problems, and they deserve to play, then I'm a fan of the two-quarterback system," said Bowling Green Head Coach Urban Myer.
Joe Alls, who ran for 107 yards on 17 carries in week one, will be Bowling Green's featured running back. He scored the winning touchdown on a two-yard run with 3:40 to play in the fourth quarter against Missouri.
Hofher added that he feels his team is more prepared than they were against Rutgers.
"We have a lot more to go by because we have the opponent on tape," he noted. "We have a much better chance to anticipate the what-ifs."
Buffalo will need to put pressure on the Falcon quarterbacks, something that Missouri failed to do last week, as the Bowling Green offensive line did not surrender a sack the entire game.
Buffalo safety Craig Rohlfs, however, was confident that his defense could put heat on the passer.
"A couple of our defensive linemen manhandled them last year," Rohlfs said. "Maybe our defensive line is better than Missouri's."
Last year's numbers support Rohlf's statement, as UB posted seven sacks for 47 yards in their win over the Falcons.
If they want to be victorious this weekend the Bulls will have to overcome their road phobia. Buffalo is 0-12 outside of UB Stadium since 1999.
"That's rough right there, cripes," Hofher said while looking at the Bulls road record in this week's media release. "At some point we'll win on the road; we need to be consistent with our preparation."
On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons are rated number one in passing-defense efficiency. Bowling Green picked off two passes against Missouri last week, while the Tigers completed only 46 percent of their passes.
The Falcons two interceptions were both made by sophomore cornerback Janssen Patton, who was named as the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts.
- Play with confidence. Buffalo beat this team last year and there is no reason they can't do it again. Use last year's win as a source of self-assurance.
- Put heat on the quarterback. If it ain't broke don't fix it. The Bulls stifled Bowling Green last year with defensive pressure; they need to do it again.
- Be more opportunistic with turnovers. UB scored only seven points off three takeaways last week.
- Get permission from Bowling Green to wear their blue jerseys. If the Bulls can't find a way to win on the road, it's about time they pretend they're at home.
- Come back to reality. Bowling Green is riding high after last week, but if they overlook the Bulls they will come down fast.
- "Buffalo is a very good football team ... [we'd] better prepare with the same fever and passion that we prepared with last week ... I know we will," Myer said.
- Run the ball effectively. Rutgers did it last week, and eventually this opened up their passing game. Victory will come easy for the Falcons if they run well.
- Play for field position. Don't take a chance and give the Bulls an opportunity on offense at a short field.
UB's senior tight end, Marvin Brereton, suffered a ruptured patella tendon last week and is out for the season.
Bulls receiver Zeke McKine practiced Monday and will probably play. He missed the Rutgers game while nursing a hamstring injury.
Buffalo's win last season over the Falcons was their first MAC win ever.