Bulls Report Card
Exam 8 - Eastern Michigan University, Saturday Oct. 27
Eastern Michigan 24, Buffalo 20
For the second-straight game the offensive line turned in a solid performance by giving quarterback Joe Freedy the time he needed to find the open man. Freedy responded by completing 20 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns, while not turning the ball over once. He was not afraid to test the Eagles' cornerbacks downfield, a strategy that proved successful on a 44-yard touchdown pass to Bradford. In the final quarter, however, the passing game failed to mount a final scoring drive that could have won the game. Freedy's completion percentage needs to be higher than 45 percent.
Dwarte started off slowly but picked up as the first half rode along. The offensive line pulled well and opened several holes that Dwarte exploited for first downs. Still, they were unable to get the game-breaking ground play the unit has been waiting for all season. The running game did help UB keep possession time relatively even.
Against a young quarterback, the Bulls thought they could confuse Akina and force him to make typical freshman mistakes. The pass rush did put a lot of pressure on Akina, sacking him three times, but he was still able to complete 16-25 passes, including two touchdowns. Akina played within himself, and the Bulls pass rush was unable to force the young quarterback into any mistakes that would lead to a turnover.
What run defense? For the Eagles, Roberson started off slowly at tailback, but seemed to get stronger with every carry as he wore down the Bulls' front four, finishing with a touchdown and 154 yards on just 19 carries. He exploded in the second half, gaining big chunks of yardage and bringing the Eagles back from a 20-10 deficit at the start of the fourth. Roberson tallied 99 yards in the second half, and the Eagles ran for a whopping 225 yards in the game as the Bulls run defense proved vastly ineffective.
The special teams gave the Bull's offense every opportunity to satisfy their hunger for a win by setting the table with excellent field position. Coverage teams were superb; punter McMahan pinned the Eagles inside the 20 four times. They caused the only turnover of the contest when the Bulls recovered a fumbled punt return on the game's first possession. Craig Rohlfs provided a spark in the return game and Dallas Pelz was 2-2 on field goals, hitting from 40 and 23 yards.
It was apparent from the start that UB came to play - credit Hofher and his staff. As the game progressed, however, the coaching staff made some questionable judgment calls. Trailing 24-20, the decision to punt the ball on fourth and nine from the Eagles' 37-yard line with under six minutes remaining proved costly. The defense could not get the ball back with enough time to give the offense a legitimate chance to win, and could not find a way to stop Roberson, who almost single-handedly caused the Bulls demise.
The Bulls had the Eagles against the ropes with a 10-point fourth quarter lead. Instead of seeing red and going for the jugular, the Bulls let up and let a young Eagles team take control of the game. Blame has to lie somewhere.