Army's attack of UB

The Buffalo ÔD' fails the team again, this time in losing fashion

The Spectrum

With less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter, Army had more passing yards than Buffalo.

That’s when you knew something was wrong.

Don’t let the 47-39 final score fool you. This game was a blowout.

Army’s quarterback Angel Santiago picked up where Duquesne’s Dillon Buechel left off last week. Santiago completed all six of his passes – to seemingly uncovered receivers – despite completing less than half of his passes last season (46 for 93). Even the backup quarterback completed a 29-yard pass.

The Blacks Knights – a triple option run-based offense – completed all seven of their pass attempts. I don’t even think Army throws the ball seven times a week at practice.

And then there was the ground attack.

“We knew this game was coming, so we’re not just preparing three days. We’ve been preparing quite some time,” said head coach Jeff Quinn in Tuesday’s weekly press conference.

It appeared otherwise.

Army ran for 341 yards, including 41 and 45-yard touchdowns. It’s no secret what Army does. It runs the football – 54 of its 61 plays were runs.

Moments of this game looked similar to last season’s Baylor game – huge running lanes emerging and the Buffalo ‘D’ looking like it forgot how to tackle. Army seemingly scored at will. The Black Knights scored on seven of their first 10 possessions. Not only seven scores, but seven touchdowns. Six different players scored for Army.

But hey, Buffalo did block two extra points. I guess that has to count for something, right?

Then, the game swung.

After trailing 47-17, the offense, defense and special teams all picked up. Junior quarterback Joe Licata began finding receivers, the defense made stops and the special teams recovered an onside kick. The Bulls scored the game’s final 22 points and possessed the ball with a chance to force overtime.

Then on fourth-and-three, Quinn called a play that I can only describe as bizarre. Rather than keeping the ball in Licata’s hand – the quarterback was coming off three touchdown drives where the offense was continually throwing – the Bulls ran the ball. Junior running back Anthone Taylor came up inches shy of the first down.

The box score is deceiving. Yes, Licata had 396 yards and five touchdowns, but the majority of this was when the game was seemingly out of reach. Licata had three interceptions and couldn’t move the team down the field early in the game.

“There’s no such thing as moral victories here at UB,” Licata said after the game.

Breaking news: Army is better than an FCS school.

This game was ugly. Arguably as ugly as Buffalo’s 70-13 loss against Baylor last season. Why so? Because at least last year’s Baylor point spread was 27.5 points. This week’s Army game was three and a half.

There’s no reason the Bulls should have ever trailed by 30 points.

It’s safe to say Baylor isn’t very concerned about next week.

Baylor will be without its starting wide receiver. Quarterback Bryce Petty has an injured rib. If I was Baylor’s head coach, I wouldn’t even play Petty. Baylor will still score at least 60 points.

Last week’s game against Duquesne was a call for concern. This week’s game is a yell.

The defense will continue to hold this team back. Last season, the offense’s job was to just put up enough points. This year, if Buffalo scores fewer than 30 points, it’s certainly a loss. Next week Licata may need to throw for 800 yards to keep – or rally back – UB in the game

Once again, the pass defense looked abysmal. Army didn’t throw for more than 122 yards in any game last season. It’s 125-yard game Saturday is more abnormal than Licata’s 396.

Quinn often talks about playing a “complete game” and “all four quarters,” but the Bulls have yet to do that this season. And if they can’t, games like this will become the norm.