UB Bulls Gridiron Report Card: Buffalo defeats Albany 51-14

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After the football team’s performance against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team Albany Saturday, it’s tough not to give every level of the roster an ‘A’ for their performances. Here are the grades.

Quarterbacks: A

The Bulls quarterbacks combined to go 22-of-29 passing for 255 passing yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Senior Joe Licata looked good, excelling in the new multiple pro-style offense and senior Tony Daniel held things down as he replaced Licata in the middle of the third quarter.

Running backs: A

Four total touchdown runs and 212 yards on the ground earns you an ‘A.’ Anthone Taylor and Jordan Johnson provided a one-two punch that allowed the Bulls to both get the lead and control the tempo of the game after they claimed the lead. Taylor finished with 104 yards on 17 carries and mixed in quality runs with a 21-yard touchdown run.

Wide receivers and tight ends: B+

Eight different receivers got the ball in the passing game, which was highlighted by junior tight end Mason Schreck’s five receptions for 62 yards. The tight end combination of Schreck and senior Matt Weiser combined for nine receptions for 83 yards, nearly half of the team’s total receiving production.

It would have been nice to see the top wide receivers a little bit more involved, but Licata spread the ball around so much we’ll give them a pass. Overall, the Bulls’ passing offense was fluid in both efficiency and versatility.

Offensive line: A-

Questions about the offensive line were quelled after it allowed just two tackles for losses and zero sacks. Other than freshman center James O’Hagan’s snap over Licata’s head, the offensive line opened running holes for the running backs and gave Licata enough time in the pocket to shred the Albany defense.

Run defense: C

The change to a 4-3 defense resulted in several fresh faces getting their first look at action on the FBS level against Albany. Still, the Bulls’ run defense didn’t perform well. The unit allowed 4.0 yards per carry against an FCS ground attack. As the passing game sputtered for Albany, they appeared comfortable moving the ball in the running game.

It doesn’t matter now, but as the Bulls move up in difficulty in opponents and the temperature drops, they’ll need to tighten up their run defense, or it could become their greatest weakness.

Pass defense: B+

The Bulls fall a grade for allowing a passing touchdown on the opening drive, but the Bulls had success in other areas. The first is the overall passing numbers for the Great Danes. Albany quarterback D.J. Cook completed just 50 percent of his passes. The second is the Bulls’ two interceptions, which tied last season’s total.

Special teams: B+

Senior punter Tyler Grassman had three punts for 111 yards, including two kicks falling inside the 20-yard line. Freshman kicker Adam Mitcheson nailed his one field goal attempt and sophomore receiver Jacob Martinez took one punt back 86 yards for a touchdown. Overall, a solid performance.

But the grade falls from an ‘A’ to a ‘B’ because of head coach Lance Leipold expressing concern about the protection on both field goals and point after attempts.

“It’s something that’s now on tape,” Leipold said of the struggles.

Coaching: A

Leipold is now 110-6 for good reason.

The Bulls received a good coaching effort from Leipold, offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki and defensive coordinator Brian Borland. Kotelnicki got the offense in perfect balance and kept Albany off balanced for most of the game. After allowing a touchdown in the first drive of the game, Borland worked with the defense and ultimately came away with three turnovers.

Leipold kept the team composed after the injury to freshman safety Jordan Collier and got 19 new players into their first college game.

Not bad for his first D-I game.

Quentin Haynes is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at quentin.haynes@ubspectrum.com. Follow him on Twitter at @haynes_spectrum