What. A. Game.
Buffalo and Western Michigan put together a show for the ages
Dear anyone who wasn’t at UB Stadium Saturday, it sucks to be you.
You missed one hell of a football game. The kind of football game you tell your kids about. The kind of football game where every other play a record is being broken. The kind of football game that makes the entire country tune into a mid-major conference game. The most exciting football game I have ever seen.
This team spent a lot of time last year and this past offseason getting slack for being a boring football team that wasn’t winning. Well they might not have gotten the win Saturday, but they damn sure weren’t boring.
This was a 12-round heavyweight prize fight. And for the last seven rounds they wound up and threw every haymaker and hook they had in their arsenal to try and get the win. For seven periods any mistake would have lost the game for the team that made it.
Bulls head coach Lance Leipold said it best after the game.
“I feel sorry for the people that left,” Leipold said.
Obviously results come first, but as Dana White would tell you, putting people in the seats doesn’t always have to do with winning and losing. This kind of football should put people in the seats.
People on campus need to take notice because this is a product on the field worth watching.
Buffalo has been all about the big play this year and lightning can strike any time its offense is on the field. The Bulls finished Saturday with four passes of over 50 yards and 10 passes of over 20 yards. And if you want a storyline look at the backup quarterback.
Junior Drew Anderson is playing like a man with nothing to lose. Prior to the season, very few people expected he would step on the field for more than a play or two. Now a man who spent time at San Diego State and a community college is leading an FBS program like a seasoned veteran. He is 2-1 in his three contests and earned both wins. He just set the program records for touchdowns and yards against the defending Mid-American Conference champions.
Anthony Johnson has been a huge part of Anderson and the passing game’s success.
His speed allows him to be a factor with the long ball. His route running makes him a major part of the short passing game. But that intangible quality makes him always dangerous. He’s brought in plenty of balls while being smothered by the defense.
The run game is exciting, too, even if Saturday didn’t show it because redshirt sophomore Emmanuel Reed was out for the second half. It took a couple weeks for Reed to find his rhythm but his emergence has been fun to watch.
Listed at 5’8” he runs with more power than most six-foot backs. It’s exciting to see him disappear in the mass of bodies in the trenches, then breakout the other side and find running room to break one off. He beat up on the front seven of Kent State with three touchdowns. He went three straight games with over 100 rushing yards.
Defensively Buffalo has junior linebacker Khalil Hodge, who is just as much of a treat for the fans. He looks superior for a MAC linebacker and seems to be in on the play every single snap he is on the field.
This team is a different animal from last year, and I hope the UB community can realize that with six games left in the season. This team has plenty of potential to be over .500 and compete in a MAC championship by December. I encourage the entire fan base to come see what they’ve been missing when UB takes on the Northern Illinois Huskies at UB Stadium next Saturday. This is a very winnable game and the fans in attendance will be treated to another installment of the big play Bulls.
Daniel Petruccelli is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org