Buffalo to face Temple on Saturday
Bulls look to start season 2-0
After a 48-10 romp of Delaware State last week, the Bulls will head to Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls.
Temple (0-1) is coming off a season-opening loss to FCS team Villanova Wildcats (1-0). Football Championship Subdivision is a division below the Football Bowl Subdivision; both Buffalo and Templeplay in the FBS.
Still, the past three times Buffalo and Temple have played one another the Bulls (1-0) were outscored 113-13. There is room for hope for Bulls fans as the last matchup took place in 2011 and Buffalo has one of the best and deepest offenses the program has ever seen.
Temple has not lost back-to-back non-conference games since head coach Geoff Collins took over the program in 2016. Leading the offense will be redshirt-senior quarterback Frank Nutile. Nutile was 18-32 for 185 yards a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss to Villanova. Nutile will be throwing to redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Branden Mack and redshirt-senior wide receiver Ventell Bryant. The two combined for 12 catches and 134 yards that Nutile threw. Senior running back Ryquell Armstead will have to improve upon his 14-carry 31-yard performance to give Temple’s offense a chance.
The unit going against Temple is not going to back down. Buffalo touts out a solid defensive front seven that forced four fumbles against Delaware State (0-1) led by NFL prospect, senior linebacker Khalil Hodge. Hodge totaled eight tackles in the win despite not playing the full game. Joining Hodge is senior defensive end Chuck Harris who was named to the third team All Mid-American Conference last season and freshman linebacker James Patterson. Patterson is the only freshman starting on the defense and had four tackles and a forced fumble in his first game as a Bull.
The secondary includes senior free safety Brandon Williams who donned Solomon Jackson’s number 41 in the season opener. Head coach Lance Leipold said he saw a lot of similarity between the two and gave Williams the honor to wear it as the Bulls rotate the number around this season.
Leipold said in a press conference Tuesday that he is nervous about the size difference between his secondary and Temple’s wide receivers. Williams stands at 5 feet 11 inches and will have to match up against Temple’s wide receivers Bryant and Mack who stand at 6 feet 3 inches and 6 feet 5 inches, respectively.
Offensively, much will be the same for the Bulls. Leipold had no reports of any injuries that will hamper the team. Junior quarterback Tyree Jackson is coming off a career week where he threw six touchdowns in just over two quarters of action. Jackson was named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week because of the performance. Jackson has all his weapons available including graduate transfer George Rushing. Rushing caught two passes for two touchdowns on Saturday.
Rushing brings more than his pass-catching ability to the Bulls. His experience at Wisconsin allowed him to play in much larger Big-10 stadiums. With the Bulls playing in an NFL stadium, he will be able to provide guidance to the offense as they play in a much larger setting. Rushing has also taken some of the redshirt-freshman like Isaiah King and Rodney Scott under his wing to teach them how to be better football players. His impact should be much broader than his on-field ability as he completes his one year of eligibility with the program.
This game will be decided by special teams. Since 2014 they have led the NCAA in blocked kicks. UB senior kicker Adam Mitcheson and redshirt-freshman Evan Finegan might have to quicken their approaches to limit the opportunities the Owls get. Temple had two blocked kicks in its week one loss.
The game is scheduled to kickoff on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcasted on ESPN3.
Nathaniel Mendelson is the sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @NateMendelson