In what could have been a “get right” game for the UB football team, after last week’s loss at Wisconsin, the Bulls dropped to 0-2 for the second straight season. Almost identically to the 2022 home opener against Holy Cross, UB once again fell to an FCS school in their first home game of 2023, this time losing to Fordham (2-1), 40-37 on Saturday night at UB Stadium.
Defense remains an issue
The Bulls once again struggled to stop the run in the first half, allowing over 100 yards on the ground to the Rams’ junior running back Julius Loughridge. Gap integrity and missed tackles, major issues in last week's game, continue to haunt UB.
Coming out of the locker room in the second half, the Bulls were able to make adjustments to more effectively stop the run. However, this allowed the Fordham passing attack to take over. Sophomore quarterback CJ Montes continuously attacked the UB secondary, taking multiple shots down the field. The threat of the run or the pass seemingly kept the UB defense guessing throughout the game.
“They were just throwing it up and kind of seeing what happens…we gotta get some location and we got to knock the ball down,” Bulls coach Maurice Linguist said after the game.
Montes finished the game with 309 yards passing and five touchdowns to go along with 57 yards on the ground.
Linguist had a decision to make after Fordham scored a touchdown to put them ahead 40-37 with 2:32 left on the game clock. After getting into Rams territory on a drive that included two fourth-down conversions up to that point, UB faced a fourth and two with 46 seconds left. Linguist chose to send out graduate kicker Alex McNulty to attempt a 54-yard field goal to tie the game and potentially send the game into overtime. McNulty’s kick missed left and allowed Fordham to take over and kneel the ball the end the game.
“Over long periods of time, when you feel like you have maybe a personnel advantage or an upper hand against an opponent, the longer the game goes [statistically speaking] will show that you will win that game,” Linguist said about the decision.
Some bright spots
Graduate quarterback Cole Snyder had an effective day throwing the ball, completing 80% of his passes (24 of 30) for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
The receiving work was once again spread out, with seven different players catching a pass. Fifth year receiver Marlyn Johnson led the way for the Bulls with 7 catches for 105 yards and two touchdowns. Graduate receiver Cole Harrity was also a big part of the UB gameplan, catching six passes for 57 yards.
On the ground, sophomore running back Mike Washington Jr. ran the ball 13 times, finishing the game with 59 yards and two scores.
UB will be back at home next Saturday afternoon, as the Bulls get set to face the Liberty Flames (2-0) at noon.
Liberty started off its season beating Bowling Green 34-24, so the Flames will try to go 2-0 against Mid-American Conference (MAC) schools and 3-0 on the season.
The game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network and broadcast on ESPN 1520 AM radio.
Brandon Cochi is the sports desk editor and can be reached at email@example.com