Bulls Earn Decisive Win Over Albany in Leipold's Debut

Bulls Earn Decisive Win Over Albany in Leipold's Debut

BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo, The State University of New York football team kicked off the Lance Leipold era in impressive fashion with a 51-14 victory over Albany on Saturday afternoon at UB Stadium. The Bulls utilized a balanced attack of 212 rushing yards and 255 passing yards en route to scoring the most points in a season opener in school history.  

The Basics

  • Score: Buffalo 51, Albany 14
  • Records: Buffalo (1-0), Albany (0-1)
  • Location: UB Stadium, Buffalo, NY
  • Attendance: 20,872
  • Weather: Partly cloudy, 80 degrees

 How It Happened

 Offense:

  • On their first possession of the game, the UB offense went three and out. Then Joe Licata and company proceeded to shred the Albany defense scoring on six of the next seven possessions (Five touchdowns, one field goal)
  • Trailing 7-0, the Bulls responded with a game tying 8 play, 60 yard touchdown drive capped off by a 9 yard pass from Licata to wide receiver Marcus McGill.  Licata was 4-4 for 28 yards on that drive and added a 9-yard run.
  • Licata missed on his first pass of the game and then completed his next eight passes and 11 of 12.
  • After Albany scored on their initial drive, UB scored the game's next 38 points: Licata had TD passes to McGill and Jacob Martinez.  Anthone Taylor had scoring runs of 21 yards and 1-yard while Jordan Johnson added a 1-yard score.
  • The Bulls had a balanced offense with the ground game totaling 212 yards and 10 first downs. The passing game accounted for 255 yards and 11 first downs.
  • UB was perfect in the red zone scoring on all six trips inside the Albany 20-yard line (Five touchdowns, one field goal)
  • Eight different players had at least one catch including Collin Lisa who caught three balls for 56 yards in his UB debut. The transfer from Alabama-Birmingham had a 46 yard reception on a perfectly thrown ball by Licata down the middle of the field that led to UB's fifth touchdown of the game, giving them a 38-7 lead in the third quarter.

Defense:

  • Albany put together a 14-play, 82-yard touchdown drive on their first possession of the game. The Bulls defense responded and shut the Great Danes down after that. Albany managed only 82 yards combined on their next seven drives as UB's defense forced five punts and picked off two passes.
  • The interceptions came from linebacker Nick Gilbo and cornerback Boise Ross. Gilbo's pick, at the Bulls 20-yard line, came late in the 2nd quarter and kept Albany from getting some points before halftime. Fellow linebacker Okezie Alozie provided the pressure on the play, coming unblocked off the edge on the right side of there Bulls defense. Ross made his interception on Albany's first possession of the 3rd quarter. Ross showed good closing speed as he jumped an out route for the takeaway.  
  • Alozie recorded a team leading seven tackles, one tackle for loss and added a sack and forced fumble.

Special Teams:

  • Jacob Martinez had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 4th quarter.  It was the first punt returned for a TD by the Bulls since 2002. Martinez was seven years old at the time.
  • Redshirt freshman Adam Mitcheson recorded his first career collegiate field goal, hitting from 40-yards out in the 2nd quarter.
  • Punter Tyler Grassman picked up where he left off last season. He had three punts, two of which were inside the 20.

 Key Stat

  •  The Bulls were a perfect 6-for-6 in their red zone conversions on Saturday afternoon. The UB offense produced five touchdowns and one field goal in their red zone chances.

 Game Changer

  • The Bulls drove 89 yards on 13 plays, converting three third downs along the way. Taylor's 21-yard touchdown run put UB ahead, 17-7, with 7:19 left in the second quarter.  

Nota-BULLS

  • The 51 points scored on Saturday were the most by a UB team in a season opener in school history.
  • The Bulls had two interceptions in the game. One by Nick Gilbo and one by Boise Ross. UB had two interceptions all of last season.
  • Jacob Martinez returned a punt 86 yards for a touchdown. It was the first punt returned for a touchdown since Andre Forde had an 83-yard punt return touchdown against Lehigh on Aug. 29, 2002. It was a span of 154 games and ended the longest drought in the FBS.
  • Mason Schreck had a career-high five catches for 62 yards. Fellow tight end Matt Weiser had four catches for 21 yards. Last season, the duo combined for 25 catches all season.
  • Anthone Taylor posted his 10th career 100-yard rushing game. Moving him into fourth in school history in career 100-yard games.
  • Joe Licata threw two touchdown passes to bring his career touchdown total (pass and run) to 64 – a new school record.
  • Licata moved past Cliff Scott (1991-94) for second in school history in career completions with 563.
  • Safety Brandon Stanback was the first true freshman to start the season opener for the Bulls since Dillon Guy started at guard as a true freshman in 2011.
  • The Bulls had seven players making their first career starts on Saturday, including six on the defensive side of the ball.

Quota-BULL

Head Coach Lance Leipold:

"I'm very excited about this win, but like I told our team, I hope the focus can now go on the team. It is going to take every player to get this thing done and we will work hard and take it a day at a time." 

"Joe Licata is just so calm and he has a great feel for the game. He is everything you want out of you senior quarterback and leader."

"We want to build a program. We want to build a fan base. It's a football passionate area. We want to build a place where people want to be in the Northtowns on Saturday and the Southtowns on Sunday. I think that would be really special."

Senior Tight End Matt Weiser

"It was a great atmosphere for our home opener today and we went out and played really well. Our coaches prepared us and we had a great game plan coming into this game. They made us put the work in all week and we reaped the benefits out there today."

Senior Quarterback Joe Licata

"I think today went like it should have gone. I thought our offensive line did a heck of a job, our running backs did great and our receivers really blocked down field to help the backs out. I think the run really set up the pass today and that transitioned to a pretty smooth offense."

"I'm really comfortable in this offense. Coach Kotelnicki has done a great job of teaching and it makes me feel like I have a great feel of this offense. I embrace the fact that coach Leipold has a lot of faith in his quarterbacks and that has made him so successful in the past."

Junior cornerback Boise Ross

"We're trying to be as tough as we can. Coaches are talking to us about effort every single day so when we get out there, we try to put that on display every single time."

"Okezie Alozie went to the MAC media day and they said 'are you guys going to be able to hold a team to 30 points?.'  That's what was said to Okezie and as soon as we heard that we were like man, that's what they're talking to you about? So we just wanted to come out there and keep them at the lowest of all lows and take it to them as much as we can for as long as we can.

Up Next

The Bulls will travel to Happy Valley to face Penn State. The Nittany Lions are coming off a 27-10 loss to Temple on Saturday.

 

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