Buffalo (1-0, 0-0 MAC) at Penn State (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
September 12, 2015
Beaver Stadium - 12:00 pm - ESPN2
Bulls on the Air
Radio in Buffalo - 1520-AM WWKB
Radio in Rochester - 1280-AM WHTK
Radio in New York City - 570-AM WMCA
Paul Peck, play-by-play
Jim Kubiak, analysis
Brad Riter, in-game host
Bob Gaughan, post-game host
Beth Mowins, play-by-play
ESPN3 or WatchESPN App
• The all-time series between Buffalo and Penn State is tied, 1-1. The Bulls defeated the Nittany Lions, 10-0, in 1900. Penn State finally got its revenge, 45-24, in 2007.
• Saturday's game will mark the third 100,000-seat stadium a UB football team has ever played in. Along with playing at Penn State in 2007, The Bulls also played at Tennessee (102,455) in 2011 and Ohio State (104,944) in 2013.
• Since joining the FBS ranks in 1999, the Bulls are just 1-24 all time against opponents from power five conferences. UB's lone victory was a 34-11 win at Rutgers in 2002.
• The Bulls are 2-12 all-time against opponents from the Big Ten Conference. However, six of those games were against Rutgers prior to joining the conference (1-5).
• Joe Licata has thrown a touchdown pass in 13 straight games and 27 of the 29 games he has started in his career.
• With 1,926 career rushing yards, Anthone Taylor is 74 yards shy of becoming just the sixth running back in school history to reach 2,000 yards. He would be just the third player in UB's FBS era, joining Branden Oliver and James Starks.
• Joe Licata is 184 yards shy of passing Marty Barrett (1980-83) for third in school history in career passing yards.
• The Bulls played six true freshmen against Albany in the season-opener. Brandon Stanback started at safety, becoming the UB freshman to start an opener since 2011. Other true freshmen to see action were Johnathan Hawkins (RB), Brandon Smiley (WR), Justin Brandon (DT), Charles Harris (DE) and Cameron Lewis (CB).
Bulls Head to Happy Valley to Face Penn State
The University at Buffalo, the State University of New York football team will travel to Happy Valley to take on Penn State on Saturday afternoon.
The Bulls are coming off a 51-14 win over Albany last Saturday in the season opener. Senior quarterback Joe Licata was an efficient 20-of-26 for 246 yards and two touchdowns. Senior running back Anthone Taylor rushed for 104 yards and a pair of scores.
Penn State is coming off a 27-10 loss at Temple last Saturday. The Nittany Lions are led by junior quarterback Christian Hackenberg who has started every game of his career for Penn State.
The all-time series is tied, 1-1. Penn State won the most recent meeting, 45-24, at Beaver Stadium in 2007.
Not Your Average Joe
Senior quarterback Joe Licata picked up where he left off last season with a solid outing against Albany in the season opener. Licata went 20-of-26 for 246 yards and two touchdowns against the Great Danes. His 77 percent completion percentage in the game was a career high.
Licata enters his final season as the Bulls' signal caller. The local product already holds the school record for career touchdown passes with 62. He also ranks fourth in career passing yardage with 6,762. He is 1,986 yards shy of the school record of 8,748 yards held by Drew Willy (2005-08).
New Targets for Licata
A season ago, UB's tight ends caught a total of 25 passes. If the Bulls' season-opening win over Albany is any indication, UB's tight ends are going to be a lot busier in 2015. Against the Great Danes, Mason Schreck had a career-high five catches for 62 yards. Fellow tight end Matt Weiser had four catches for 21 yards.
I'll Take That
The UB defense had two interceptions and nearly a third against Albany on Saturday. Nick Gilbo had the first interception, late in the first half. Boise Ross had an interception early in the third quarter that the Bulls were able to turn into a touchdown just three plays later. The two interceptions matched the Bulls' season total from 2014.
Keystone State Homecoming
There are eight players on the UB roster that hail from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Six of the eight start for the Bulls, including tight end Matt Weiser (Womelsdorf), nose tackle Max Perisse (Downingtown), safety Brandon Stanback (Harrisburg), kicker Adam Mitcheson (Pittsburgh) and linebacker Okezie Alozie and cornerback Boise Ross (Bethlehem)
Capitalizing in the Red Zone
The Bulls made six trips into the redzone against Albany and scored all six times. UB scored five touchdowns and had one field goal.
Martinez Ends Punt Return Drought
Jacob Martinez did something against Albany a UB punt return hadn't done since George W. Bush's first term, return a punt for a touchdown. Martinez returned a punt 86 yards to paydirt - 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. Martinez was seven years old when Forde returned the last punt for a TD.
For his accomplishment, Martinez was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Special Teams Player of the Week.
Anthone Taylor is coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,802 yards. It was the second-best single season effort in school history and he became just the third running back in UB's FBS era (since 1999) to go over 1,000 yards in a season. He joined Branden Oliver (now with the San Diego Chargers) and James Starks (now with the Green Bay Packers) as the other UB running backs to accomplish the feat. Taylor is 74 yards shy of 2,000 yards for his career. He would join Oliver (4,049) and Starks (3,140) as just the third UB running back in the FBS era to eclipse 2,000 yards in a career.
Last season, Taylor became the first running back in school history to post three 200-yard rushing games in a single season as he rushed for 222 yards against Miami (OH), 219 yards against Bowling Green and 237 yards against UMass.
It was a solid debut for new starting kicker Adam Mitcheson against Albany. The redshirt-freshman converted his only field goal attempt, a 40-yarder, early in the second quarter and was 6-of-7 on extra point attempts, with one being blocked.
Home Sweet Home
With a 51-14 over Albany in the home opener, Buffalo improved to 12-2 in its last 14 games at UB Stadium. The Bulls won their final two home games of 2012, went a perfect 5-0 in 2013 and went 4-2 last season. One of the two losses came against nationally-ranked Baylor.
Bulls Name Captains
Senior quarterback Joe Licata and senior linebacker Okezie Alozie have been voted team captains by their teammates. This is the second straight season Licata will serve as a team captain and the first for Alozie.
Youth on Defense
While there is a lot of experience returning to the offensive side of the ball, the same can't be said about the Bulls defense. Only five starters return on defense - four of which are on the current two-deep. This includes linebacker Okezie Alozie, cornerbacks Marqus Baker and Boise Ross and defensive tackle Brandon Crawford.
Of the 22 players on the defensive two-deep, only five are seniors. Over half (12), are sophomores or younger.
The Bulls placed four players on different preseason watch lists for the upcoming year. Senior punter Tyler Grassman was named to the Ray Guy Watch List, awarded to the nation's top punter.
Senior Ron Willoughby was named to the Biletnikoff Watch List, awarded to the nation's top receiver.
Anthone Taylor was named to the Doak Walker Watch List, awarded to the top running back in college football.
Joe Licata rounded out the honors by being named to the Manning Award Watch List, giving to the nation's top quarterback.
Ron Willoughby is coming off a breakout season for the Bulls. After registering only three catches as a sophomore in 2013, the senior wide receiver had 50 catches for 771 yards and nine touchdowns last season. For his efforts, the Ohio native earned third-team All-MAC accolades in 2014.
Tyler Grassman Nominated for NFF National Scholar Athlete Award
State University of New York, Buffalo punter Tyler Grassman has been nominated for the National Football Foundation National Scholar Athlete Award.
A business administration major with a 3.80 grade point average, Grassman is a two-time Academic All-MAC selection and was a 2014 Capital One Academic All-District Football Team selection.
Bulls Get a Pair of Blazers That Fit
The UB football team gained a pair of new players from the University of Alabama Birmingham after the Blazers dropped the program following the 2014 season. Sophomore Collin Lisa is a wide receiver who played in two games as a true freshman at UAB. Redshirt-freshman Jordan Collier is a safety who redshirted as a freshman last season for the Blazers.
None the Weiser
Senior tight end Matt Weiser enjoyed the best season of his career with 15 catches for 286 yards and four touchdowns - all career highs - in 2014. He had the best receiving numbers by a UB tight end since Jesse Rack had 30 receptions for 432 yard and seven touchdowns en route to earning All-MAC honors in 2009.
Center of Attention
Over the last three seasons, former Bull Trevor Sales started every game at center for the Bulls. He was the only center Joe Licata ever worked with. However, this season the Bulls will have a new player snapping the ball. Redshirt-freshman James O'Hagan is the starting center for the Bulls.
Junior Max Perisse has emerged as one of the top players on UB's defensive front and is a projected starter for the upcoming season. However, it is not only his progress on the field that is making headlines, but his selfless acts off the field as well.
While working out at the Sports Performance Park at the Eastern Hills Mall, he found an unmarked envelope with $2,500 in the parking lot. The envelope belonged to WBBZ host John Di Sciullo.
Instead of keeping the money, Perisse looked for the rightful owner, and with help from his trainer, was able to return the envelope.
The story gained local media attention and showed the type of student-athletes at UB. The full story can be found at www.ubbulls.com.
Leaves of Grassman
Tyler Grassman enters his fourth season as the Bulls' starting punter and is coming off the best season of his career. As a junior last season, Grassman averaged a career-best 40.7 yards per punt on the year. He had 16 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. The most impressive aspect of Grassman's punting was of his 50 punts, opponents have gained only 32 total return yards and that includes one return that was 26 yards.
All You Need is Lovejoy
Lovejoy, GA is a town of 6,300 and Lovejoy High School had a graduating class of 406 in 2014. Now three members of that same high school class play on the UB defense. Cornerback Brandon Williams, defensive end Randy Anyanwu and safety Jordan Collier were all teammates on the same Lovejoy team before coming to UB.
The Name Game
UB defensive back Boise Ross' full name is DuBois Ross - named for W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the NAACP. He has two brothers, Duke Ellington Ross, named for the legendary jazz musician and Langston Hughes Ross, named after a poet and social activist.
On The Airwaves
Again this season, University at Buffalo football can be heard locally on ESPN 1520, a 50,000-watt station with one of the strongest signals in the nation.
ESPN 1520 will serve as the flagship station for the Bulls Radio Network, which also includes 1280 WHTK in Rochester and 570 WMCA in New York City.
Calling all the play-by-play action of Bulls football for his 16th year, and eighth consecutive, will be Paul Peck. Back in the analyst role is former Navy standout quarterback Jim Kubiak. Scott Wilson will return to his sideline duties in 2015 and Brad Riter also returns as in game host.
Again this season, the UB Football postgame show will take place at Santora's on Millersport with host Bob Gaughan.
Howard Simon will host the UB Football Insider with Lance Leipold on Monday nights at 6:00 pm. The show air on ESPN 1520 and be broadcast live from the Santora's Transit Road location.