Bulls Make Rare Trip to Central Michigan on Saturday

Bulls Make Rare Trip to Central Michigan on Saturday


Buffalo (2-3, 0-1 MAC) at Central Michigan (2-4, 1-1 MAC)
17, 2015
Kelly/Shorts Stadium - 1:00 pm

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• Though this is the eighth meeting between UB and Central Michigan, it is only the Bulls second ever trip to CMU's Kelly/Shorts Stadium. The Bulls also played at CMU in 2008.

• Central Michigan leads the all-time series, 6-1.

• UB's defense is allowing an average of 245 yards of total offense in the first half, compared to just 155 yards of total offense in the second half.

• This game will feature two of the MAC's best tight ends. UB's Matt Weiser was named the John Mackey Award Tight End of the Week following week four. CMU's Ben McCord earned the same award the previous week.

Boise Ross leads the nation in passes defended, averaging 2.6 per game. He has two interceptions and 11 pass breakups. Ross already ranks seventh in school history for passes defended in a single season and is only three shy of the single-season school record.

• Since joining the MAC in 1999, the Bulls are 1-19 in road games against MAC West opponents. UB's lone win came at Western Michigan in 2013.

• The Bulls have run an average of 88 plays over the last two games, including a season-high 96 plays against Bowling Green.

• The Bulls have won the time of possession battle in every game this season.

• After having just two tackles in the opener against Albany, Brandon Berry has had 41 tackles over the last four games, including double-digit tackles in three straight games.
Joe Licata's next touchdown pass will tie him with Northern Illinois' Chandler Harnish for 13th in MAC history.
• Since entering the starting lineup at the start of the 2014 season, Ron Willoughby has recorded a catch in 16 straight games.  

Anthone Taylor's next 100-yard game will tie him with James Starks for third in school history in career 100-yard rushing games (12).

Bulls Make Rare Trip to Central Michigan
    For just the second time since joining the Mid-American Conference in 1999, the University at Buffalo football team will travel to Central Michigan to take on the Chippewas on Saturday.    
    The Bulls are 2-3 overall, 0-1 in the MAC and are coming off a 28-22 loss to Bowling Green on October 3.  Joe Licata threw for 348 yards and a touchdown. Matt Weiser, Ron Willoughby and Marcus McGill each had eight catches in the game.
    Central Michigan is 2-4 overall, 1-1 in the MAC and is coming off a 41-39 loss at Western Michigan last Saturday. The Chippewas are led by quarterback Cooper Rush who has throw for 1,771 yards and 12 touchdowns on the year.
    Central Michigan leads the all-time series, 6-1. The Chippewas won the last meeting, 20-14, at UB  Stadium last season.

Eight is Enough
    Matt Weiser, Marcus McGill and Ron Willoughby each had eight catches against Bowling Green on Oct. 3. It was the first time in school history three different UB players had eight receptions in a game. Weiser had eight catches for 90 yards; McGill had a career-best eight catches for 88 yards and Willoughby had eight catches for 73 yards and a touchdown.

None the Weiser
    Matt Weiser had the best game by a tight end in school history against Nevada on September 26.  The senior tight end had a career-high 10 catches for 131 yards, including a 41-yard touchdown against the Wolf Pack. It was the most receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in school history. Chad Upshaw held the previous mark of eight receptions for 116 yards against Ohio in 2005. Weiser was named the John Mackey Award Tight End of the Week following the game. He followed that up with an eighth-catch, 90-yard performance against Bowling Green on October 3.
    Weiser ranks second on the team with 25 catches for 266 yards and a touchdown on the season. He is only four catches shy of his reception total of his first three seasons, combined.

Linebackers Lead the Defensive Attack
    The Bulls defense has been led by a trio of linebackers this season. Nick Gilbo, Brandon Berry and Okezie Alozie are UB's top tacklers on the year and all three have been very consistent. Gilbo has a team-high 44 tackles, Berry has 42 and Alozie has 37. All three players set career highs against Nevada as Berry had 13, and Alozie and Gilbo had 12 apiece. Berry has been especially strong lately. After having just two tackles in the opener against Albany, the junior Detroit native has had 41 tackles over the last four games.

Like a Ross
    Boise Ross started the 2014 campaign at wide receiver. He has since made the move to cornerback and it has paid dividends. In his first full season at corner, Ross has two interceptions and 11 pass breakups. He had a 39-yard pick six against Florida Atlantic on September 19. The junior from Bethlehem, PA currently leads the nation in passes defended, averaging 2.6 per game .
    Through only five games, he already ranks seventh in school history in single-season passes defended and is only three shy of the single-season record of 16 held by Dave Short (1990) and Najja Johnson (2011).

Not Your Average Joe
    Senior quarterback Joe Licata has picked up where he left off to start the season. He has thrown four touchdown passes on the season.  He is completing 63 percent of his passes, including a career-high 77 percent completion percentage in the opener against Albany.
    Licata enters his final season as the Bulls' signal caller. The local product already holds the school record for career touchdown passes with 67. He also ranks second in career passing yardage with 7,758. He is 990 yards shy of the school record of 8,748 yards held by Drew Willy (2005-08).
    Licata has entered the top 20 in MAC history in career touchdown passes.

The Kids Are Alright
    Coach Leipold has given his young players a chance to play this season. So far this year, seven true freshmen and eight redshirt-freshmen have played in a game. Freshman Brandon Stanback has started three games at safety, Cameron Lewis (CB), Charles Harris (DE), Justin Brandon (DT), Duke Hwang (DT), Brandon Smiley (WR) and Johnathan Hawkins (RB) have also seen action.

Popular Targets
    For the first time in school history, the Bulls had two different players record 10 catches in a game. Senior tight end Matt Weiser had 10 catches for 131 yards - both career highs. Senior wide receiver Ron Willoughby had 10 receptions for 122 yards against Nevada on September 26.

Historic Day for Defense
    The UB defense had an historic day at Florida Atlantic on Sept. 19. For the first time ever, the defense scored three touchdowns. With the Bulls trailing 9-0 late in the first half, linebacker Travis Pitzonka scooped up a fumble and dashed 60 yards for a touchdown to cut the lead to 9-7 and changed the complexion of the game. Boise Ross added a 39-yard pick six and Brandon Crawford scored an 11-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery. Nick Gilbo added a safety in the game. The Bulls forced five turnovers in the game (3 FF, 2 INTs).
    It was the second time in school history a UB team returned two different fumbles for touchdowns. The first was against Ball State in the 2008 MAC Championship game. Since 1992, UB is the only team in the nation to have returned two fumbles for touchdowns in the same game on two different occasions.

Capitalizing in the Red Zone
    The Bulls have made 19 trips into the redzone so far this season and have scored 17 times (89%). UB has scored 11 touchdowns and six field goals.

I'll Take That
    The UB defense had two interceptions and nearly a third against Albany in the opener. 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.     
    Against Florida Atlantic, Ross added another interception as did sophomore safety Ryan Williamson.
    The team's four interceptions are twice as many as  the Bulls had all of last season.

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.

Taylor Made
    Anthone Taylor is coming off a season in which he rushed for 1,403 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. Against Penn State, Taylor eclipsed the 2,000-yard plateau for his career.  He joined Oliver (4,049) and Starks (3,140) as just the third UB running back in the FBS era to rush for 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.
    This season, he ranks third in the MAC in rushing, averaging 94.8 yards per game.

    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.
    This season, Willoughby leads the team in receiving with 30 catches for 342 yards and two touchdowns. He had eight catches for 80 yards and a score at Penn State; a career-best 10 catches for 122 yards against Nevada and eight catches for 73 yards against Bowling Green.

Tyler Grassman Named a Semifinalist for the 2015 Campbell Trophy
     Senior punter Tyler Grassman has been named a semifinalist for the 2015 William V. Campbell Trophy. Considered by many to be the "Academic Heisman," the Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.
    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.

Max Returns
    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.

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 Ross, named after a poet and social activist.