Buffalo (5-4, 3-2 MAC) vs. Northern Illinois (6-3, 4-1 MAC)
November 11, 2015
UB Stadium - 8:00 pm
Radio in Buffalo - 1520-AM WWKB
Radio in Rochester - 1280-AM WHTK
• At 5-4, the Bulls have a winning record in the month of November for just the third time as an FBS program (2008, 2013).
• The Bulls are one win away from being bowl eligible for just the third time in program history (2008, 2013).
• Lance Leipold is the first UB head coach to win five games in his first season since Bob Deming who went 6-3 in 1969.
• Northern Illinois leads the all-time series, 8-1, and have won all seven meetings since UB joined the MAC in 1999.
• Joe Licata is 166 yards shy of the school record for career passing yards held by Drew Willy (8,748).
• The Bulls lead the nation with six defensive touchdowns on the season.
• Ron Willoughby's next touchdown catch will be the 16th of his career and will tie him with Drew Haddad for fifth in school history.
• In last week's win over Kent State, the Bulls erased an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to win for the first time since a 40-34 win at Bowling Green in 2008.
• Jordan Johnson has started the last three games at running back and has averaged 110 yards and has scored five touchdowns over those three starts.
• Joe Licata's next touchdown pass will tie him with former Miami (OH) quarterback Zac Dysert for 11th in MAC history.
• UB's Boise Ross and NIU's Shawun Lurry are two of the best defensive backs in the MAC. Lurry leads the nation in passes defensed (19) and Ross ranks third (18). Ross has two interceptions and 16 pass breakups. He already holds the school record for single-season passes defended with 18.
• UB punter Tyler Grassman has been named MAC East Special Teams Player of the Week three times this season, including each of the last two weeks.
Bulls Host Northern Illinois in Midweek MACtion
The Bulls will look to win their fourth straight game when they host Northern Illinois on Wednesday night on ESPNU.
The Bulls are 5-4 overall, 3-2 in the MAC and are coming off an 18-17 win at Kent State last Thursday. Joe Licata threw for a pair of touchdowns, including the game winner to Matt Weiser with 58 seconds remaining to erase an 11-point fourth quarter deficit.
Northern Illinois is 6-3 overall, 4-1 in the MAC and is coming off a 32-27 divisional win at Toledo last Tuesday. The Huskies are led by Joel Bouagnon who has rushed for 949 yards and 15 touchdowns on the season.
Northern Illinois leads the all-time series, 8-1. The Huskies won the last meeting, 45-3, at Huskie Stadium in 2012.
JJ is OK
Jordan Johnson has made the most of his opportunity to start at running back for the Bulls. The junior running back rushed for a career-high 147 yards and two touchdowns against the Ohio in his first career start on October 24. He followed that up by rushing for 123 yards and two more scores at Miami (OH) last Thursday.
He is just the second running back in UB's FBS era to rush for 100 yards in each of his first two starts - joining teammate Anthone Taylor.
Johnson has started the last three games and averaged 110 yards and scored five touchdowns in those three starts. He now leads the team in rushing with 635 yards and has scored eight touchdowns. He is averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
The Bulls have a good one-two punch at running back with Anthone Taylor (#1) and Jordan Johnson (#2). Taylor has rushed for 613 yards on 136 carries. Johnson has been even better with 635 yards on 137 carries. It marks the first time in UB's FBS era that it has had two running backs rush for over 600 yards in the same season.
The Bulls have dominated the time of possession this season. The Bulls have won the time of possession battle in all but one game on the year. In their last two wins, the Bulls were +10:28 against Miami (OH) and +7:42 against Kent State. In their five wins this season, the Bulls have held the ball an average of six minutes longer than their opponents.
None the Weiser
Matt Weiser has been named to the John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List. Given annually to the most outstanding collegiate tight end, the award recipient is selected by vote of the John Mackey Award Selection Committee.
Weiser is having a breakout season for the Bulls. The Womelsdorf, PA native has 45 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns on the year. He had 29 catches over his first three seasons combined. Weiser had the best game by a tight end in school history against Nevada on September 26 with a career-high 10 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown. It was the most receptions and receiving yards by a tight end in school history. He was named the John Mackey Award Tight End of the Week following the game.
Weiser is the just the second UB tight end ever named to the John Mackey Award Watch List. Chad Bartoszek was named to the watch list in 2002. Weiser has tied Bartoszek for the Bulls FBS-era record for catches by a tight end with 45.
Leipold in Rare Company
With five wins on the season head coach Lance Leipold is the first UB head coach to win five games in his first season since Bob Deming who went 6-3 in 1969.
UB Football Head Coach First Season Records
Lance Leipold (2015) 5-4
Jeff Quinn (2010) 2-10
Turner Gill (2006) 2-10
Jim Hofher (2001) 3-8
Craig Cirbus (1995) 3-8
Jim Ward (1992) 4-6
Sam Sanders (1990) 2-8
Bill Dando (1977) 0-3-1
Bob Deming (1969) 6-3
Doc Urich (1966) 5-5
Dick Offenhamer (1955) 4-4-1
In addition, of the 16 head coaches in their first season in 2015, Leipold is one of nine with five or more wins.
Putting the D in TD
The Bulls lead the nation in defensive touchdowns with six. UB has four pick sixes and two fumble returns for touchdowns on the season. All six of Buffalo's defensive scores have come from six different players.
Berry Good Linebacker
Brandon Berry began his career at UB as a safety. Due to injuries he has been moved to linebacker in 2015 and that move has paid dividends. The junior Detroit native leads the Bulls and ranks fifth in the MAC with 80 tackles. Earlier this season, he had double-digit tackles in five straight games to become just the second UB player to accomplish the feat in the Bulls FBS era (since 1999). J.J. Gibson did it in 2001.
Not Your Average Joe
Senior quarterback Joe Licata has thrown 12 touchdown passes on the season. He is completing 64 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 72. He also ranks second in career passing yardage with 8,582. He is 166 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.
I'll Take That
The UB defense had four interceptions in the win over Ohio. It was the first time the Bulls had four interceptions in a game since having four against Western Michigan in 2012.
The team's 10 interceptions are eight more than the Bulls had all of last season.
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 16 pass breakups. He had a 39-yard pick six against Florida Atlantic on September 19. The junior from Bethlehem, PA ranks third in the nation in passes defended, averaging 2.0 per game and has already set a new school record for single-season passes defended.
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 ranks second on the team in receiving with 40 catches for 553 yards and six 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.
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 as true freshmen.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.