Buffalo (5-5, 3-3 MAC) at Akron (5-5, 3-3 MAC)
November 21, 2015
InfoCision Stadium - 3:30 pm
Radio in Buffalo - 1520-AM WWKB
Radio in Rochester - 1280-AM WHTK
• At 5-5, the Bulls have a .500 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.
• Akron leads the all-time series, 9-5. However, the Bulls have won five of the last six meetings.
• Joe Licata is 64 yards shy of becoming the 17th quarterback in Mid-American Conference history to throw for 9,000 yards.
• The Bulls lead the nation with seven 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.
• UB's two largest point totals against MAC opponents have come against Akron (55 in 2014 and 51 in 2011).
• Jordan Johnson has scored six touchdowns over the last four games.
• Tyler Grassman is 140 punting yards shy of 10,000 for his career. He would become just the second punter in school history to punt for 10,000 yards, joining school record holder Ben Woods (2004-07) who punted for 11,053.
• Nick Gilbo is five tackles shy of 100 for the season. The last UB player with 100 tackles in a season was Khalil Mack in 2013 who finished with exactly 100.
• The last time UB played at InfoCision Stadium (2010), current UB associate head coach Rob Ianello was the Zips head coach.
• A win at Akron would be UB's fourth road win of the season - the most ever as an FBS program.
Bulls Travel to Akron for Key MAC Battle
The Bulls will travel to Akron on Saturday for a key Mid-American Conference matchup with the winner becoming bowl eligible.
The Bulls are 5-5 overall, 3-3 in the MAC and are coming off a 41-30 loss to Northern Illinois last Wednesday. Joe Licata threw for 354 yards and two touchdowns to leads UB.
Akron is 5-5 overall, 3-3 in the MAC and is coming off a 37-28 win over Miami (OH) on Saturday. The Zips are led by Conor Hundley who has rushed for 806 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.
Akron leads the all-time series, 9-5. The Bulls won the last meeting, 55-24, at UB Stadium last season.
This is 40
For the first time in seven years, the Bulls have three receivers with at least 40 catches on the season. Matt Weiser has 53; Ron Willougby has 45 and Marcus McGill has 40. The last time the Bulls had three receivers with 40 catches in a season was 2008 when Naaman Roosevelt had 108; James Starks had 52 and Ernest Jackson had 45.
Nick of Time
Former walk on Nick Gilbo is having a standout season at linebacker for the Bulls. Gilbo leads the Bulls with 95 tackles, just five shy of becoming the first UB player since Khalil Mack in 2013 to have 100 tackles in a season. He ranks fifth in the MAC in tackles. The Port Henry, NY native had a career-high 19 tackles against Northern Illinois on Nov. 11. It was the most tackles in a game by a UB player since Davonte Shannon had 20 tackles against Army in 2008.
Putting the D in TD
The Bulls lead the nation in defensive touchdowns with seven. UB has five pick sixes and two fumble returns for touchdowns on the season. All seven of Buffalo's defensive scores have come from seven different players.
None the Weiser
Senior tight end Matt Weiser is having a breakout season for the Bulls. The Womelsdorf, PA native has 53 catches for 514 yards and two touchdowns on the year. It's the most catches by a tight end in school history. 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.
Not Your Average Joe
Senior quarterback Joe Licata broke the school record for career passing yards last week against Northern Illinois. He has now thrown for 8,936 yards and also has a school-record 74 touchdown passes in his career.
Licata has entered the top 10 in MAC history in career touchdown passes.
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) on October 29.
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.
Over the last four games, Johnson has averaged 99 yards and scored six touchdowns. He now leads the team in rushing with 701 yards and has scored eight touchdowns. He is averaging 4.9 yards per carry.
One Two Punch
The Bulls have a good one-two punch at running back with Anthone Taylor (#1) and Jordan Johnson (#2). Taylor has rushed for 646 yards on 148 carries. Johnson has been even better with 701 yards on 143 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.
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
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 ranks second and ranks sixth in the MAC with 91 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.
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 11 interceptions are nine 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 17 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 1.9 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 45 catches for 647 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 and 2015 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.