Sep 06, 2017
Buffalo (0-1, 0-0 MAC) at Army (1-0)
September 9, 2017
Michie Stadium - 12:00 pm
Bulls on the Air
Buffalo - ESPN 1520
Rochester - Fox Sports 1280
• Buffalo leads the all-time series vs. Army West Point, 3-2.
• The Bulls erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Army West Point in overtime, 23-20, in 2016 at UB Stadium.
• UB starting quarterback Tyree Jackson's first win as a starter came against Army West Point last season.
• This will be the Bulls' fourth trip to West Point. Buffalo is 1-2 all time at Army, with its win coming in 2001, 26-19.
• Khalil Hodge is the reigning MAC East Player of the Week after recording a career-high 20 tackles at Minnesota in the opener.
• Army head coach Jeff Monken was on the Buffalo coaching staff from 1992-94.
• Anthony Johnson had 11 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown in his first career game for the Bulls at Minnesota last week. His 11 catches were two shy of the single-game school record.
• Buffalo is predicted to finish fifth in Mid-American Conference East Division.
• Army West Point is the only service academy Buffalo has ever played.
• Since 2010, the Bulls are just 1-10 in non-conference road games, with their win coming at Florida Atlantic in 2015.
Bulls Hit the Road to Face Army West Point
The University at Buffalo football team travels to Army West Point on Saturday afternoon for its second straight road game to start the season.
The Bulls are coming off a hard-fought 17-7 loss at Minnesota in the opener last Thursday. The Bulls were led by Anthony Johnson who had 11 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Army West Point is coming off a 64-6 win over Fordham in the opener. The Black Knights rushed for 513 yards in the game, led by quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw who rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns on only nine carries.
Buffalo leads the all-time series, 3-2. The Bulls won the last meeting, 23-20, in overtime at UB Stadium last season.
Improved Defense Fairs Well Against Minnesota
Buffalo gave up only 17 points to Minnesota in the opener. It was the fewest points ever allowed by a UB team against a Power 5 opponent. After the Gophers scored 14 points in the first quarter, they only scored three the rest of the game. In addition, Buffalo held Minnesota to just 6-of-18 on third down. This is a big improvement for a team that allowed over 32 points per game last season.
Khalil Hodge (20), Tim Roberts (13), Justin Brandon (7) Jordan Collier (7) and Chuck Harris (5) all posted career highs in tackles in the game.
Khalil Hodge picked up where he left off last season in the season opener against Minnesota. The junior linebacker recorded a career-high 20 tackles against the Gophers. It was the most tackles in a game by a UB player since Davonte Shannon had 20 against Army in 2008.
Hodge was named the MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week on Monday.
Last season, Hodge had 123 tackles – the eight-most in school history for a single season. He ranked seventh in the nation, averaging 10.25 tackles per game. Hodge was an All-MAC Second Team selection in 2016.
What a Debut!
It was quite a debut for Anthony Johnson as the junior wide receiver, playing in his first game for the Bulls, had 11 receptions for 140 yards and a touchdown against Minnesota in the season opener. Johnson's 11 catches were two shy of the single-game school record. He had 8 catches for 115 yards in the first half alone. In the second quarter, Johnson had a 50-yard reception and followed with 16-yard touchdown reception on the very next play. Four of his 11 catches in the game went for more than 10 yards.
Johnson, who redshirted last season after transfering from Iowa Western Community College, and UB quarterback Tyree Jackson made an instant connection against the Gophers as 11 of Jackson's 22 completions in the game went to Johnson.
New Receivers Stepping Up
Buffalo graduated its top two wide receivers from a season ago and top three pass catchers overall - so a big question heading into 2017 was who was going to step up.
That question was quickly answered with the play of Anthony Johnson who had 11 catches for 140 yards at Minnesota. Senior Jacob Martinez, who missed most of last season with an injury, had four catches in the opener. Antonio Nunn, like Johnson, was playing in his first career game and had two catches for 23 yards.
With the graduation of All-MAC running back Jordan Johnson, the Bulls will have a new starter in the backfield this season. Whomever the primary ball-carrier is, they will have big shoes to fill as the Bulls have featured 1,000-yard running backs in six of the last 10 seasons, including three of their last four. Prior to 2007, UB had only three 1,000-yard rushers in the history of the program.
2007 James Starks - 1,103
2008 James Starks - 1,333
2011 Branden Oliver - 1,395
2013 Branden Oliver - 1,535
2014 Anthone Taylor - 1,403
2016 Jordan Johnson - 1,040
Tyree Jackson enters the 2017 season as Buffalo's starting quarterback after a strong freshman campaign in which he started eight games. The sophomore signal-caller finished the season 165-for-311 for 1,772 yards, nine touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was the Bulls' second leading rusher, gaining 472 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. He threw for 302 yards against Ohio and 306 yards against Ball State last season to become the first freshman quarterback in school history to throw for 300 yards in a game.
In the opener against Minnesota, Jackson wen 22-for-42 for 211 yards and a touchdown.
O'Hagan Named to Rimington Trophy Watch List
James O'Hagan was named to the Rimington Trophy Watch List. The award is giving annually to the nation's top center. This is the second straight year UB's junior center has been named to the watch list.
O'Hagan is coming off the best season of his career. He started all 12 games of 2016 and was named All-MAC Third Team. O'Hagan has been the anchor of the Bulls' offensive over the past two season, starting all 24 games.
Five Bulls Named to Athlon Preseason All-MAC Team
Five members of the University at Buffalo football team have been named to the Athlon Sports 2017 Preseason All-MAC team. James O'Hagan, Khalil Hodge were named to the second team, while Brandon Manosalvas, Chris Ford and Jarrett Franklin were named to the fourth team.
O'Hagan is coming off the best season of his career. He started all 12 games at center in 2016 and was named All-MAC Third Team. O'Hagan has been the anchor of the Bulls' offensive over the past two season, starting all 24 games.
Hodge, a middle linebacker, is coming off a fine debut season with the Bulls – earning All-MAC second-team honors. In 2016, he led Buffalo with 123 tackles, the eighth most in school history for a single season and second most by a player in UB's FBS era. He posted double-digit tackles in seven games and his 10.3 tackles per game average ranked eighth nationally.
Manosalvas started all 12 games at guard last season. He has helped solidify the left side of the offensive line.
Ford has developed into one of the top nose tackles in the Mid-American Conference. The UB senior had 30 tackles, included three tackles for loss in 2016.
Franklin is coming off the best season of his career. The senior linebacker ranked third on the team in tackles with a career-best 75 in 2016. He had five or more tackles in eight games last year.
Strength at Linebacker
An area of strength for the defense in 2017 should be the linebacker corps. The Bulls return all three starting linebackers from a season ago who were also the team's top three leading tacklers.
Middle linebacker Khalil Hodge earned All-MAC Second Team honors last year after recording 123 tackles, including seven tackles for loss. It was the eighth best single-season tackle total in school history.
Ishmael Hargrove also amassed over 100 tackles, finishing with 103 on the year. The senior outside linebacker added three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries on the season.
Senior Jarrett Franklin had 75 tackles in 2016 for the best season of his career.
Junior Jordan Collier will also be in the mix at outside linebacker after totalling 18 tackles, including two tackles for loss last year.
New Faces at Running Back
The graduation of All-MAC running back Jordan Johnson following the 2016 season means the Bulls will feature a new starting running back in 2017.
The leading candidate for the starting job is Johnathan Hawkins. The junior back is the Bulls' top returning rusher and receiver from a season ago. He rushed for 338 yards and a touchdown and added 21 receptions for 119 yards and a score in 2017.
Sophomore Emmanual Reed will see an extended role after appearing in three games and rushing for 33 yards last season.
Also adding depth at running will be Kameron Pickett and Theo Anderson - a pair of backs that redshirted last season as true freshmen.
For the second straight season, the Bulls will play every game on artificial turf. Buffalo is one of 18 teams that will play all its games on artificial turf this season. Ohio State, Washington State, Kansas State, Wyoming, Utah State, Air Force, UNLV, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, Miami (Ohio), Western Kentucky, Charlotte, UT-San Antonio, Arkansas State, Idaho and Coastal Carolina will also play all of its games on turf.
Bulls Add Grad Transfer from Cal
Defensive end Kennedy Emesibe has joined the team as a graduate transfer. Emesibe joined the Bulls after spending three seasons with the Cal Bears. Emesibe was a reserve defensive end for the Bears after a standout high school career in which he was ranked the 35th best defensive end in the nation his senior season.
Team Captains Named
Five players were voted team captains for the 2017 season. Players voted senior wide receiver Jamarl Eiland, senior linebacker Jarrett Franklin, senior defensive end Demone Harris, junior linebacker Khalil Hodge and junior center James O'Hagan were voted captains for the upcoming season.
It's All Relative
The UB football team features a pair of players related to two of the top five picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Junior wide receiver Anthony Johnson is the cousin of top pick Jadeveon Clowney. Junior linebacker Ledarius Mack is the younger brother of former UB All-American and fifth pick Khalil Mack.
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. The Bulls can also be heard on 1280 AM in Rochester.
Calling all the play-by-play action of Bulls football for his 18th year, and 10th consecutive, will be Paul Peck. Scott Wilson will serve as analyst after previously serving as sideline reporter. Brad Riter also returns as game host.
Again this season, the UB Football postgame show will take place at Santora's on Millersport with host Bob Gaughan.
Peck will host the UB Football Insider with Lance Leipold on Monday nights at 5:30 pm. The show air on ESPN 1520 and be broadcast live from the Santora's Transit Road location.