Buffalo (1-2, 0-0 MAC) vs. Florida Atlantic (1-2, 0-0 C-USA)
September 23, 2017
UB Stadium - 7:00 pm
Buffalo - ESPN 1520
Rochester - Fox Sports 1280
• Buffalo won the only other meeting, 33-15, at Florida Atlantic in 2015.
• Through three games, the Bulls have produced six plays of 45 yards or more. Buffalo had only five plays of 45+ yards all of last season.
• Anthony Johnson has had a catch of at least 46 yards in each of the first three games.
• The Bulls have scored on their opening drive in each of the last two games. UB scored on its opening drive only once all of last season (vs. Ball State).
• Against Colgate, Buffalo scored 20 points in the first quarter. It was the most points scored in the first quarter of a game since scoring 21 at Temple in 2007.
• Buffalo ranks first in the MAC and fourth in the nation in pass defense, allowing 104 yards per game. The Bulls have only allowed one passing touchdown on the season.
• Saturday's game will feature two of the better pass defenses in the country. Buffalo ranks fourth (104.0) and FAU ranks 11th (124.3) in the nation in passing yards allowed per game.
• The last former NFL head coach to visit UB Stadium was Dave Wannstedt with Pittsburgh in 2009.
• Buffalo Director of Player Personnel Roc Bellantoni was the defensive coordinator at Florida Atlantic from 2014-16.
Bulls Host FAU in Final Non-Conference Tilt
The University at Buffalo football team will close out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a Saturday night game against FAU.
The Bulls are coming off a 33-10 win over Colgate last Saturday. Sophomore running back Emmanuel Reed rushed for a career-high 120 yards and scored his first career touchdown in the win.
Florida Atlantic is 1-2 on the year and is coming off a 45-0 win over Bethune-Cookman on Saturday. The Owls are led by wide receiver DeAndre McNeal who has 11 receptions for 261 yards and two touchdowns on the season.
Buffalo leads the all-time series, 1-0. The Bulls won the last meeting, 33-15, at FAU Stadium in 2015.
Off to a Good Start
A season ago, the Bulls scored a total of 10 points in the first quarter of games. This year, Buffalo has gotten off to much better starts, scoring in the first quarter of every game so far. Against both Army and Colgate, the Bulls scored on their opening possession – something they did only once last year. Against Colgate, UB scored 20 points in the first quarter, the most it scored in the first quarter of a game since scoring 21 at Temple in 2007. Through three games, the Bulls have scored 30 points in first quarter.
Reed All About It
Emmanuel Reed had a breakout performance against Colgate with a career-high 120 yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 carries. The sophomore running back saw the most extensive action of his career against the Raiders and took advantage. He scored his first career touchdown on a 10-yard dash late in the first quarter. Prior to the Colgate game, Reed had 14 carries for 52 career yards.
Big Play Bulls
Through three games, the Bulls have recorded six plays of 45 or more yards, including five in the last two games. This is a stark difference from a season ago when Buffalo had only five plays of 45+ yards all season.
Junior wide receiver Anthony Johnson has played a major role in this as he has made a big play in all three games. He had a 50-yard catch at Minnesota, a 52-yard catch at Army and a 46-yard grab against Army.
Running of the Bulls
Buffalo ran the ball 58 times for 302 yards in its win over Colgate. The 58 rush attempts tied for the second most in a game in the Bulls' FBS era (since 1999). UB also rushed the ball 58 times in a win at Bowling Green in 2010. The FBS-era record for most carries in a game is 62 in a 26-17 win against Ohio in 2003.
He Can Run Too
Against Army, Tyree Jackson ripped of a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. It was not only the longest run of his career, it was the longest run by a UB quarterback in the Bulls' FBS era (since 1999). The previous long run by a Buffalo quarterback was a 68-yard touchdown dash by Chazz Anderson at Tennessee in 2011. Prior to that, Cliff Scott had a 70-yard touchdown run against Duquesne in 1991.
Jackson is the Bulls' leading rusher with 189 yards on the season. He is averaging 6.5 yards per carry and has two rushing touchdowns on the year.
Khalil Hodge leads the MAC and ranks fourth in the nation in tackles, averaging 12 tackles per game.
In the season opener against Minnesota, the junior linebacker recorded a career-high 20 tackles. 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 Sept. 4.
He followed up that performance with an 11-tackle game at Army.
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.
Charles in Charge
Chuck Harris is making the most of his first season as a starter. The junior defensive end ranks fourth on the team in tackles with 18. He has already tied his season total in tackles in 12 games in 2016.
Harris has posted at least five tackles in all three games this season. He had a career-high eight tackles at Army on Sept. 9. Of his 18 tackles, 14 are solo - tying him for the team lead.
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 eight 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 transferring 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.
At Army, Johnson had three grabs for 82 yards, including a 52-yard reception on the fourth play of the game.
Johnson has had a catch of at least 46 yards in each of the three games this season.
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. Johnson is the Bulls' top receiver with 14 receptions for 222 yards.
Antonio Nunn, like Johnson, is in his first season with the Bulls after redshirting as a freshman last year. Nunn has three catches for 71 yards, including a 48-yard touchdown on the season.
Senior Jacob Martinez, who missed most of last season with an injury, had four catches in the opener.
Tyree Jackson is off to a solid start at quarterback this season. The sophomore signal-caller has thrown for 588 yards and three touchdowns and has rushed for 189 yards and two more scores.
Jackson is building on his strong freshman campaign in which he started eight games. He finished last 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.
A History of Running Backs
With the graduation of All-MAC running back Jordan Johnson, the Bulls have a new starter in the backfield this season in Johnathan Hawkins. The junior ball carrier has 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.
Year Player, Yards
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
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.
Strength at Linebacker
An area of strength for the defense again in 2017 is 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.