Bulls Host Ohio in Regular Season Finale Looking to Become Bowl Eligible

Chris Ford

               

Buffalo (5-6, 3-4 MAC) vs. Ohio (8-3, 5-2 MAC)
November 24, 2017
UB
Stadium - 1:00 pm

Bulls on the Air

Radio

Buffalo - ESPN 1520
Rochester - Fox Sports 1280

Television

CBS Sports Network

Storylines

• A win over Ohio would make the Bulls bowl eligible for the third time in school history. Buffalo went to bowl games in 2008 and 2013.

• Buffalo trails the all-time series with Ohio, 14-9. The Bobcats hold an 11-7 series edge since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1999.

• This has been a series dominated by the home team. Since joining the MAC, the Bulls have a 6-2 record against the Bobcats at UB Stadium. Ohio holds a 9-1 edge against the Bulls at Peden Stadium.

Khalil Hodge, who already holds the FBS-era record for single-season tackles with 141, is five tackles shy of passing Pete Conley (1995) for second overall in school history. The school record of 161 tackles is held by Craig Guest (1995).

• The Bulls are looking to finish the regular season with three straight wins for the first time since joining the FBS ranks in 1999.

• With 12 touchdown receptions on the season, Anthony Johnson is one touchdown catch shy of the single-season school record of 13 held by Naaman Roosevelt (2008).

• Buffalo's six losses this season are by a total of only 29 points. Their four MAC losses are by a total of only 15 points.

• The Bulls have scored 106 first-quarter points this season and have scored first-quarter points in 10 of the 11 games. Last season, UB scored 10 first-quarter points all year.

• In his three games since returning from injury, Tyree Jackson has thrown for 1,069 yards and seven touchdowns while completing 64% of his passes.
 
Bulls Host Ohio in Regular Season Finale Looking to Become Bowl Eligible
The University at Buffalo football team will host Ohio in the regular-season finale at UB Stadium on Friday afternoon.       

The Bulls are 5-6 overall and 3-4 in the MAC and are coming off a 40-24 win at Ball State last Thursday night. Anthony Johnson had 153 yards receiving and a career-best four touchdowns to lead the Bulls. 

Ohio is 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the MAC and is coming off a 37-34 loss at Akron last Tuesday night. The Bobcats are led by quarterback Nathan Rourke who has thrown for 14 touchdowns and rushed for 19 more.

Ohio leads the all-time series, 14-9. The Bobcats won the last meeting, 34-10, at Peden Stadium last season.

T3
Tyree Jackson returned against Akron on Oct. 28 after missing four games due to injury  and has been putting up career numbers since.

Last week at Ball State, Jackson threw for 350 yards and a career-best four touchdowns. It was his third straight 300+ yard passing game, making him the first quarterback in school history to throw for 300 yards in three straight games.

Against Bowling Green, Jackson had the best game of his career. The sophomore signal-caller finished 23-of-37 for a career-best 406 yards and three touchdowns. He became just the fifth quarterback in the Bulls' FBS era (since 1999) to throw for 400 yards in a game. 

Against Akron, Jackson went 34-for-50 for 313 yards. The 34 completions were not only a career high, but were two shy of the single-game school record.

Over the last three games since returning from the injury, Jackson has averaged 356 yards passing per game.

Passing the Test
    Buffalo has 3,196 passing yards on the season. It is just the fourth team in school history to throw for 3,000 yards in a single campaign. The Bulls are 130 yards shy of the single-season record of 3,326 passing yards set in 2008 over 14 games.

AJ Can Play
Anthony Johnson isn't even through his first season with the Bulls and he is already being mentioned in the same breath as some of UB's all-time greats. Johnson leads the Bulls with 70 catches for 1,201 yards and 12 touchdowns. His yardage total leads the MAC and ranks third in the nation.

At Ball State last week, Johnson had seven catches for 153 yards and four touchdowns. His four TD grabs tied a school record and tied for third in MAC history.

Johnson is the first player in school history with five games of 140+ receiving yards in a single-season.

He has had two 11-catch games on the season. He is just the second player in school history with multiple games of 11+ catches. Drew Haddad (1996-99) had three games with 11+ catches over his four-year career.

Johnson became just the fourth player in school history to reach the 1,000-yard plateau and currently ranks second in school history in single-season receiving yards with 1,201.
 
Running of the Bulls
Getting the running game going is key to the success of the Bulls. Buffalo rushed for over 175 yards in each of its five wins, Colgate (302), FAU (204), Kent State (235), Bowling Green (176) and Ball State (215). The Bulls are 0-6 in games they rush for less 175 yards.

Hodge Ball
Khalil Hodge leads the MAC and ranks second in the nation in tackles, averaging 12.8 tackles per game. He has 38 more tackles than the player ranked second in the MAC. Hodge set the FBS-era record for single-season tackles.

The junior linebacker already has four games with over 17 tackles - 20 vs. Minnesota, 17 vs. FAU, 18 vs. Western Michigan and 19 vs. Northern Illinois.  

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.

Twice this season, Hodge has been named the MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week - on Sept. 4 and Oct. 16.

QB Shuffle
Injuries have forced head coach Lance Leipold to start three different quarterbacks this season.

Tyree Jackson was back under center at Akron after starting the first four games of the season. He has thrown for 1,802 yards and 10 touchdowns and rushed for 211 yards and four more scores this season.

Drew Anderson made three starts before getting hurt during the Northern Illinois game. He threw for 1,039 yards and 10 touchdowns during his time under center.

True freshman Kyle Vantrease made his first career start at Miami (OH) on Oct. 21, becoming the first true freshman to start at quarterback for the Bulls since Drew Willy in 2005. Vantrease went 12-for-41 for 202 yards with two touchdowns and an interception against the RedHawks.

You have to go back to 2004 for the last time UB started three different quarterbacks in a single season. P.J. Piskorik (5 games), Randall Secky (4 games) and Chris Moore (2 games) all started for the Bulls in 2004.

Even though they used three different quarterbacks, the Bulls lead the MAC in passing offense, averaging 290.5 yards per game. 

Big Play Bulls
Through 11 games, the Bulls have recorded 19 plays of 45 or more yards. This is a stark difference from a season ago when Buffalo had only five plays of 45+ yards all year.

What's more, the plays have been coming from a number of different players. The 19 45+-yard plays have come from 10 different players.        

Junior wide receiver Anthony Johnson has played a major role in this as he has made a big play in six different games. He had a 50-yard catch at Minnesota, a 52-yard catch at Army, a 46-yard grab against Colgate, a 53-yard catch against Western Michigan, a 47-yard reception against Northern Illinois, a 69-yard TD reception against Bowling Green and a 56-yard touchdown grab at Ball State.

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 in all but one game so far. The Bulls have scored a total of 106 points in the first quarter of games this season.

The Bulls are averaging 9.6 points in the first quarter of games this year. They have posted first-quarter points in 10 of 11 games this season and have scored at least 14 points in the first quarter in four games. 

Against Bowling Green, UB scored 21 points in the first quarter, the most it scored in the first quarter of a game since scoring 21 at Temple in 2007. 

Charles in Charge
Chuck Harris is making the most of his first season as a starter. The junior defensive end ranks third on the team in tackles with 66. He has easily surpassed his season total of 18 tackles over 12 games in 2016.

Harris has posted at least five tackles in 9 of 11 games this season. He had a career-high 13 tackles at Ball State last week and was named the MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week on Monday. He has two sacks and four tackles for loss over the last two games.

Offensive Line Named to Joe Moore Award Mid-Season Watch List
Buffalo's offensive line has been impressive all season and has gotten better as the year has progressed. The Bulls have run 370 pass plays on the season and have only allowed 15 sacks - second fewest in the MAC.

The o-line was one of 16 teams named to the Joe Moore Award Mid-Season Watch List. It's an award given to the nation's best offensive line unit. In addition, PFF College Football lists UB center James O'Hagan as the nation's top center when it comes not allowing a quarterback pressure.

Reed All About It
Emmanuel Reed is having a breakout season for the Bulls. The sophomore running  back has posted 100-yard rushing games five times this season. He rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown against Colgate; 107 yards against Florida Atlantic ,144 yards at Kent State, 116 yards at Akron and 123 yards at Ball State.

He is he first UB running back since Branden Oliver in 2013 to have five 100-yard rushing games in the same season.

Reed was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Offensive Player of the Week on Monday for his performance against Kent State.

 

Oh, What A Night
Buffalo's game vs. Western Michigan will go down as one of the most memorable games in UB football history. The Broncos defeated the Bulls, 71-68, in seven overtimes.

Here are a few numbers from that record-setting night.
    • Total elapsed time: 4:31   
    • The 139 combined points were the most in FBS history
    • The score was 40-37 after regulation ended and would have been the 7th-highest-scoring game in the nation, just on overtime points alone.
    • 19 touchdowns scored by both teams
    • 10 lead changes, counting overtime
    • Buffalo's 9 TDs were the most in school history
    • 683 total yards of offense were the most in school history
    • UB had four pass plays of 53 yards or longer
    • Buffalo's 68 points were the most in NCAA history by a losing team.

100 x 3
For the first time in school history the Bulls had three different players go over 100 yards receiving in the same game when they played Western Michigan on Oct. 7. Anthony Johnson had 11 catches for 195 yards and two touchdowns; Kamathi Holsey had six receptions for 143 yards and a score and K.J. Osborn had seven catches for 138 yards and three touchdowns.

Roberts Named Semifinalist for Campbell Trophy
Senior safety Tim Roberts has been named a semifinalist for the 2017 William V. Campbell Trophy, the National Football Foundation announced on Sept. 27. Considered by many to be the "Academic Heisman," the Campbell Trophy recognizes an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

Roberts is a social science interdisciplinary major with a 3.68 grade point average. A second-year starter for the Bulls, he ranks sixth on the team in tackles with 52, including a tackle for loss. For his career, Roberts has 116 tackles and three interceptions.

Of the 181 semifinalists, Roberts is one of 71 from the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and one of eight from the Mid-American Conference.

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. 

Mitch Perfect
Kicker Adam Mitcheson was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Special Teams Player of the Week after a solid performance in Buffalo's win over Florida Atlantic.
 
Mitcheson made both of his field goal attempts in the victory. The junior kicker made a 23-yarder as time expired in the first half to tie the game at 17. He then made a clutch 42-yard field goal in the fourth quarter. His season-long field goal extended the UB lead to 27-17 with 10:54 left in the game. Mitcheson was also a perfect 4-for-4 on extra points in the game.
 
Fake News
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 hosts 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.
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