Buffalo (1-1, 0-0 MAC)
8 p.m. ET, Friday, Sept. 12
Coming off a successful campaign and hungry for more, the Buffalo Bulls were eagerly looking forward to Friday, Sept. 12. That is when highly-touted Baylor was scheduled to come to town. Now that the time has come, it may be occurring to some that the Bulls have their work cut out for them. The same might be said of the sideline “chain gang,” because this matchup brings together two teams capable of moving the football.
The Bears bring a No. 8 ranking to town and once again have designs on success at the national level.
Through two games, they have been nothing short of dominant – tallying 115 points while giving up six a pair of field goals to Northwestern State last week.
Northwestern State, which fell 70-6, is an FCS school. Baylor’s first victim, Southern Methodist University, was blanked by Baylor 45-0 and then got blasted by North Texas, 43-6, in Week Two.
Suffice it to say, the Bears have yet to be really tested. Certainly, there are some dates down the schedule that may prove – or disprove – the Bears worth. The question for this week is, can Buffalo test Baylor?
As usual, the feature a warp speed offense that not only averages 87.5 plays per game so far, it has a 63-18 advantage in first downs. The Bears have been averaging 7.4 yards per play, compared to 2.2 yards per play for opponents.
Baylor is currently ranked sixth nationally in passing yards (384 ypg) . It is 20th in rushing yards and fourth in points (57.5). Such accomplishments, albeit against some weaker competition, came with backup quarterback Seth Russell filling in for 2013 Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year Bryce Petty (back). All Russell did last week is complete 16 of 25 for the most passing yards in a single half in school history and third most in a game as the Bears built a 49-3 halftime lead.
Several top receivers have also been nursing injuries.
Of course, that means opportunities for somebody, and freshman KD Cannon has taken advantage. The speedy Cannon scored on pass plays of 50, 81 and 42 yards.
With an offensive juggernaut like Baylor, targets are plentiful.
So are productive runners. Johnny Jefferson 20/107) and Silas Nacita (14/104) each eclipsed 100 yards last week.
Having yet to surrender a touchdown, the Bears defense has obviously acquitted itself very well. Can the Bulls put it to the test.
Quarterback Joe Licata cracked the national top 10 in passing this week after his performance in a valiant comeback attempt on the road against Army.
The junior completed 35 of 50 for 401 yards with five TDs and three interceptions in a 47-39 loss to the Black Knights. All but three of the UB points came in the second half.
A total of 11 UB players caught passes in the game. Five had at least five receptions. Marcus McGill led the way with a career-high seven catches for 128 yards and two scores.
Anthone Taylor led the rushing attack with 16 rushes for 79 yards, while Devin Campbell chipped in 41 yards on six carries.
Over on defense, there have to be some concerns about getting more stops. Buffalo comes into the weekend ranked 113th nationally in points allowed (37.5 ppg).
Adam Redden leads the Bulls with 16 total tackles (12 solo), 3.5 TFL and 2.0 sacks). Lee Scinner has registered 15 stops and J. Franklin is also in double digits with 11.
- Baylor won last year’s meeting, 70-13.
-- The Bulls have won eight straight games at UB Stadium, dating back to 2012. Licata was at quarterback for each of the wins.
-- Eighth-ranked Baylor is the highest-ranked opponent to everyh play at UB. Stadium. It’s the second visit to the area for Baylor. The Bears posted a 34-21 win back in 2007.
-- When the Bulls went over 500 yards of offense against Army, it was the 11th time as an FBS program and seventh time in the (head coach Jeff) Quinn era.