Back in February the name Branden Oliver was the first thing Buffalo fans thought of when the topic of this years running game came up. Most believed he was destined to be second, maybe third among UB's incoming backs. But the short, shify, and stocky Oliver outworked his competition to emerge as the teams first feature back since the days of James Starks.
While he came out last season as the starter problems on the line, and with ball handling, led to a committee backfield. In the end he put up an underwhelming 298 yards on the year. He spent the off season working on getting a bit faster and his work, plus a somewhat improved offensive lines has paid dividends.
So far Oliver has faced some of the better groud defenses that he will see this season. There are two more big challenges ahead over the next two weeks.
Temple and Ohio are among the favorites to take the East division and are doing it, so far, by shutting down their opponents on the ground. Aside from UConn they bring the best rushing defense that the Bulls will face this season.
While Ohio may have fed off a soft schedule the Owls pulled their weight against Toledo, Penn State, and Maryland all pretty respectable teams.
Oliver has already reached the top ten in career one hundred yard games. The three he notched to start off the season ties him for 10th along with six other Bulls. It's also tied him for ninth for single season one hundred yard games.
It's hard to imagine he can keep up the pace set during the first three weeks but if he does the sophomore will already be among some of the more distinguished backs in Buffalo football history.
All the numbers where he is on pace to reach, or come close to the top ten are after the Jump
|1. Anthony Swan : 1994-97||812|
|2. James Starks : 2006-08||698|
|3. Alan Bell : 1989-92||682|
|4. Cliff Scott : 1991-94||515|
|5. O.D. Underwood : 1986-87||438|
|10. Josh Roth : 1996-99||330|
|NR. Oliver||220||456 (5)
|1. James Starks : 2006-08||3140|
|2. Anthony Swan : 1994-97||3103|
|3. Alan Bell : 1989-92||3022|
|4. O.D. Underwood : 1986-87||2062|
|5. Lee Jones : 1965-67||1570|
|10. Dave Dawson : 2002-05||1402|
|NR. Oliver||836||1836 (5)
|Single Season TD's||Total||Pace|
|1. Lee Jones 1966||16|
|James Starks 2008||16|
|3. O.D. Underwood 1986||15|
|10. Four Tied At||9|
|NR: Oliver||5||15 (3)
|Single Season Attempts||Total||Pace|
|1. James Starks 2008||272|
|2. James Starks 2007||251|
|10. Alan Bell 1992||205|
|NR: Branden Oliver||118||354 (1)
|Single Season Yards||Total||Pace|
|1. James Starks 2008||1333|
|2. O.D. Underwood 1986||1189|
|10. Alan Bell 1992||859|
|NR: Brandon Oliver||500||1500 (1)