ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 1: Branden Oliver #32 of the Buffalo Bulls scores a second quarter touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Even the most ardent Buffalo fans needed blue tinted glasses to see the possibility of a win this weekend but UB did their best to make fans believe, if only for a half.
Georgia, the sixth ranked team in the country, had a far more difficult time slowing Buffalo's offense than anyone anticipated. UB went into half time a missed extra point and a few inches away from a 24-21 game. When you play a team of Georgia's caliber those little mistakes add up.
With georgia up 7-0 Buffalo put together a long methodical drive keyed mostly off of efficient passes from Alex Zordich. Eventually Zordich hit Alex Neutz at the pylon and Neutz maneuvered in for the score. It was a thing of beauty followed by an ugly extra point attempt from Patrick Clarke.
Immediately following UB's score Georgia exposed another weakness in UB's special teams, Kick Coverage. Todd Gurley, the freshman playing in his first college game, returned UB's kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown.
Alex Zordich completed 14 of 24 passes for 148 yards, including the 16-yard touchdown pass to Alex Neutz. Zordich added 14 carries for 83 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run late in the game. Most importantly he made no big mistakes.
Branden Oliver put up more than 100 yards on a normally very stingy defense. He finished with 30 carries for 111 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run for the Bulls.
Neutz and Jimmy Gordon led the team in receiving. Neutz had five reecptions for 52 yards and Jimmy Gordon had three receptions for 63 yards.
Zordich played the game we needed out of him, and he played the game we need him to play all year.
UB does not need an A+ quarterback. When David (2010) asked what we want from him all I could say was a completion percentage of 55%, a 1.5:1 TD to interception ratio, and 150 to 200 yards a game.
|vs Georgia / 9.1.12||Passing||Rushing|
Combine his good passing day with a very good day on the ground and you really have to nit pick for the sore spots. But there are sore spots in his game.
Running Backs: B+
Oliver passed 100 yards in the game but sill only put up 3.7 a carry. Now this is 100 yards and 3.7 per carry against Georgia's front seven.
|vs Georgia / 9.1.12||Rushing||Receiving|
If any one game this year could have tripped up Oliver this was it. Given his performance here it's safe to say that if he stays healthy that his school record for yards in a season could be in danger.
No big drops but aside from Neutz the only receiver to catch a pass was Fred Lee. For the most part the Tight Ends were a bigger part of the passing game than the receiver.
Offensive Line: B
Zordich generally had time, and when he did not have time there seemed to be a lane there for him to escape whatever pressure he was under.He was sacked just twice and one of those was for just a yard. The line did a good job moving with Zordich when he went out of the pocket and seemed to be downfiled on the few players where Oliver broke it.
Defensive Line: B
Murray was sacked four times, thats the good. But it was feast or famine. Either Murray was getting swarmed quickly or he had all day, and when he had all day e made Buffalo pay.
The linebackers own a good deal of Georgia's 5.8 yards per carry. Granted they were missing Mack and they lost another starter a couple of weeks ago.
This is the unit that has to lead the defense for UB to win a good number of games this season.
Defensive Backs: C-
Don't let the score fool you, Georgia left a lot of points on the field because Murray and his receivers were out of sync for the first 20 to 25 minutes of the game. UB safeties did not get over fast enough to help on the deep post route, a patter Murray had open, and missed, two or three times in the opening Quarter and a half.
You simply cant miss an extra point, get a punt blocked, and give up some long returns. On the up side most of the work put in by Tyler Grassman was some of the most consistent and quality punting UB fans have seen in years.
Next up: UB will be on the other side of this type of game when Morgan State comes to Amherst to take on the Bulls.