While San Diego University's offense brings a "Thunder and Lightning" approach to the running game by using two backs Buffalo tends to get both out of Branden Oliver.
Oliver who owns most of UB's single season and career records has been rumbling over defenders all season racking up 1421 yards and 15 touchdowns. Many of the records set by Green Bay running back James Starks only lasted a few seasons until "BO" topped them.
Oliver's a short back at five foot eight inches but he has spent his collegiate career bulking up that small frame to become one of the most bruising backs in college football. He is also sturdy. Typically Oliver will get 20-25 runs in a game but that number has often been north of 30.
This season the Buffalo Senior has become a very good two cut back. In years past Oliver was good at fiding his lane cutting into it and exploding. This season he seems to get off the second move much faster making him an even bigger threat.
But what makes Oliver most dangerous is the cumulative effect of the punishment he doles out over the course of the game. A typical Branden Oliver game begins with modest but punishing runs in the first Quarter. Those three and four yard carries start to go to 8 yards in the second and then Oliver starts to find open field.
When he gets a ehad of steam bringing him down is usually a two man job. Darius Polk found that out the hard way. The Kent State defender had Oliver pinned against the sideline and still Oliver threw Polk five yards into the end zone before crossing the goal line himself.
Oliver is the key to Buffalo's offense. Licata is a good quarterback but the UB passing game has not been diverse enough to carry the team.
Force UB to the air and you minimize their chances of long sustained drives. Give Oliver room to get moving and you maximize the pain he will inflict.