Top MAC Football Players of 2013: #28, Colby Way, Buffalo DL

ubathletics.buffalo.edu

Let me just get this out of the way: Roosevelt Nix, you had a good freshman year, you are 3x 1st Team All-MAC and with your help Kent has won 21 games in three years. But Colby Way is the best big Defensive Lineman in the MAC. Way is five inches taller than Nix, which makes Way a threat to the passing game as Matt Schilz found out when he was intercepted by Way in 2012's finale.

Nix has 22 more career tackles and 9.5 more career sacks, but most of that can be attributed to Nix's freshman year. Nix excelled immediately with 43 tackles and 9 sacks, while Way saw playing time sparingly recording only 9 tackles. Since then, Way has outperformed Nix. In 2011, Way tallied 49 tackles and 3 sacks while Nix earned his second 1st team All-MAC honor for 39 tackles and 4.5 sacks. In 2012 Nix somehow was a 1st-team All-MAC selection with 56 tackles and 6 sacks, while Way wasn't even a 3rd Team selection with 58 tackles, 7 sacks and an Interception.

Way earned his first start seven games into the 2011 season, and there were not a lot of expectations for him in 2012. With Steven Means on one side and Khalil Mack on the other side there was room for other players on the UB front seven to exploit one-on-one matchups. Way did just that and in the process was one of the most pleasant surprises of UB's 2012 season.

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As UB enters it's most anticipated season since 2009, Way represents a striking difference between the Gill era teams and the Quinn era teams, the trenches. Gill's aim was to spread the field and use speed to move the offense, and relied on a speedy and opportunistic secondary to make up for a lack of push on the defensive line.

Quinn's teams have yet to experience the success of Gill's however the offensive and defensive lines have shown strength that has never been seen at UB before. This was best displayed in the 2012 opener at Georgia, where Way sacked Aaron Murray twice and UB recorded 3 sacks, the same number of sacks Alabama recorded against Georgia.

Like Najja Johnson, Way has not received as much attention as he deserved, but that is changing. Colby Way is 1st team on Phil Steele's preseason All-MAC team. In addition to getting more attention from the media, Way will get more attention from opposing linemen, as Steven Means is now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Way will see more double teams this year. Finally and most importantly, Way has the opportunity to make his third consecutive Academic All-MAC football Team. Way has been able to excel on the field while maintaining a 3.49 GPA in Engineering.

Nix who?

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