The Postseason Meal: The 2013 Buffalo Bulls - Part 5: The Game

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

What if the 2008 Bulls played the 2013 Bulls?

I have juxtaposed the success of this season with the success of the 2008 season all year long. I'm not done yet, one more post where I'll compare and contrast the final stats of each year. But before I do that, I let whatifsports.com do the heavy lifting.

I performed 10 simulations of 2013 UB vs 2008 UB, 4 at 2013 UB Stadium, 4 at 2008 UB Stadium and 2 at a Neutral site to see once and for all which team is the deadliest warrior the greatest Bull.

1st Quarter

The 2013 Bulls started with the ball and marched down the field taking advantage of UB '08's single coverage on Neutz and Lee. As the 2013 Bulls entered the red zone, they tried to run BO but were stuffed. The '13 Bulls settled for a Patrick Clarke field goal and a 3-0 lead.

The lead wouldn't last long, a short kickoff and a quick 15-yard completion to Brett Hamlin took UB to the 50. With Mack lined up over the left guard, Drew Willy audibled to a zone stretch run right. The blocking aligned and Starks found himself in space with Najja Johnson, shrugging off the tackle attempt and galloping 50 yards for the games first touchdown. 7-3 UB 2008.

The quick score concerned Quinn who hammered Branden Oliver in an attempt to slow the game down. After 5 consecutive runs, UB faced a 3rd and 1 near midfield. Licata faked to Oliver and threw towards his play maker Alex Neutz who was matched up on the much shorter Domonic Cook. Davonte Shannon was able to get back from his safety position and deflect the ball, which fell into the hands of Cook. Cook returned the interception to the UB 2008 35 and the UB 2008 offense returned to the field.

Attacking the quick change situation UB sent three wide receivers into the game and hit Ernest Jackson for a 22-yard strike to the 43-yard line. After a run by Mario Heny and Brandon Thermilus, Willy hit Naaman Roosevelt on a WR screen for a 27-yard touchdown. UB 2008 led 14-3.

UB 2013 started a nice drive, offsetting the UB secondary strength with passes to the tight ends Weiser and Schreck. Inside of the 20, UB gave the ball to BO again, and again the Bulls faced a 3rd down as the 1st quarter came to a close.

2nd Quarter

UB 2013 lined up with three receivers left and Neutz alone at the right. UB 2008 sent an aggressive blitz but the 2013 offensive line picked it up well. With Shannon once again cheating towards Neutz, Licata hit Fred Lee on a post route in the end zone to get UB 2013 back in the game. On the ensuing extra point, Andre Smith slipped through two blockers and got his hand on the ball, depriving the 13ers of the extra point. The '13 Bulls trailed 14-9.

UB '13 defense still had no answer for the UB offense, Starks gashing the line for 6 yards a carry and the big 3 receivers carving out holes in the zone for Naaman Roosevelt. On 3rd and 10 from the 15-yard line, UB '13 dropped 8 men into coverage, but Naaman was able to find space at the 3 and Willy connected for the first down, Naaman ruled down at the 1 yard line. Big Brandon Thermilus was rocked for a loss by Khalil Mack on 1st down, but on 2nd down, the son of Highsmith walked into the end zone. UB '08 led 21-9.

The two teams traded punts, until UB '08 again threatened late in the half. On 3rd down, the '13 Bulls sent pressure and Khalil Mack got around the end sacking Drew Willy and forcing a fumble. Adam Redden recovered to give UB '13 the ball on the 35 with a minute remaining. A BO draw play was called, catching the '08 defense off guard and putting the Bulls into field goal range. The Bulls would complete a pass to Boise Ross to make the try a 42 yarder with 3 seconds left. The kick had the distance, but sailed wide. UB '08 went into the locker room up 12.

3rd Quarter

The UB '13 defense was full of momentum despite giving up 21 points in the first half. On the first possession of the second half, Mack and Colby Way put pressure on Drew Willy forcing him to throw off his back foot. His pass sailed, and Najja Johnson collected the errant pass and returned it to the 21-yard line.

Quinn put Potts in perhaps hoping the smaller back would find more success than BO had in the red zone, but the smaller back was only able to get 3 yards. On 2nd and 7 from the 18, with BO back in, the Bulls ran and with a ankle breaking cut away from Anel Montanez, BO raced to the pylon and dived in for a UB '13 score. Down 21-15, Quinn glanced at his two-point conversion chart. Down by 5, go for 2. Down by 6, go for 1. Quinn, with his knack for mistaking 6's for 5's, went for 2.* The '13 Bulls tried the jump ball to Neutz, but Josh Thomas was able to swat the ball away in the air. UB '08 led 21-15.

*This explains a lot. Ever wonder why Zordich played over Licata, or why Murie disappeared when Dunmore came around, or why Ron Willoughby got so little play while Mason Schreck got so much...they wear 16, 26, and 86, but Quinn called for 15, 25, and 85. No one had the heart to correct him.

The 2008 team recovered, riding the still hot James Starks. However the tables had turned, the now restrictive 2013 defense tightened up in the red zone, and held the '08 Bulls to a field goal, but it was once again a two-score game, UB '08 leading, 24-15.

4th Quarter

After being stifled in the first half, BO ran for 20 yards twice in the first drive of the 4th quarter motoring the Bulls down inside the 10. Licata threw a jump ball to Neutz who finally was able to bring one down in the end zone. UB '08's lead was cut to 24-22.

The UB '13 defense played to character and forced UB '08 to go 3 and out on the next possession. UB '13 had the ball in good field position and only needed 3 for their first lead since the game's first drive. A play action pass to tight end Jimmy Gordon for 6-yards on 3rd and 2 extended UB '13's drive, but before he could fall down, Gordon was sandwiched by David Hubbard and Justin Winters, dislodging the ball. Dane Robinson recovered the ball and lateraled back to Sherrod Lott who ran the fumble back to midfield.

A perfectly executed screen just beyond the outstretched NFL-caliber hands of Khalil Mack landed in the NFL caliber hands of James Starks, who rumbled 34-yards to the 5 yard line. A holding penalty and a Brett Hamlin drop kept the Bulls out of the end zone, and the '08 Bulls settled for another field goal, to take a 27-22 lead late in the fourth quarter. The lead ensured the '13 Bulls would have to score a TD to win the game.

The ensuing kickoff was field by Devin Campbell who turned the corner to the 30 yard line and had only one man and the kicker to beat to score, but that one man was special teams standout Alex Pierre who cut down Campbell at the 35.

Licata led a masterful drive, hitting Boise Ross, Devon Hughes twice, and checking down to Branden Oliver when his down the field options were covered. The Bulls ran the clock down inside the five while Turner Gill called two of UB '08's timeouts. On 3rd and goal from the 1, Branden Oliver scored for the second time to give UB '13 the 29-27 lead, much to the chagrin of Branded Bull who picked a score of UB '08: 28 - UB'13: 21 in the Bruwpeg.

With a minute remaining, Drew Willy did what he does best, moved the Bulls down the field. Willy hit Hamlin at the 32 yard line with 3 seconds remaining and UB used their final timeout to set up a game winning 49-yard field goal attempt.

Paul Peck with the call:
All eyes on AJ Principe. 49 yards for the instant winner, the snap is good the hold is good...the kick has the distance...it's drifting right...and it's..........

NO GOOD.

The kick bounced off the right upright and fell no good, and the 2013 Bulls have their best win of the season, overcoming a 12 point halftime deficit to defeat the favored 2008 Bulls.

The games MVP was Branden Oliver who ran 26 times for 114 yards and 2 TDs while catching 3 balls for 30 yards. Starks ran 26 times for 156 yards and a TD while catching 4 balls for 46 yards. Brandon Thermilius added 7 runs for 30 yards and a touchdown.

Licata won the battle of the QBs, finishing 24 for 40 for 323 yards 2 TD passes and 1 INT.
Willy completed 24 for 36 for 288 yards 2 TDs, 1 INT and 1 fumble lost.

Naaman Roosevelt led all receivers with 7 receptions for 98 yards and a TD, Hamlin caught 2 balls for 35 yards, EJ caught 4 for 44 yards and Jesse Rack caught 3 for 41 yards.

The 13ers were led by Neutz's 5 catches for 79 yards and a TD, Lee added 4 for 69 and a TD. Boise Ross caught 2 balls for 42 yards, Devon Hughes caught 2 for 22 yards and Weiser and Schreck combined for 5 catches and 54 yards.

On defense, Housey Akobnundu, Syty and Drewes each had a half sack, while Skinner and Way each tallied a sack with Barkdales and Stockman sharing a sack.

Domonic Cook and Najja Johnson each had interceptions , Khalil Mack and Justin Winters were each credited with a forced fumble and Dane Robinson and Adam Redden each had a fumble recovery.

Patrick Clarke finished the day 1 for 2 on field goals and 2 for 3 on extra points, while AJ Principe was 2 for 3 on field goals and 3 for 3 on extra points.

Total Yards UB 2008: 477, UB 2013: 455.

In 10 simulations, UB 2013 won 7 times. The average margin of victory was 2 points. In the end, the matchup was decided by the conservative nature of UB 2008 with a lead. UB 2008 settled for field goals in the second half, which allowed UB's 2013 defense to recover and spark the offense to victory.

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