The Buffalo Bulls take the home field for the first time this season after a thrilling victory in El Paso. Just like Last year UB heads into week two, against Pittsburgh, with a 1-0 record . This year the Panthers come up to Buffalo and look to bring UB back down to earth for the second year in a row.
Zach Maynard showed more maturity than you would expect in a first game starter when he calmly dealt with a long trip, a loud crowd, and an early deficit by leading the Bulls to three unanswered touchdowns. The combination of Brandon Thermilus and Mario Henry did what had to be done but UB seemed to miss some of the explosiveness that Starks offered.
Pittsburgh used Youngstown to show off the future of their running game as Dion Lewis looks to be filling in nicely for Lesean Mccoy. Lewis scored three touchdowns, two rushing and one receiving, and had an astounding 6.8 YPC over 20 carries. The Panthers D returns and will be the biggest challenge the UB offense will face this year.
Coaching (Buffalo, Handily):
Turner Gill will be the better Coach on the field, Last season he kept UB competitive with a team that has a budget at most one tenth of Pittsburgh's. He has won more games in his three years at UB than the previous 9 seasons combined, recruiting is up and the team went to its first ever Bowl game last season.
Dave 'The Stash' Wannstedt is one of those coaches that fans love to hate, Pitt has not shown anything special over his tenure and the fans know it. He makes good use of his teams AQ status as a Big East member to produce a very stout defense but has not yet won a Conference title. He has made it to one Bowl Game and lost a thrilling 3-0 contest which was a demonstration of the quality offense Panthers fans have come to expect.
Pitt looked great last week but Youngstown is not exactly a good measuring stick. The Panthers are going to miss Mccoy more could be seen in an FCS match up. Pitt does not have much of a passing game to fall back on if the Bulls find a way to frustrate the run so look for UB to stuff the box. One thing that should worry Pitt is their 50% conversion rate on third down against a mediocre FCS team (UB manages the same against an FBS team).
I like Maynard taking over for Willy and I am warming to Thermilus/Henry replacing starks but other than the quick slant early in the third and one long drive in the first half UB's offense did not show a whole lot of Punch last week. UTEP is a team who will finish in the bottom half, if not quarter, of FBS defenses. While the miners might compare to MAC defenses they are worlds below what Pitt will bring Saturday.
Defense: (Pitt, Handily):
Turner Gill said it best at this weeks press conference, the front seven of Pitt are the backbone of the best defense UB will face this year. Pitt has few losses to what is one of the best defenses in College football. This Week Maynard will defiantly need to show off his mobility more, expect quite a few quarterback runs before the fourth quarter.
Buffalo's defense performed acceptably against UTEP but a couple things worry me. First they did not take the Ball away, last year the Bulls lived and died by taking the ball away. Second they let UTEP drive time and time again. Finally they more often capitalized on a UTEP mistake to stop a drive than not, you can not count on Pitt shooting themselves in the foot four or five times a game.
Special Teams: (Pitt, Barely):
Both teams had a nice return game, both teams did well in coverage but Pittsburgh's Punting and Field Goal kicking were far superior to what the Bulls had to offer.