I sat down to watch yesterday completely ready to see another loss. UB has not won two back to back games during the Quinn era, the Bulls have never beaten western Michigan, and The Bronco's star quarterback was returning from a hand injury. Instead UB fans were treated to one of the best coached games of the Jeff Quinn Era.
Was is perfect? No but the Bulls played scrappy football and stayed with a team who was still playing for the chance to Bowl.
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There has to be something of a Quarterback controversy brewing. Freshman Joe Licata now has two wins against no losses when starting. He also just put up one of the best games passing UB fans have seen in years, and easily the best of the seasons.
Yesterday he was an efficient 21 for 33, put up 285 yards, and had a clutch fourth quarter touchdown pass to give UB a late lead.
That does not bode well for Alex Zordich who could not have gotten injured at a worse time. With UB through the meat of their schedule Licata gets to cut his teeth against other mid level MAC teams. Zorich got Georgia, Toledo, NIU, and Licata gets Miami and Western Michigan.
There will be no controversy in the backfield, because there is nobody left to compete for the job. But the time the game was over UB was without their top three running back, arguably their top four as Anthone Taylor is also out. Branden Oliver started strong and hurt his ankle. Devin Campbell, the fresh prince, came in and played well until he hurt his back.
The defense played perhaps their bast game of the year. Courtney Lester was easily the player of the game after taking up residence in Alex Carders head. His three picks, three tackles, and pass breakup easily made him the player of the game. It's the first time this year the defensive backfield seemed both aggressive and competent at the same time.
Quarterback (A-): You can't ask anymore of Licata than what you got. He seemed much more aware of the pocket and moved well to buy time and minimize losses.
Running Back (A-): But the Question is what do you do now? There is still no word on Campbell or Oliver. Murie may have to be "the guy" next week.
Receivers (B+): Just one or two bad drops but as a whole the patterns were very good and Licata benefited from the best hands that a UB Quarterback has seen all year.
Offensive Line (A): WMU is a team that likes to blitz and pressure the QB, and the line rendered that aspect of their game completely impotent.
Defensive Line (B+): Steven means has been waiting to break out for two seasons. Finally he is going from being a very good lineman to one of the best in the conference.
Linebackers (B+): Lee Skinner and Willie Moseley didn't quite overshadow Khalil Mack but they did make the Bronco's pay each and every time the focused on Mack.
Defensive Backs (A): They benefited from a very rusty Western Michigan Quarterback but that was not the main reason for the four interceptions. The backs read the plays well and put themselves somewhere where they could make big plays.
Special Teams (A): Pat Clarke was perfect, despite what the officials say. When will the NCAA make filed goals and extra points reviewable? After what happened with Toledo and Syracuse and now Buffalo's lost points it's pretty clear that botched calls happen enough to warrant a replay every now and again.