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Bulls Dominance Started With Some Luck

When the schedule came out, not many Buffalo fans circled Stony Brook as the most pivotal game of the season but such has been the case as the Bulls overtime victory has jump started their season.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

As the clock hit zero Saturday afternoon to signify the end of another dominating Buffalo Bulls victory, Bulls fans had to be thinking to themselves that it feels good to be on the other side of the spectrum.

Since Buffalo joined Division One, the program has struggled, posting only one winning season, their MAC Championship squad in 2008.

But things are different this year.

The Bulls 33-0 win over Western Michigan Saturday improved their record to 4-2, recording the team's fourth consecutive victory and first road shutout since 1965.

Starting 2-0 in the MAC for the first time in program history, things are looking up for Jeff Quinn's squad.

The amazing thing is, it almost never happened.

It was a bit of luck that turned around the Bulls season and jump started their string of dominance.

After a 0-2 start, Buffalo was staring down a disappointing loss to Stony Brook as Seawolves kicker Nick Ferrara lined up for what would be a game-winning 37-yard field goal in the fourth overtime of a 20-20 game.

The kick however was no good as the Bulls grabbed victory from the hands of defeat when Anthony Taylor ran in a six-yard touchdown in the fifth overtime to give Buffalo their first win of the season.

The win, overlooked by many but not by any of the players or coaches at Buffalo.

"When you go through five overtimes, you learn a lot about your team" Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn said, "It really helped us mentally to get that win under the belt."

The difference between 0-3 and 1-2 is significant. Every win in college football matters and securing their first win of the season has catapulted the Bulls confidence.

In the three games since, Buffalo is 3-0 and has outscored its opponents 116-26. Led by Khalil Mack, the Bulls defense had their first impact game of the season against Stony Brook and things have only gotten better since.

In recording their first road shutout in 48 years Saturday at Western Michigan, Buffalo is now allowing only 26.5 points per game, a feat more impressive when you factor in that they allowed 70 points against Baylor.

Factor out the Baylor debacle, Buffalo is only allowing 17.8 points per game which would rank amongst the top defenses in the country.

Quinn has been pleased with his team's defensive performances in the past but was thrilled with how his team performed Saturday in Kalamazoo.

"Our defense is playing extremely aggressive" Quinn said "to record a shutout in this league is a tremendous effort."

While Khalil Mack rightfully receives the most attention of any Buffalo defender, many other Bulls defensive players have stepped up to become impact players as well.

Colby Way was named MAC East Division Defensive Player of the Week following his three-sack performance against Western Michigan.

"He had his best career day" Quinn said, "He had three sacks and three tackles for loss because he had his one-on-one matchup."

The senior defensive lineman is now tied for the team lead with five sacks on the year.

The one-on-one matchup that Way receives has benefited him and other Bulls defenders as opponents continue to double and triple team Khalil Mack.

"He was either tripled or doubled 30 times in that game," Quinn said referring to Western Michigan's strategy to contain Mack.

Even with a game plan devoted to singling out Mack, the impact senior continued to produce and have a great game.

"He still had six tackles, one sack, three pressures, a couple tackles for loss, forced fumble, fumble recovery [and] a pass breakup," Quinn said.

Quinn and the Bulls are feeling good, sitting at 4-2 and 2-0 in the MAC but don’t think for one second that Buffalo is content to be where they are.

This team has big goals and has hopes of playing for a MAC Championship in Detroit.

They go into each week preparing as if it’s the most important game of the season.

It’s a good thing too, because while fans and media overlook an opponent such as Stony Brook, it was that game that has taken the Bulls to where they are today.