The post-Khalil Mack era begins tomorrow as the Buffalo Bulls take on FCS foe Duquesne in their home opener for the 2014 season. The Bulls will need to get off to a good start, and this game can be used as a momentum and confidence builder. So here are the keys to the Bulls winning the game...
Time of Possession
It's no secret that UB squeaked out a win over Stony Brook last season, and that's largely because the offense stalled out and only put up 10 points in regulation on an opponent that many thought they could put up at least 40 on. But, another contributing factor was that UB lost the time of possesion battle to Stony Brook. The Bulls' offense will need to sustain long drives to keep the Dukes offense on the sidelines and wear down the Dukes' defense so that late in the game they'll be too tired to keep up with the UB offense.
Run, Bulls, Run
Ever since his arrival in Amherst, Jeff Quinn's offenses have been predicated around a strong running game, and one way to beat the Duquesne defense into submission is to establish the run early in the game. Anthone Taylor will get the start, and he showed last year against Stony Brook that he has the chops to be top dog at UB, and will look to get off to a strong start Saturday.
Establishing the run game does more than just wear down a defense over time, it also opens up the play action pass game. If the Dukes defense is focused on stopping the run, a well executed play action pass can result in big yardage, and hopefully points for the offense.
Establish an Offensive Tempo
As I alluded to earlier, the UB offense struggled to get a rhythm going and score points in the Stony Brook game last year, and that mainly had to do with play calling. The coaching staff should dial up high completion percentage plays for Joe Licata early to help him get in sync with his receivers, and run the ball early and often.
Doing this will allow the offense to develop a tempo, and rhythm that should overpower the inferior Dukes defense. An offense in rhythm means an offense that can score points, and an offense that can score points wins games.