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Down with MACtion. Defense is the reason for UB's success

Despite a struggling offense, UB is 5-4 thanks to a surprisingly good defense. But how do the individual efforts of the 2015 Bulls compare to the other 5 win UB teams?

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It's Wednesday night, which means time for a 100 point back and forth classic MACtion game. Maybe in Kalamazoo, but in Buffalo, all eyes will be on the UB defense, the force behind UB's 5-4 start.

Tacklers

Rank Year Player Solo Tackles Per Game Rank Year Player Tackles Per Game
1 2007 Shannon 6.08 1 2007 Shannon 10.3
2 2015 Berry 5.33 2 2008 Winters 8.93
3 2014 Redden 5.18 3 2015 Berry 8.89
4 2015 Gilbo 5.11 4 2014 Skinner 8.73
5 2008 Shannon 5 5 2008 Shannon 8.64
6 2015 Gilbo 8.44

Sure tackling is vital at our level, keeping short passes short and not allowing run yards after contact go a long way to winning games. The combination of Berry and Gilbo rivals the 2008 combination of Davonte Shannon and Justin Winters.

Behind the Line

Rank Year Player TFL Per Game Rank Year Player Sacks Per Game Rank Year Player QB hurries per game
1 2007 Hutchinson 1.58 1 2007 Scott 0.83 1 2007 Scott 0.58
2 2013 Mack 1.46 2 2013 Mack 0.81 2 2015 Gilbo 0.56
3 2014 Redden 1.32 3 2014 Redden 0.59 3 2013 Mack 0.46
4 2007 Scott 1.25 4 2015 Alozie 0.56 4 2015 Harris, D 0.44
5 2015 Alozie 1.11 5 2007 Hutchinson 0.46 5 2013 Sokoli 0.38
6 2015 Gilbo 1.06 6 2009 Means 0.42
7 2015 Berry 1

The best part about UB's attack behind the line is it isn't individual efforts in spite of scheme, it seems to be great efforts enhanced by the scheme. All 3 UB linebackers average at least a TFL per game. Alozie leads the way in sacks filling the role vacated by the graduation of Adam Redden and Nick Gilbo and Demone Harris have applied the QB pressure helping fuel our pass defense.

Pass Defense

Rank Year Player Pass Breakups per game Rank Year Player Passes Defended per game
1 2015 Ross 1.78 1 2015 Ross 2
2 2015 Baker 1.22 2 2015 Baker 1.22
3 2014 Lester 1.18 3 2014 Lester 1.18
4 2009 Cook 0.83 4 2009 Johnson 0.92
5 2009 Thomas 0.75 5 2009 Cook 0.92
6 2015 Alozie 0.89

Of course Ross leads in pass breakups and passes defended but the surprise is Baker is second. Alozie shows his all around game by showing up sixth in passes defended as well.

Turnovers

Rank Year Player INT Per Game Rank Year Player FF Per Game Rank Year Player Turnovers forced per game
1 2007 Newton 0.33 1 2013 Mack 0.38 1 2013 Mack 0.62
2 2007 Shannon 0.25 2 2014 Redden 0.36 2 2007 Shannon 0.5
3 2013 Mack 0.23 3 2008 Winters 0.29 3 2015 Alozie 0.44
3 2013 Johnson 0.23 4 2007 Shannon 0.25 4 2014 Redden 0.36
3 2013 Lester 0.23 4 2007 Scott 0.25 5 2008 Winters 0.36
6 2015 Alozie 0.22 6 2015 Alozie 0.22 6 2007 Newton 0.33
6 2015 Williamsosn 0.22 7 2015 Ross 0.33
6 2015 Ross 0.22

From the 2008 team to Khalil Mack, turnovers are the calling card of a successful UB team. Unsurprisingly, Khalil Mack is at the top, forcing .62 turnovers per game in 2013. Okezie Alozie exceeds 2008's Justin Winters with .44 turnovers forced per game.

Tonight, the defense will have to put together another masterpiece to give UB their biggest win of the season and bowl eligibility.