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Game Recap: Bulls Come Out Strong, Stumble to the finish in a 34-20 Loss to Miami(OH)

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NCAA Football: Buffalo at Penn State Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports

There was a game yesterday. This we know. What happened in said game, we still don’t really know. Let’s try and sort through some things today and hopefully provide some optimism for the season moving forward, as the Bulls will need to get over this one quickly if they want to be bowling in December.

What Happened

The Buffalo Bulls got off to a good start in Oxford yesterday as Matt Myers delivered an absolute dime to Antonio Nunn early in the first quarter to cap off a 3 play scoring drive. The confidence felt high at this moment and Bulls fans were really starting to buy in to their young quarterback.

Things stayed positive until the mid second quarter, when the Bulls began to lose their identity. Buffalo, known for their young running backs, began to try and attack the Redhawks through the air, as Matt Myers was given the game plan to beat them in the skies. This proved to be costly, as the offensive line was unable to protect, and Myers began to start forcing passes. A few second quarter turnovers and the Bulls were barely holding on at the half 14-13.

This was one of the last times the Bulls really had a chance, as the third quarter was possibly worse yesterday than the third against Penn State. The Bulls were unable to block, unable to move the ball, and ended up replacing their freshman quarterback with back up punter Kyle Vantrease.

From there on, it felt like the Bulls just wanted the clock to run out, as a Kevin Marks TD in the 4th finally stopped a 31-0 Miami(OH) run. However, when it was said and done, this game ended with the Bulls falling to 0-3 on the road. Things have been very back and forth this season, but the ship will need to be righted before things get out of hand.

What Did We Learn

Matt Myers - We were reminded of something during this game I think we’ve forgotten a lot of this season. Matt Myers is still a freshman and he is sometimes going to make mistakes and have games like this. The biggest mistake Lance Leipold could do right now is to go away from Myers. If you’ve committed to the freshman, you have to ride this out with him. If he is benched for Vantrease going forward, you are going to mess with a young quarterbacks confidence and possibly ruin his future going forward. Just don’t do it.

Offensive Line - All season, the Bulls line has been the bright spot for them. They’ve kept up with Penn State, allowed for a strong running game and looked great. Yesterday, they did not seem to have it and also reminded us they lost all but one starter fro last season. I won’t be too worried about them until this becomes a trend, but for sure something to keep your eye out for.

Lance Leipold - In what starts to feel like a story as old as time, the Bulls fell apart as the game began to go on. I’ve never been sold on Leipold and this did not calm my nerves any more. It constantly feels like the Bulls are playing checkers while all other teams play chess, and I believe it’s because Coach Leipold does not have the ability to adjust his game plan. I believe if the Bulls falter throughout this season, Mark Alnutt should start to get his seat warmer ready for Coach Leipold.

What to Expect Going Forward

I’m going to chose to be the optimist moving forward and hope the Bulls just had a tough day and this isn’t who they are. They are still very much in the thick of things and the MAC East feels very open still. While I don’t believe any team from the East will be beating a MAC West team, I think it’s important for a young Bulls team to do whatever it takes to at least make it to Detroit.

I would argue next weeks game against Ohio is the biggest of the season, much more than the Temple game. It’s not only against rival Ohio, but it’s homecoming, and another MAC East game. If the Bulls lose this game, I do not believe they will be able to compete for the division championship having lost to the other two MAC East competitors. So strap in Bulls fans, because we are in for a long week of anticipation, nerves and hopefully, positive thoughts.