It’s no secret that the Buffalo defense was the key to UB’s bowl win last season, they led the MAC in most every category that mattered and propelled the Bulls to a bowl gmae in which they choked the life out of Charlotte.
But the offense, oh that offense, came through in a big way against all odds in 2019 and they are primed to be even better in 2020.
Let’s start by setting up what happened to Buffalo after their bowl loss at the end of the 2018 season.
Their star quarterback, Tyree Jackson, decided to forego his senior season and enter the NFL draft, this left UB with what seemed to be a very empty stable of signal callers.
Their star receiver, Anthony Johnson, graduated but UB had some solid talent returning to help soften that blow right?
KJ Osborn flew south to Miami, and pass catching tight end Tyler Mabry headed to Maryland. Going into last season the only experienced receiver on the roster was Antonio Nunn who had 12 catches for 146 yards in 2019.
So right off the bat you had no established quarterback and no established receiving threat.
But we have a solid line returning and we have Jarrett Patterson, who ran for more than 1,000 yards as freshman. So if we can just land a stable quarterback to manage the game, well then at least we can lean on the defense and grind some victories out on our legs.
Summer goes by and just before the season starts we get the starting quarterback announcement. Sophomore Kyle Vantrease was passed over for Freshman Matt Myers who certainly looks the part of a solid QB.
Regular Season, and a punch in the face
Myers comes out, frows pretty fast, and is at least looking the part after UB downed Temple. Going into the MAC opener against Miami we have found, it seems, what we need to get back to the post season.
And then Buffalo’s offense get’s wrecked by the RedHawks, and Myers is lost for the season.
Getting back up and finding our footing
Kyle Vantrease enters and manages the offense about as well as can be expected. Never plays outside of himself, is efficient, smart, and most of all lets Patter and Marks do the bulk of the work.
When he does throw it’s timely, and for the most part his young receiver help him out.
And this is where it gets fun.
As the season winds down Antonio Nunn, and Daniel Lee begine to provide two targets that defense have to respect. On top of the fact that Marks and Patterson both play well as pass catching backs.
So Buffalo now has options and Vantrease, who is already established himself as a great manager, is throwing the ball not 10, but 25 times a game which of course means defense cannot just sit on the two headed monster of Patterson and Marks.
Vantrease is the fifth highest rated returning group of five quarterback this season. His numbers are not gaudy but they compliment Patterson and Marks.
Patterson is, of course, one of the top 10 returning backs in college football, you could make a solid case for top 5.
Marks himself put up 1,000 yards last season and could probably start on nearly any MAC team.
Then there is the line, the only place where UB took a hit. Buffalo lost Evin Ksiezarczyk and Kayode Awosika, both offensive tackles. But they retain the core of their line and have depth at the tackle position.
They also have receivers that have a year in the system and who were alread FANTASIC downfield blockers.
The defense is still going to be really solid, but they do have some holes to fill.
Overall though, Buffalo’s offense this season could be the best of Lance Leipolds tenure.