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2021 Opponent Preview : Wagner

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NCAA Football: Wagner at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

How fast can Coach Linguist and company put together a football team? It will be a few weeks into the season until we know for sure, but they get to kick things off with a “tune up game” versus Wagner.

Don’t get me wrong, FCS games are ever dangerous, and this is very true for new staffs coaching teams with a lot of turnover. The “gap” between the FBS and FCS is not as vast as people would have you think.

If you sleep on an FCS team, and they play a solid game, they are liable to up and snipe you from your perch. Happened to Buffalo a few years ago when we slept on smAlbany.

Linguist does not strike me as the “sleeping” type though, and he has a lot of reason to put things together in this game. It will be the first time his Bulls get to suit up and play someone else.

As with all FCS game a win is not going to teach you too much about the team, but a loss will speak volumes.

Buffalo is 0-1 all time versus Wagner. The only game between the two was played in 1987. That happened to be the year that the Seahawks captured the Division III National Championship with 19-3 victory over the University of Dayton. So, not a shameful loss at all.

This Year will be the first full season for Wagner coach Tom Masella. Massella has bounced around the FCS ranks for 25 years. He’s been the head football coach at Boston University from 1996 to 1997, Central Connecticut State University from 2004 to 2005, and Fordham University from 2006 to 2011.

It’s hard to get a beat on Wager given they only played two games in the spring and NEC previews are hard to come by at this point in the summer but I’ll do my best

What the stats tell us:

Again, they played only two games in the spring so take this with a gain of salt.

The offense appears to run pretty balanced.

Junior Ryan Yost would appear to be the favorite to helm the offense this season. He got the lions share of the work at Quarterback last year but the numbers didn’t really pop. It could be that Jaalon Frazier, a transfer who saw a little action last season steps into the role.

Whoever is throwing will be looking for Noah Ellison (if he’s back) He was a redshirt senior last year so he may return. Wagner has not updated their football roster just yet. If Ellison is back he will be a decent test for one lucky Buffalo corner, a three start transfer may be the best player on the offense.

Senior Chris Collier spent last season pulling most of the carries on the ground and it’s fair to say that he will do the same this fall. Last season he had their sole rushing touchdown, and only touchdown of their two game season.

Defensively Wagner was a middle of the pack FCS squad last season. Giving up six touchdowns in two games and 317 yards per contest. Every one of those touchdowns was on the ground, but despite that they only gave up 3.64 yards per carry.

So it seems the “grind them down on the ground” game works.

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Whelp there it is, hopefully it’ll be easier to come by meaningful information with the previews of our FCS opponents.