One way or another, Maurice Linguist's UB Football team has exceeded my expectations each game this season. But it's time to get a win.
I'm one of those mamby-pambies who isn't too bothered by the close-on-the-scoreboard loss to Coastal Carolina. I don't believe that Coastal is a top-20 team -- whatever G5 darling we have each season benefits from poll inertia just like the P5 schools -- but they did rip through Kansas the week before playing us. And Vantrease looked better passing the ball than I saw against Wagner and Nebraska. It seems Linguist is working the pass more into the offensive than I expected given, you know, Kevin Marks, so KVT being able to move the ball is critical.
Our offense wasn't there against Nebraska, but we held the Huskers to 28, and they turned around and played stronger than I expected the next week against #4 Oklahoma.
Wagner was hot garbage of a football team, but we scored more points than anyone else in FBS that week, and we weren't the only school playing a patsy. And frankly, with a coaching change so late in the offseason - after spring ball, don't forget - I was happy to see everyone execute.
You can say that the program isn't progressing if it hasn't broken through with a win against a ranked team, and I've heard that plenty before for about ten years on the basketball side of things. But other than a weird one against #23 Akron in 2012-13, we didn't have one of those marquee wins in basketball before winning the MAC in 2015, and you can't convince me that it's not a good sign that we were competitive with Coastal three games into a new coach's tenure, especially when that coach came in after spring ball, and especially when we zoom out to the last three coaches' first seasons. And yep, I'm including Lance in that, whose Joe Licata-led team faded at the end of the season, a harbinger of future seasons.
1-2 is fine for me at this point in the season, especially since we didn't get blown off the field by a P5 offense in Nebraska, and hung with one of the top G5 teams this season in Coastal Carolina. But now it's time to get a win. ODU got rolled by Liberty and Wake Forest, and rolled FCS Hampton. So it's not clear what their level is, but if you believe UB's better flashes so far indicate they can be top-half of the MAC, and I do, then you gotta expect a win here. If you believe UB is a bowl-quality team, and I'm less certain, but still think so, then you gotta expect a win here, because 2-2 is a heck of a lot different than 1-3.
I'm not sure if Linguist doesn't trust his O-Line or if he's committed to a certain amount of passing, but I'd like to see Marks get the ball more - I certainly imagined more touches for him (and fewer opportunities for KVT) than we've seen.
Among the many things Lance did well was being aggressive on fourth downs, which opens up your options on third down as well. Given Linguist's age, I expected more of the same, but I'm not sure we're seeing it yet. Do it, Mo!
If it isn't clear already, scheme your butt off to Let Riggins Eat.
Most importantly, just win.
Thank you for your consideration.