Last night was a brutal showing by our Buffalo Bulls. Everyone wanted us to pull of the upset against a decent Northern Illinois team but a first half deficit of 25 was too much to overcome. There are many positives that come from this game that won't show up on this report card because this is indicative of the entire effort by the team. Just because we have a second half renaissance every game doesn't mean the first half won't be forgotten.
It was some really bad decision making this week for Joe Licata despite becoming the all time passing yard leader for UB. The first two interceptions were really ugly and the third was trying to make something out of nothing. I would've given a much lower grade but their were many glimmers of hope from Licata, especially his 35 yard pass to Collin Lisa for a touchdown.
Running Backs- B-
When we used the rushing game, it worked and it continues to bewilder me why we don't use it more often. I would like to point out that Jordan Johnson is clearly the better back under this system. Johnson had half as many carries as Taylor and double the yards including a great wildcat formation touchdown run. Anthone Taylor continued to show some struggles and couldn't get a rhythm together. As a result, that brought the grade down on this one.
Wide Receivers + Tight Ends- B+
I'll give these guys a lot of credit, they picked up a lot of slack for this offense. Willoughby had a great day coming up with some huge plays and finally got a curl route (instead of run straight and call it good). Marcus McGill continues to show that he's a senior WR by having another big day and Collin Lisa started coming into his own as well. Matt Weiser seemed to be non existent in Licata's eyes for the first half but helped the team with crucial yardage positions throughout the second half.
Offensive Line- A-
Not once did I see anything absolutely terrible from the offensive line. They protected Licata for the most part. Best day they've had this year in my opinion.
Defensive Line- D+
The run defense was bad. That's all I have to say about that.
There were faint glimmers of hope with the line backers but they had too much slack to pick up. A lot of the tackles came from this unit and were key during the fourth quarter. If it wasn't for the likes of Gilbo, Alozie, and Blue Berry, we wouldn't have had a chance.
Defensive Backs- C
Cameron Lewis' INT return for a touchdown is what saved this grade. Here's my problem though: UB brought within 8 and the same unit that got us into the game made sure that we lost that chance immediately after NIU threw a bomb deep into the field. To many deep passes got through when NIU decided to throw.
Special Teams- F
This is the most disappointed I've been in Adam Mitcheson. He's had a great season but it just wasn't his day and this was unacceptable. It wasn't just his kicking though, UB gave up so much field position that NIU loved.
Illegal Substitution penalties and barely any first half adjustments are the story this time around. Just because coaching was good in the second half doesn't mean it gets a break from the report card. I know the coaching staff wants to stick with the game plan, but when we're down 14-3 at the end of the 1st, something needs to change.