Turnovers, Turnovers. They won the game for UB despite stretches of bad play against FAU, and they lost the game for the Bulls against Nevada despite sustained strong play. Breaking it down, it's the breaks in that strong play - catastrophic breaks - that show through in this week's report card.
Quarterbacks - C-
Licata had a good statistical game, but had two INTs that killed scoring drives. We've seen a lot of these good stats - bad taste in the mouth games from him. Licata was excellent on third downs throughout, but those interceptions, a pair of overthrown balls (even if Willoughby was held up) and the botched draw to Jordan Johnson are what we remember.
Running Backs - C+
Anthone Taylor wasn't particularly effective and Jordan Johnson carried the load. But neither managed much until the second half, and once the offense got going the ball was put in Licata's hands instead and Johnson fumbled away another chance at points late.
Wide Receivers + Tight Ends - A-
Matt Weiser and Ron Willoughby are proving to be a potent combination: UB hadn't had two receivers over 100 yards since Alex Neutz and Fred Lee, and Weiser had the most receiving yards by a Buffalo tight end in FBS era. Those two and Collin Lisa seem to be favorite targets of a quarterback who's famously spread the ball around in his career.
Offensive Line - C+
Pass protection was relatively sound, but UB didn't get much push on the interior and got next to no second-level blocking in the run game. More bad mistakes for penalties and sacks killed them and put Licata in several 3rd and longs.
Defensive Line - B
Showed good pursuit again, not too much to complain about. Young guys are getting lots of playing time and generally showing well, though I think several were on the field for Nevada's two long runs keeping this unit's grade down.
Linebackers - A
The starting three here are the heart of the defense. Gilbo is showing up on a weekly basis, CRUNCH BERRY is a budding star and Alozie yet again was a playmaker.
Defensive Backs - A+
Only allowed 90 yards passing. Boise Ross added four pass breakups and still leads the nation. True freshman Cam Lewis played well.
Special Teams - B+
Tyler Grassman is showing off NFL caliber punts (57, 55 yarders) and has been good on kickoffs. Mitcheson 2-2 on FGs and hit his extra point. Blocking there has improved, but kick coverage needs to improve.
Coaching - B+
Mistakes aside, offense showed improvement, though I also question the play call on the throw to Willoughby-turned-interception. Loved the trickeration on the two-point conversion and going for it on 4th down. Borland doing wonders with the defense and lots of freshmen.