Here we are again, having to discuss a frustrating UB Football loss. The Buffalo Bulls fell to the Kent State Golden Flashes 44-20 on Saturday and truthfully it wasn't even that close. That being said, let's take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Deween has been a bright spot on the team this year. Coming in to the season nobody knew what to expect after last year's stud punter Tyler Grassman graduated. Deween only had 4 punts although he was very effective with his opportunities. He put two out of four inside the 20 yard line and averaged 45.5 yards per punt. Kent State was also held to just 7 return yards. On a team where the offense continues to struggle, field position is very important. He's very quietly contributing to this Bulls team and he deserves the recognition for strong play.
The Wide Receivers Involvement
All season it has seemed like the wide outs on the team have been MIA. In this game we saw Marcus McGill, Malcolm Robinson, and Kamathi Holsey combine for 10 receptions for 155 yards. It's vital for these upperclassman to continue to keep getting open to aid their young quarterback. If their production can continue you'll see more defensive planning towards them which will then lead to more production from Mason Schreck. Overall, the passing game starts with these three. If they can consistently produce, look for the offense to begin to look much better than it has been.
I'm putting Jackson here for this game, but overall I still feel it's a lot of freshman mistakes. Jackson continues to struggle completing the deep ball and at points has seemed lost on the field. Personally, I feel like his athleticism isn't being utilized. I would love to see him start using his legs more when he rolls out to pass. If a receiver isn't open, don't hesitate to try and make a pass, run the ball. I believe Jackson is the most athletic person on the field at all times. If he begins to use his legs more, look for the passing to improve as corners will have to decide to cover him or the receiver.
Defensive Game Plan
We all knew that Nick Holley was not going to be a conventional quarterback. The running back had no issues gaining yards through the air and on the ground. The defense plan seemed to revolve too much around one coverage and didn't put enough pressure on Holley. The game plan should have paralleled that of when we played Army. Contain the run, force the pass. Overall it seemed like Holley moved the ball at will all day. This team seems more adept to face a pocket passing quarterback versus a runner as we saw them control Boston College better than they did Kent State. I was disappointed this week where it seemed the Bulls weren't ready for the unconventional quarterback.
I'm not the type of person to call out the refs in spite. This officiating crew was down right horrendous. From the first play of the game where they missed Holley's knee being down prior to a huge gain on the play. Later on Buffalo thought they had their first interception of the season only to have it taken away by a questionable holding call. Finally and personally the worst to me, was when Buffalo forced and recovered a fumble only to have the refs claim forward momentum had been stopped.
The worst part about this is head coach Lance Leipold couldn't even challenge. That play was shown on the jumbo tron multiple times and not once did I believe the momentum was stopped. The receiver was being tackled and turned then lost the ball. Forward momentum should not be considered stopped a second after contact is made. If the wide out had broken free for a touchdown would forward momentum have been called? I don't believe so, which makes this play so ridiculous.
Hello, my old friend. Once again we are mentioning the energy of this football team. This was week 1 of a new season where the MAC East felt wide open. However, this team came out with the same level of energy that led to a loss against Albany. I just don't understand why this team continues to come out of the tunnel acting as if it's a chore. Football players seem to have some of the most energy out of all the sports from what I've seen. This team just doesn't seem to have that on switch to get fired up. This week feels even more inexcusable as UB Stadium was packed due to parents weekend. After the first couple drives the crowd felt out of the game because they had no on field energy to feed off of. At points I even felt deflated and unable to muster up the energy to be loud. The crowd feeds off of the on field energy, and recently, we've been starved.
This game stings a lot. At this point, I'm not sure if this team has the ability to turn it around. Every week it seems like a new problem arises and the good goes away. Consistency is key to football where you get one chance a week to show what you got. If the team continues to underperform, change will be coming. I'll continue to believe and maybe even I'll Bullieve, but boy does this team need to get going soon.