After an abysmal start to the 2016 season, the Buffalo Bulls have an impressive win on the board after completing a fourth quarter comeback over the Army Black Knights. For the last two weeks, this post has seen a much different format in which the only positive category was titled "slightly good". UB has now redeemed themselves and deserves the usual "Good, Bad, Ugly" moniker.
If there was any doubt that Tyree Jackson was the quarterback of the future for UB, it has probably been silenced. The freshman showed the poise and authority to lead a football team that even some veterans don’t have at times.
Criticisms of Jackson’s passing ability have also been calmed down after this performance. After opening with a strong 10-13 passing effort, Jackson closed the night out 20-31 for 178 yards. That yardage would’ve been even more had two of his deep bombs been caught by receivers.
Offensive play calling-
We were getting to the point where I don’t think I would ever be able to put our offense in general in the good section. This is by far the best game I’ve seen in terms of play calling since Lance Leipold came to Buffalo. Neither the run game nor the passing game was abandoned here and for the first time we saw a balance between the two.
Another great thing that happened in this area is that the wide-outs got more involved. All three of UB’s starting wide receivers were able to receive catches as opposed to the Nevada game where we only saw tight ends and running backs get involved.
The rush defense-
What an oddity it is that I get to say that the rush defense did well. On paper this was a miserable failure because Buffalo gave up almost 400 rushing yards. But, as the game progressed, they gave up less and less as they seemed to get more comfortable with defending the rush. For the first time this year, Army’s second best rusher was held under 100 yards.
Time of possession-
I still continue to wonder how good our defense will be if they are well rested before they take the field. We still saw a lot of three-and-out’s throughout this game and when those happened the defense looked gassed and had a tough time defending until Army was in the red zone. Although Brian Borland’s scheme performs extremely well in that area, I’d like to think that if the offense held on to the ball longer that we wouldn’t be pinned past the twenty so much.
This has to be the most frustrating thing to watch with the offense. For the past two seasons, Buffalo has had glimpses of strong offensive momentum, only to be ruined by a holding or a false start penalty. Last year’s Penn State game is the perfect example of this. Without the plethora of penalties on the line I think we would have won that game. There were multiple drives this time around against Army that were ruined as well.
Rarely do I hear the coaching staff complain about penalties in press conferences and I think they should and take more action towards it. This offense would run a lot smoother if they cut these mistakes down. I’ve said it in the preseason: things like this is what has me believing that the Offensive Line is going to dictate whether we get four wins or six wins this year.
False starting on a PAT-
This was that moment that you have in each game where you want to shout "What are you doing" at the TV screen. Buffalo finally got on the board with a one yard Tyree Jackson dive and there seemed to be hope of a comeback. When it was time for the point after, red-shirt freshman Tyler Mabry false started on an Adam Mitcheson kick that would’ve given the Bulls another point.
Mitcheson missed the following re-attempt at the point after and many blamed the kicker for this. Although I do believe this should be a routine kick for the sophomore, I have to put more blame on Mabry. When typically you only have one chance to get something right (like a PAT), there’s a certain focus that you need. By false starting, you’re disrupting Mitcheson’s flow. It’s just like when someone false starts in a track race and you have to reattempt the start. Usually your time is slower because you don’t have the same focus anymore.