Oliver, Way earn respect against Georgia
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 04, 2012 @ 9:01am
At first glance, the University at Buffalo’s 45-23 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs may not appear very impressive. Even though the SEC team failed to cover the 38 point spread at home, Mark Richt’s Bulldogs earned a rather comfortable opening game victory.
That doesn’t mean they weren’t impressed by Jeff Quinn’s Bulls.
Richt’s comments to Online Athens were glowing in regard to Oliver, who rushed for 111 yards on 30 carries, including a two-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
“That runner was legit,” Richt said to Marc Weiszer. “He had 1,400 yards rushing (last year). When you watched the tape, you knew that if you gave him a little bit of space he was going to be able to take advantage of it.”
Quinn echoed that he was pleased with Oliver’s rushing performance but didn’t hesitate to acknowledge the offensive line’s contribution either.
“Bo and the offensive line did a great job,” Quinn said. “Bo reached over 100 yards and we were close to 200 yards rushing, we were 100 percent in the red zone in scoring.”
The sturdy Georgia “D” closed 2011 fifth in the country in total defense, allowing only one 100+ yard rusher in 14 games (South Carolina’s Marcus Lattimore with 176). While the absence of four Georgia defensive starters—including top safety Baccari Rambo and productive linebacker Alec Ogletree due to suspensions—certainly made an impact, Oliver looked explosive and aware, particularly on a 36-yard first half scamper where his sharp cut made a fool of a Georgia defender.
Perhaps more scary is the fact that Oliver wasn’t dominant, and he still earned the shout-out from Richt. He started out the game with several “two-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” runs, as Alex Zordich stole the show with his pocket awareness and mobility. As Georgia began to respect Zordich’s scrambling ability, Oliver found a touch more running room, diving into the end zone out of the Wildcat formation.
While he didn’t necessarily earn the praise that Oliver did from Richt, junior defensive end Colby Way was selected as the MAC East Division’s Defensive Player of the Week for his two-sack, six-tackle performance against the Bulldogs. Georgia’s massive offensive line managed to neutralize Steven Means on the opposite edge, but Way was constantly disruptive. He may not be the strongest or the fastest, but he’s relentless and his motor never stops.
Despite allowing 485 yards of total offense to Aaron Murray and the potent Bulldogs’ attack, defensive coordinator Lou Tepper’s game-plan rattled Murray enough in the first half to head to the locker room trailing only by eight.
(Header photo courtesy of Dave Marino from last year’s UB vs. Ohio game— see the full gallery here).