UB Homecoming: Bulls vs. Huskies Live-blog
blog by Ben Tsujimoto • September 24, 2011 @ 5:06pm
——————End of Game, 17-3—————
:59—Buffalo calls its final timeout. Expect a very discouraging press conference tonight. I’ll have post-game reaction and some thoughts go forward early tomorrow morning. Thanks for reading the live-blog.
1:46—On fourth and 9, Anderson settles for a five yard out to Neutz, who’s brought down immediately. Connecticut ball on downs.
2:00 —17-3 Connecticut with two minutes left. Anderson hooks up with Neutz for 14 yards, but it’s 3rd and 9.
2:19—UConn’s Wagner punts again, and Jackson brings it back to the Buffalo 26. Anderson completes an 11 yard pass to Neutz, but a personal foul penalty on Matt Ostrowski negates the gain. Futile.
2:35—Colby Way with a sound solo tackle behind the line of scrimmage, but it’s too little too late. Buffalo’s defense definitely isn’t at fault—the offense has laid an egg.
3:26—Buffalo’s offense has looked lifeless—sure, credit UConn’s stingy defense—but you have to wonder if Quinn will give Zordich a few extra reps this week in practice. I don’t think Anderson’s poor outing tonight will cost him his job, but Quinn didn’t hesitate in Cincinnati to rotate his quarterbacks.
4:02—Chazz scrambles but is brought down behind the line of scrimmage by Trevardo Williams from behind. Schum’s punt is downed at the Bulls’ 36. This game is pretty much over, and it’s been a snoozer.
4:43—Terrell Jackson takes the kickoff to the 27. Anderson fits a pass into a tight window to Rivers—six yard gain. Rivers gets tangled up again on second down, leading to another incompletion.
4:52—49 yard scoring play by Williams comes two quarters after a 64 yard reception that set up the first touchdown. The Bulls’ linebackers have simply failed to wrap up Williams on both plays—Baugh the culprit on the first catch, and two others on the most recent touchdown.
4:52 —McEntee stands tall in the pocket and connects with Nick Williams over the middle—two tacklers miss the diminutive receiver, who squirts free and gallops another 30 yards to pay-dirt. Williams’ second monster play of the evening, and it’s now 17-3 UConn after Teggart’s extra point.
5:17—McCummings tries the left side of the line, but Lee Skinner is up to the task. 3rd and 7 from the 49.
6:44—Khalil Mack pressures McEntee into an incompletion. On third and 7, however, McEntee hits Shoemate out of the backfield for a nine yard first down toss. Big play, as at least two more minutes will run off the clock with the new set of downs. McCombs runs for another three yards.
7:24—Another injured Bull play. Dwellie Striggles is down. McCombs maintains his “two yards and a cloud of dust” outing, and it’s 2nd and 7, a huge play by his standards tonight.
8:09—Quinn calls conservative on third and 9—Oliver’s run off right guard is easily stuffed by the Huskies’ defense. Schum punts 42 yards, and UConn starts at its 36. 10-3 Huskies.
8:46—Look for the Bulls to continue to target Marcus Rivers—he’s being guarded by Gary Wilburn since Wreh-Wilson went down, and the replacement simply can’t keep pace with Buffalo’s burly #1 receiver.
8:46—Terrell Jackson fumbles the punt backwards, but lays out to recover it. Buffalo starts at its 18, trailing 10-3.
10:25—Willie Moseley and Means gang-tackle McCummings, who entered the game for McEntee and scrambled to his left. Shotgun on third and 8 for UConn, who’s called for delay of game. Ineptitude reigns for both offenses today. 3rd and 13 from UConn’s own 17. McEntee is pulled down on a scramble, forcing another punt. That’s four straight punts in the second half for UConn.
11:12—Correction on my mistake: Fardon’s punted three times today, and he’s been equally as successful as Schum. McCombs runs up the middle for two yards—the freshman runner is well below three yards a carry on the day. His success against Fordham is a distant, distant memory.
11:12—Peter Fardon is on to punt instead of Jacob Schum—Brandon Murie looks to have downed the punt at the one-inch line, but the officials rule that Murie’s heels were on the goal-line. Touchback.
12:16—Chazz Anderson is shoved to the ground by a blitzing Kendall Reyes for a loss of seven. Reyes made it look like the Bulls’ lined up without a left guard on the play. Anderson tries to set up a screen pass for Oliver, but he drops the ball—and honestly, the play was going nowhere.
13:15—Anderson hangs in the pocket and fires a bullet to Rivers along the right sideline—the gain is 11, and it’s 3rd and 1 for the Bulls. Huge hole for Branden Oliver off left guard—first down and plenty more. 16 yards to the UConn 35.
14:18 —Four wideouts in the game for Buffalo on first down—holding on Ozkan pushes Buffalo back after a nifty out pass to Ed Young. Chazz nearly earns the penalty yardage back, however, sacrificing his body in the process. 2nd and 12 for Buffalo from the 38.
14:52 —Dubois refuses to allow the edge to McCombs, and the Huskies will be forced to punt from their own goal line. Terrell Jackson receives the punt at the 39 and runs laterally out of bounds at the 41. Solid drive start for Buffalo, trailing by a touchdown.
15:00—Two streakers just ran across the field, but they both had shorts on still. Really, really weak streaking right there. They’ve been removed from the stadium, likely because they embarrassed themselves in front of several thousand folks.
—————End of 3rd Quarter, 10-3 Connecticut—————
:15—Khalil Mack records a sack on the final play of the quarter, this time maneuvering his away around right end and clobbering McEntee to the turf. Pettigrew was also in the vicinity.
1:15—McEntee’s pass on a quick out to Kashif Moore is on target—Okoye Houston is a step behind for the Bulls. 10 yards and a first down for UConn, giving them a little breathing room, away from their own goal line.
1:29—UConn still holds a 10-3 lead over UB in a defensive battle. Buffalo’s been in the red zone three times and has only come away with three points—that’s not how you take advantage of opportunities.
1:41—18,215 is the announced attendance, but it looks more like 13 or 14,000 in the stands, I’d say. I am a notoriously poor judge of attendance figures, though.
1:41—Schum’s excellent again, though, pinning the Huskies at their own 5. He’s had a tremendous game—unexpectedly, perhaps.
1:57—3rd and 10 for the Bulls from the UConn 44. Anderson scoots around the backfield waiting for a receiver to get free, but UConn’s secondary locks down on the receivers, and Chazz throws the ball away.
2:49 —Since Wreh-Wilson has left the game, Marcus Rivers has become the focal point of the Bulls’ offense. A personal foul after the play on UConn tacks on 15 yards to the 36 of Buffalo. On first and 10, Rivers blows past Wilburn, but the two got their feet tangled and the ball was overthrown as a result. Unlucky for the Bulls.
4:20—The Bulls’ defensive MVP Khalil Mack darts around left tackle Jimmy Bennett and hurries McEntee into an incompletion. Big stop for the Bulls’ defense again, but the offense isn’t holding up its end of the bargain.
5:23—McCummings gives McEntee a breather and finds 5 yards up the gut. Mack and Branch combine on second down to pull down McCombs, and it’s 3rd and 5 for McEntee again.
6:34—3rd and 2 for the Huskies. McEntee whips a pass to the right and hits Kashif Moore in the right flat—Cortney Lester is a step late in coverage—first down UConn.
7:21—Anderson makes a terrible choice at the goal line, hitting UConn middle linebacker Yawin Smallwood in the numbers. Interception, and Smallwood returns the ball to the UConn 26. A flag was thrown initially for pass interference on Gary Wilburn, but the rule is that the defensive contact happened after the ball was picked off by the linebacker a few yards in front of him. Regardless, UConn’s defense pulls out a big stop.
8:03 —Big gain for the Bulls! 48 yard toss from Anderson to Neutz down the right sideline. The Grand Island alum beat Wreh-Wilson’s replacement, Gary Wilburn, and Anderson’s throw was a beauty. Neutz bobbled the pass initially before reeling it in. After an Oliver run and a Gordon drop, it’s 3rd and goal at the 5.
9:16—Memories of the Stony Brook game return, as Branden Oliver’s excellent second effort on 3rd and 3 churns out 11 yards. He’s like a bowling ball.
10:48—Slant from Anderson to Rivers for a first down to the 36. Blidi Wreh-Wilson is out of the game for Connecticut, which undoubtedly brought a smile to the Bulls’ wideout’s face.
11:55—Oliver gets a mere yard on first down. Twyon Martin has been excellent at clogging lanes in the middle of the UConn defense. Teddy Jennings sacks Anderson on second down, setting up a 3rd and 14 from the 11. Atrocious start to the drive for UB.
12:15—A beautiful first defensive series for the Bulls—they handled the Huskies’ trickery on the flea-flicker well. Can the Bulls’ offense, quiet the entire first half, implement a power ground game to wear down the Connecticut defense?
12:37—3rd and 7 at the UConn 40. McEntee drops back and fires a ball over the middle—Lee Skinner raises his left hand and tips the ball high—he almost brings down his own deflection, but it lands incomplete. Fair catch by Jackson at the Buffalo 15.
13:07—A flea-flicker back to McEntee—the QB launches a ball downfield toward Kashif Moore, but Najja Johnson’s recovery speed is elite, and he bats the pass down. Great reaction by the emerging cornerback of the Bulls.
13:28 —Copeland walks off under his own power with his helmet off. It appears to be some kind of upper body injury.
13:36 —Steve Means inexplicably jumps as he closes in on Johnny McEntee—the QB smartly tucks the ball and sprints for the first down. Gain of nine on 3rd and 6. A bull defender is down; it’s Josh Copeland.
15:00 —UConn starts at its own 24, a draw play to Lyle McCombs for no gain—tackle by Lee Skinner. McCombs dashes up the middle on second down—he finds a little breathing room—and it’s 3rd and 6.
Halftime—Jacob Schum, Buffalo’s punter, may have been the team’s most useful player in the first half, booming three punts for a total of 129 yards, an average of 43 yards and dropping two inside the 20.
Halftime—Uninspiring first half from Chazz Anderson, and Huskies’ defensive coordinator Don Brown has drawn up a solid game-plan to confuse Anderson with blitzes. Blidi Wreh-Wilson has been exceptional in coverage, leading a unit that’s without Jerome Junior, who didn’t make the trip due to an NCAA rules violation.
Halftime —Statistically at least, Johnny McEntee had the best half of his UConn career, even if the numbers were inflated by Williams’ 50+ yards after catch on the touchdown drive. 7-12 for 133 yards and a TD to Hinkley.
Halftime—During the homecoming ceremony at halftime, Bulls’ basketball player Javon McCrea was announced a homecoming king. Is he the tallest homecoming king in school history? I’m getting the Buffalo Sports Information Department on it right now.
——————-Halftime, 10-3 Connecticut—————-
:04—Alex Neutz is briefly open down the left hand side—two defensive backs converge, however, and disrupt Neutz enough for the pass to fall incomplete.
:11—Hinkley was born in Hawaii—despite not having a particularly Hawaiian sounding name. A back-breaking score for the Bulls’ defense, which remained stiff for almost the entirety of the first half. A great effort by the unit, however.
:15—Mark Hinkley slinks out of the backfield and catches a toss from McEntee for the touchdown. Scott Pettigrew couldn’t react in time to the tailback’s route. 10-3 UConn, as the scoring drive was highlighted by the short toss to Williams that the kick returner/slot receiver turned into a 64 yard gain.
1:13 —Blidi Wreh-Wilson has effectively shut down Marcus Rivers today—a great match-up. Well-executed screen pass by McEntee to McCombs for a hearty 15 yard gain. Timing route to Nick Williams over the middle—Williams slips Isaac Baugh’s tackle and explodes 64 yards to the Buffalo 4 yard line. Cortney Lester barely ran him down before he reached pay-dirt.
2:28—Terrell Jackson gives Buffalo a boost with a 25 yard kickoff return, providing a drive start at the Bulls’ 31. Another quick slant to Marcus Rivers on second down sets up a 3rd and 6. Rivers and Anderson aren’t on the same page on third down, however, and Chazz’s pass sails 15 yards beyond his intended receiver. Jacob Schum, the Bulls’ punter, must be exhausted.
2:34—Khalil Mack blitzes around the left side, but McEntee releases over the middle intended for his tight end. Fred Branch obstructs Griffin, UConn’s target, and the ball drops harmlessly incomplete. Dave Teggart trots on and drills a 47 yard field goal to tie the score. 3-3 tie.
2:44 —Cortney Lester’s corner blitz disrupts McEntee’s rhythm, however, and the junior passer throws the ball away. 3rd and 8 for UConn—will Inge dial up the blitz again?
4:50—An ugly throw by McEntee is salvaged by Isiah Moore, who managed to barely drag his back foot in bounds. First and 10 at the Bulls’ 43. McEntee responds with a strong throw to Kashif Moore on the opposite side for 8 yards. McCombs storms through the middle for a first down run. 1st and 10 at the Bulls’ 32.
5:28—Personal foul on Okoye Houston when UConn knelt the ball inside of its end zone after the kickoff. McCombs reaches the second level on the first carry of the drive, but Khalil Mack smacks him backwards.
5:33—Anderson locks in on Devon Hughes running a route into the middle of the end zone—the same play the Bulls scored on against Stony Brook—but the pass is just out of the red-shirt freshman’s reach. Peter Fardon this time drills a 28 yard field goal after a 5:29 drive. 3-0 Bulls.
5:37—Yawin Smallwood blitzes from his linebacker spot and forces Anderson to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone. Fine initial blitz pickup by Branden Oliver, however. With two seconds on the play-clock, however, Jeff Quinn signals for a timeout.
6:11—Anderson rolls left—he’s comfortable throwing on the run—and hits Neutz in the numbers for seven yards to the 10. Second and goal upcoming.
6:39—Anderson escapes the Huskies’ rush again and hooks up with Rivers on the right side for a first down. On the ensuing down, however, a hold on Oliver in the backfield pushes Buffalo back to the 17 again. First and goal, but from the 18 for Quinn’s Bulls.
7:21—With Twyon Martin bearing down on him, Anderson is forced to throw the ball at the feet of Branden Oliver on the screen. On fourth and 7, however, Chazz tries to hit Rivers, but Blidi Wreh-Wilson broke up the pass. A roughing the passer—hit to the head of Anderson—call on Jesse Joseph, however, extends the Bulls’ drive. 1st and 10 from the UConn 17, and Paul Pasqualoni is unhappy.
7:56—2nd and 7 at the Connecticut 33 after another Oliver run. Fred Lee bends his route back to the right sideline, but Anderson’s throw is a few yards short. 3rd and 7 now.
9:26—A swing pass complete to Oliver loses two yards after a pretty solo tackle by Sio Moore. Anderson recovers and hits Rivers on a comeback route along the right sideline, then Oliver drags a tackler past the UConn 40 and moves the chains again.
10:57—First and 10 at the Bulls’ 33 for Anderson and co. He has Oliver next to him in the shotgun. Anderson whips a low pass in front of Marcus Rivers—the Lackawanna product makes the grab just as Blidi Wreh-Wilson arrives. Oliver bulls his way off left guard to move the chains—power run.
10:57—Terrell Jackson slides and catches the punt at the 33—mildly scary situation for the Bulls’ special teams. Josh Copeland made the tackle, his second of the day.
11:55—Mike Nebrich in the game for UConn—he floats his first pass over the middle that’s knocked away. A terrible looking throw. UConn’s penalized for five players in the back field, however, setting up a 3rd and 12 from the 28. A draw play for McCombs on third and long only tacks on four yards—another punt for UConn.
13:02—Shoemate runs through a wide hole to move the chains—great push by Petrus on the interior.
13:34—After a failed third down play, where Anderson’s swing pass to Oliver was snuffed out by Yawin Smallwood, Peter Fardon trots on to try a 30 yard field goal. It sails wide left, however, and the game remains scoreless. That’s not what Coach Quinn wanted from a 1st and 10 from the Connecticut 15.
15:00—Two-back set again on 1st and 10 from the 15. Oliver dives forward for a yard or two, but there’s not much space in the middle of the Husky defense. Aaron Connacher in as a blocking tight end. On 2nd and 9, Blidi Wreh-Wilson locks down Alex Neutz in the right section of the end zone, swatting down the jump ball.
15:00—It would be crucial for Buffalo to put UConn behind in the first half. The Huskies struggle to move the ball through the air—well, frankly, move the ball at all today—and Buffalo’s defensive line has been exceptional today.
————————End of First Quarter, no score———————
:16—Huge 3rd down conversion by the Buffalo offense—Anderson hits Rivers in stride on a crossing patten down to the Connecticut 15.
1:06—Terrell Jackson takes the punt in stride at the UConn 45 and splits two defenders down to the Huskies’ 35. A wide receiver screen to Terrell Jackson—wait, a fake—as Jackson flings the ball in the direction of Rivers. The ball hangs in the air and drops incomplete, however. Now 3rd and 8 from the UConn 33 after Oliver’s stuffed at the line.
2:12—Gordon Dubois explodes past left tackle Jimmy Bennett and pile-drives McEntee to the turf. 3rd and 19 faces UConn, and a draw play nets a single yard for McCombs—Dubois and Mack combine on the tackle. A terrific series for the Bulls’ defensive line, particularly Smith and Dubois.
3:05 —Just noted that nine of UConn’s 11 defensive starters were red-shirted at one point in their college careers. Turns out that the Huskies are usually pretty deep and recruit a lot of raw, unprepared talent. McCombs bursts left before he’s hit by Richie Smith behind the line of scrimmage.
3:17—Out of the shotgun on third down and 10, Anderson’s pass is slightly behind Rivers on a slant—definitely would have been a difficult catch for the senior wide receiver. Schum punts to Nick Williams at the UConn 15, where the Huskies will start their third offensive series. Not a very exciting game so far.
3:47—Hurry up offense now for Buffalo after Anderson hits Neutz on a comeback route along the right sideline for another first down. Ball on the UConn 43.
4:12—Chazz Anderson shows great instincts in the pocket, stepping up away from pressure and finding a seam in coverage. 10 yard run.
4:20—UConn kicker Dave Teggart attempts a 49 yard field goal, but Steven Means whips his way around his blocker and gets a mitt on the kick. Richie Smith recovers. Buffalo ball on its own 36.
4:25—On third and 10, McEntee tries to find his tight end Ryan Griffin, but Lee Skinner is draped all over him.
4:30—McEntee, on second down from the 32, fires down the left sideline well out of the reach of his receiver. Josh Copeland had coverage on the play, but the ball wasn’t close to catchable.
5:55—2nd and 9 for UConn at the Buffalo 44. Isiah Moore picks up his second catch of the drive over the middle—soft coverage by Lee Skinner, a linebacker, on the play.
7:33—McEntee under center on second down; he finds Isiah Moore lurking over the middle for a 14 yard gain. McCombs gains seven on second down. McEntee rolls left and chooses to run—he picks up 8 more before he’s hit by Cortney Lester. First down UConn on Buffalo’s side of midfield.
8:22—A new quarterback under center for UConn—Scott McCummings, a run-first signal-caller, takes over. On cue, McCummings runs up the middle for two before Lee Skinner drills him.
8:55 —Jesse Joseph, back in the lineup for Connecticut after missing time with injury, stuffs the swing pass to Branden Oliver on third down, forcing another Schum rugby style punt. Nick Williams snags the punt return and is tackled at the 25 by Brandon Murie and Alex Dennison.
10:29—Corey Knox is the fullback in Buffalo’s offset I formation on first down. Looks like a running play for Oliver. Branden bursts off left guard for five yards—great cut. Oliver is stuffed by Twyon Martin and Kendall Reyes on second down—now it’s 3rd and 5.
10:48—Excellent open field tackle by Fred Branch on Johnny McEntee, who ducked under a defensive player in the backfield and had a glimmer of light—until Branch smothered him two yards shy of the pylon. Buffalo starts its second drive at its own 37.
12:22 —Johnny McEntee is under center for UConn—he’s a junior who has a sick trick shot video on YouTube. Look it up. Five yard run by McCombs on first down, but Fred Branch sticks him on second down, setting up a third and 6.
12:22 —Buffalo established a ground presence and a nifty play-action pass on the first drive, but Oliver was stuffed inside and Anderson’s deep incompletion has the ball in Pasqualoni’s possession.
12:47—UConn shows blitz and Anderson changes the play call. Oliver picks up the blitz nicely, but Anderson can’t connect with Marcus Rivers on a streak. Good coverage with safety help, and that stalls Buffalo’s first drive. Schum’s punt pins UConn at the 13 yard line, where the Huskies will start their first offensive possession.
13:46—Anderson executes a bootleg nicely, rolling right and flipping a pass to Jimmy Gordon along the sideline. On first down, Oliver barrels off right guard again for 7 yards. Impressive start to the game for the Bulls.
14:40—Buffalo starts with Anderson under center and Oliver as the lone back—Branden runs smack into Sio Moore after a one yard gain.
15:00—Buffalo wins the toss and will receive. Terrell Jackson takes the kickoff two yards deep and returns to the 20.
Pre-game: Massive Moe Petrus, UConn’s senior captain center, waddles toward midfield for the coin toss. He’s exceptional, though, and the push he generates will cause problems for Richie Smith in the middle of the Bulls’ defensive line.
Pre-game: The crowd is a little more sparse than expected—right now there’s probably 11 or 12,000 in the stands. There’s no surprise that the student section is packed, but the Bulls’ have struggled with drawing outside of the student base—since 2008-2009, at least.
Pre-game: The national anthem by the “Thunder of the East” UB marching band has concluded, and we’re a few minutes from kickoff. Today’s the first real test for Chazz Anderson, Branden Oliver and the Bulls’ offense—we’ll see how they respond.
Pre-game: Josh Violanti, UB’s senior guard, is listed as active today, but Andre Davis retains the starting right guard job. I’ll monitor Violanti’s reps as closely as I can.
Pre-game: I’m not a huge statistics person, but Khalil Mack leads the nation in tackles for loss heading into Week 4 with 7.5 TFLs. He’s far and away the best player on Buffalo’s defense, but will his teammates elevate their play to his level? Buffalo’s front three has underachieved thus far.
Pre-game: Regardless, UConn’s calling card is its stingy defense with Sio Moore, Jerome Junior and Jesse Joseph as true play-makers.
Pre-game: Talking with John Silver of the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, the trio of Huskies’ quarterbacks will likely all see action, with perhaps the redshirt freshman Scott McCummings and true freshman Mike Nebrich seeing the most snaps.
Pre-game: The Huskies’ head coach is familiar to New York football fans—Paul Pasqualoni, former Syracuse University head-man, recruited and coached one of the best athletes in WNY high school history, Malik Campbell.
Pre-game: Both teams enter at 1-2 overall, with UConn’s losses to Iowa State and Vanderbilt and Buffalo’s to Pittsburgh and Ball State.
Pre-game: Hordes of blue and white clad University at Buffalo students have embraced a gorgeous early fall day, tailgating with vigor before the Bulls take on the UConn Huskies.