Buffalo Bulls Looking To Wear Down Emotionally-Drained UCONN This Saturday

By Joseph Lisi
Buffalo Bulls
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bulls enjoyed their bye week, getting healthy and studying the game plan for this weekend’s game. However, the same cannot be said for their opponent this Saturday, the UCONN Huskies.

UCONN took the no. 15 ranked Michigan Wolverines down to the wire in a dramatic 24-21 loss at home. UCONN had its chances to upset the Wolverines late in the ball game, but did not execute and the Wolverines were able to hold on for the victory. The Bulls will look to this game as a perfect opportunity to get back to .500 and as a measuring stick of where they will need to be in order for them to make it to a bowl game.

Offensively, the Bulls are averaging 19.7 points per game and are looking for answers in the running game. The offensive line has failed to get the job done through three games as the Bulls are averaging 96.3 yards rushing per game.

The Bulls will need to know where UCONN linebacker Yawin Smallwood is at all times. Smallwood is the heart and soul of the Huskies defense. On the season, Smallwood has accumulated 43 tackles through three games (14.3 avg). The Bulls have relied heavily on sophomore quarterback Joe Licata to carry the team, as the offense is averaging 227 yards per game passing (68th in the nation).

Senior wide receiver Alex Neutz is the Bulls’ home run threat. On the season, Neutz has 25 receptions for 338 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bulls will try and attack a UCONN defense that has allowed 29.7 points per game. The Huskies are stout against the pass, giving up only 188.7 yards per game, and the Bulls must have a balanced attack entering Saturday’s contest for them to get the victory. UCONN has been opportunistic in creating turnovers as they are a +3 in turnover margin.

UCONN has struggled rushing the football as the team is averaging 52 yards per game (122nd in the nation). The Huskies are averaging 20 points per game and will look to junior quarterback Chandler Whitmer to have a big day on Saturday. UCONN will look to exploit a Bulls secondary that allowed 317 passing yards per game.

The Bulls will need to mix up their coverage and get pressure on Whitmer to force errant throws. The Bulls have recorded eight sacks on the season with senior linebacker Khalil Mack leading the team with 2.5 sacks on the year. For the Bulls to get the victory at home, they will need to force turnovers. That has not been easy this season as the Bulls are even in turnover margin.

The Bulls should be well-rested and ready to play against the Huskies. This is an evenly-matched game on paper, but the Huskies expended a lot of energy in last week’s home loss. The Huskies are traveling on the road looking for their first win of the season, and will need to regroup quickly with the Bulls waiting to pick up their second victory of the year.

Joseph Lisi is a MAC writer for Rantsports.com, follow him on Twitter @GoForthe2, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google


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