Buffalo comes in under head coach Jeff Quinn, who is starting his fourth season, and has a record of 9-27 with the Bulls. However, Buffalo fans would likely point to the fact that their team won three of their last four games last year as proof they are headed in the right direction.
When things were going well for the MAC team, they were running the ball. Their season total of 2,120 yards was the third highest in school history; and while the Bulls rushed for an average of 176.7 yards per game, their offensive line gave up just 28 sacks.
Plus, their run game should be getting a boost from a now healthy Branden Oliver. Limited to just seven games a year ago, he set a school record with 1,395 yards the season before that. That total was good enough to rank him 14th in the nation.
They return all their starters at the offensive skill positions. That includes wide receiver Alex Neutz, who had 1,015 receiving yards and caught 11 touchdowns last year. He averaged 15.6 yards a reception.
The Bulls are expected to start Joe Licata at quarterback as he is the signal caller who led the team when they went 3-1 in their final four games in 2012. However, their backup, Alex Zordich has starting experience as well, and he is a dual threat, averaging 5.0 yards a run.
They will also occasionally use their tight end, Alex Dennison, as a quarterback in their “Alley-Cat” formation.
The team’s defense is paced by two-time All-MAC selection, Khalil Mack. The linebacker actually considered turning pro after last season, but has returned to improve his draft stock.
Mack already owns team records for tackles for loss (55) and forced fumbles (11).
He’s not the only defensive player capable of making a contribution either. Overall, Buffalo was 37th in the nation last year in total defense, just three spots behind Ohio State.
The team returns their punter and kicker. They also have every member of their coaching staff back.
Some final interesting notes regarding Buffalo? Outside their home state of New York (33 players), the Bulls have more athletes from Ohio (14 players) than any other state. And many of these young men actually have played in Columbus. Their season opener a year ago was a kick off against Bowling Green that took place at Crew Stadium.