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Bulls football opens 2018 campaign vs. Delaware State on Saturday night

UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO ATHLETICS


Buffalo (0-0, 0-0 MAC) vs. Delaware State (0-0, 0-0 MEAC)
September 1, 2018
UB Stadium - 6:00 pm
Radio
Buffalo - ESPN 1520
Rochester - Fox Sports 1280
Television
ESPN3

Storylines
• This is the second-ever meeting between UB and Delaware State. The Bulls won the only other meeting, 40-30, at UB Stadium on Sept. 13, 1997.

• The Bulls return 14 starters from a season ago, including eight on offense.

• The Bulls are 4-1 all-time against teams from the MEAC. Since joining the FBS ranks in 1999, Buffalo is 2-0 with wins over Morgan State in 2012 and Norfolk State in 2014.

• Five of Buffalo's offensive starters are on preseason watch lists for national awards - QB Tyree Jackson (Davey O'Brien, Johnny Unitas), WR Anthony Johnson (Maxwell, Biletnikoff), RB Emmanuel Reed (Doak Walker), TE Tyler Mabry (John Mackey), C James O'Hagan (Rimington)

• Buffalo linebacker Khalil Hodge totaled 277 tackles over the last two seasons - more than any other player in college football.

• Anthony Johnson is the top returning wide receiver in the nation - after averaging 113 receiving yards per game last season. He is a 2018 preseason All-American.

• The Bulls have won seven of their last eight home openers.

• The Bulls enter the 2018 season on a three-game winning streak after winning the final three games of the 2017 campaign.

• Buffalo is predicted to finish second in Mid-American Conference East Division.

• The Bulls are kicking off their 106th season of football.
 
Bulls Open 2018 Campaign vs. Delaware State
The University at Buffalo football team will kick off the 2018 season against Delaware State on Saturday night at UB Stadium. 
The Bulls are coming off a season in which they went 6-6 overall and 4-4 in MAC play.   
Buffalo returns 14 starters, including eight on the offensive side of the ball. The Bulls were picked second in the MAC East Division preseason poll. 
Delaware State is coming off a 2-9 season. The Hornets were picked 10th in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference preseason poll.
Buffalo leads the all-time series, 1-0. The Bulls won the only other meeting, 40-30, at UB Stadium on Sept. 13, 1997.

T3
2018 will be Tyree Jackson's third season as the Bulls' starting quarterback. The junior signal-caller threw for 2,096 yards and 12 touchdowns to only three interceptions in 2017. He also added 197 yards rushing and four scores. The Academic All-MAC selection averaged 341 yards passing and threw nine touchdowns over the final four games of the 2017 season. 
Jackson is on the preseason watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

AJ is OK
Not many players in school history made a bigger impact in their first season with the UB football program than wide receiver Anthony Johnson did in 2017.
The JUCO transfer had 76 catches for 1,356 yards and a school-record 14 touchdowns last season. He ranked second in the nation in receiving yards per game (113.0) and third in receiving touchdowns (14). The All-MAC First Team selection had six games of 140 or more receiving yards which was tops in the country.
Johnson's 1,356 receiving yards were the second most in school history for a single season. He was second only to Naaman Roosevelt who had 1,402 yards in 2008. However, Johnson had 28 fewer catches than Roosevelt. Johnson averaged 17.8 yards per catch compared to 13.5 yards per catch for Roosevelt.
Johnson had 21 catches for 468 yards and eight touchdowns over the final three games of the 2017 season.
Johnson was named a second-team AP Preseason All-American, becoming the first player in school history to earn the distinction.

Hodge Ball
No player in college football had more tackles than UB linebacker Khalil Hodge over the last two seasons. Hodge totaled 277 tackles over the last two years, including a career-best 154 stops in 2017. It was the most tackles by a UB player in the program's FBS era (since 1999). Hodge ranked second in the nation in tackles in 2017.

Watch Out
The Bulls placed a program-record six players on nine different NCFAA award preseason watch lists. Bulls appeared on more preseason watch lists than any other school in the Mid-American Conference. The previous high was four players on eight different watch lists prior to the 2013 campaign.

Buffalo Players on NCFAA Watch Lists
Khalil Hodge - Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Nagurski Award
Anthony Johnson - Maxwell Award, Biletnikoff Award
Tyree Jackson- Davey O'Brien Award
Emmanuel Reed - Doak Walker Award
Tyler Mabry - John Mackey Award
James O'Hagan - Rimington Trophy

Air Attack
Buffalo led the MAC in passing yards a season ago, averaging 290.8 yards per game. With its starting quarterback and top receivers returning, the Bulls should be able to air it out again in 2018.
The Bulls return nine of the 13 players who recorded a catch last season, including four of their top six receivers. Anthony Johnson (76/1,356), K.J. Osborn (35/493), Tyler Mabry (32/548) and Antonio Nunn (15/301) all return this season.

Nine Bulls Named to Athlon Preseason All-MAC Team
Athlon Sports released its preseason All-Mid-American Conference football team and nine University at Buffalo players were named to the squad. The list was headlined by three first-team selections, wide receiver Anthony Johnson, tight end Tyler Mabry and linebacker Khalil Hodge.
Center James O'Hagan and defensive end Chuck Harris were named to the second team.
The third team included quarterback Tyree Jackson and cornerback Cameron Lewis.
Offensive lineman Evin Ksiezarczyk and running back Johnathan Hawkins (as an all-purpose player) were named to the fourth team.

Mitch Perfect
Kicker Adam Mitcheson enters his final season just five made field goals shy of the school record for career field goals made at UB. The senior kicker has made 39 field goals over his career. He is currently second all time, trailing A.J. Principe (07-10) who made 44 field goals over his career.
Mitcheson is also on pace to break the school record for career scoring. The Pittsburgh native currently fourth in career scoring with 206 points. Principe holds the school record with 265 career points.

Safety Dance
With the graduation of both Tim Roberts and Ryan Williamson, the Bulls will need to replace both starting safeties in 2018.
Among the candidates for the starting job are Brandon WilliamsTyrone Hill and Joey Banks.
The depth at cornerback has afforded the coaching staff the ability to move Williams from corner to safety and he will likely be one of the starters. The   senior started eight games at corner last season and had 43 tackles, an interception and four pass breakups.       
Hill has had a strong camp and is becoming a serious contender for the starting safety job. A sophomore, Hill played in four games last season.
Also likely to challenge for the starting role is newcomer Banks. He is a JUCO transfer from the City College of San Francisco where he had 67 tackles, including seven tackles for loss last season.

Reed All About it
Emmanuel Reed had a breakout season for the Bulls in 2017 and looks to build on it this year. The junior running back rushed for 840 yards and nine touchdowns last season. Reed had five 100-yard games in 2017, including a 144-yard, three-touchdown performance against Kent State which earned him MAC East Player of the Week honors.  The Florida native was named to the preseason watch list for the Doak Walker Award, given to the top running back.

Bulls Add Three Grad Transfers

Three graduate transfers from Power 5 programs joined the Bulls prior to the 2018 season. Wide receiver George Rushing, safety Ashton White and offensive lineman Trey Derouen all joined the squad.
Rushing came from Wisconsin where he played in 39 games and made one start. He recorded 18 receptions for 208 yards in his career.
White came from Notre Dame. He played in six games in 2016 and had a pair of tackles.
Derouen transferred to Buffalo from South Carolina. He appeared in one game as a redshirt freshman in 2016.
Rushing will have one year of elibility, while White and Derouen will have two.

Bulls vs. the FCS
This is the 10th straight season the Bulls will play an FCS program since adding them to the schedule in 2009. Over that stretch, Buffalo has posted a record of 9-1 against teams from the FCS. UB's only loss was a 22-16 defeat to Albany in the opener of the 2016 season.

It's All Relative
The UB football team features a pair of players related to two of the top five picks in the 2014 NFL Draft. Senior wide receiver Anthony Johnson is the cousin of top pick Jadeveon Clowney. Junior defensive end defensive end Ledarius Mack is the younger brother of former UB All-American and fifth pick Khalil Mack.

Murchie Family Fieldhouse Nears Completion
Thanks to a record gift by the Murchie family, the Murchie Family Fieldhouse is on schedule to open this spring. The 92,000-square-foot indoor practice facility will be situated just beyond the north end zone of UB Stadium on the university's North Campus.
The multi-use facility will not only house a full-size football field, but will also feature 6,000 feet of rubber track for sprint practice as well as long/triple jump and pole vault pits. It will also have motorized suspended softball hitting tunnels.

10-Year Anniversary of MAC Championship
The 2018 season marks the 10-year anniversary of the Bulls' 2008 MAC Championship - UB's first and only football conference title. After a 7-5 regular season, the Bulls stunned 12th-ranked Ball State, 42-24, in the title game. Buffalo went on to play Connecticut in the International Bowl - its first-ever bowl game.

On The Airwaves
Again this season, University at Buffalo football can be heard locally on ESPN 1520, a 50,000-watt station with one of the strongest signals in the nation. The Bulls can also be heard on 1280 AM in Rochester. 
Calling all the play-by-play action of Bulls football for his 19th year, and 11th consecutive, will be Paul Peck. Scott Wilson is back for his second season as analyst. Brad Riter also returns as game host.
Again this season, the UB Football postgame show will take place at Santora's on Millersport with host Bob Gaughan.
Peck will  host the UB Football Insider with Lance Leipold on Monday nights at 5:00 pm. The show air on ESPN 1520 and will be taped at the Santora's Millersport location.