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Bulls travel to Rutgers in search of fourth straight win

UNIVERSITY AT BUFFALO ATHLETICS

Buffalo (3-0, 1-0 MAC) vs. Rutgers (1-2, 0-1 B10)
September 22, 2018
HighPoint.com Stadium - 12:00 pm
Bulls on the Air

RadioBuffalo - ESPN 1520
Rochester - Fox Sports 1280
TelevisionBig Ten Network

Storylines
• The Bulls are 3-0 for the first time since the 1983 season. The last time Buffalo started a season 4-0 was 1981.
• Rutgers leads the all-time series, 5-1. The Bulls' lone win came at HighPoint.Com Stadium in 2002.

• The Bulls are looking for their first win over a team from the Big Ten Conference (0-8). Buffalo did defeat Penn State in 1900 and Rutgers in 2002, but it was before the teams joined the conference.

• Tyree Jackson's 12 touchdown passes over the first three games are the most in school history to start a season. The junior quarterback is tied for second in the nation in passing touchdowns.

• The Bulls are one of only three teams in the nation not to have allowed a sack this season and the only one to have played three games (UCF and North Carolina played two).

• UB reserve offensive tackle Jacquis Webb began his career at Rutgers - spending the 2014 and 2015 seasons with the Scarlet Knights.

• The Bulls have won six straight games dating back to last season. It is the fourth longest streak in the country (UCF 15, Ohio State 8, Penn State 7, Buffalo 6, Duke 6).

• The Bulls have scored 35+ points over the first three games of the season for the first time in school history.

• The Bulls have never won two non-conference road games in the same season since joining the FBS ranks (1999).
 
Bulls Travel to Rutgers in Search of Fourth Straight Win
Off to a 3-0 start, the University at Buffalo football team will travel to Rutgers on Saturday to face the Scarlet Knights. The Bulls are coming off a 35-28 win over Eastern Michigan last Saturday. UB was led by junior quarterback Tyree Jackson who went 21-26 for 325 yards and three touchdowns.    
  
Rutgers is 1-2 on the season and is coming off a 55-14 loss at Kansas last Saturday. The Scarlet Knights are led by running back Raheem Blackshear who has rushed for 195 yards and a touchdown on the season.

Rutgers leads the all-time series, 5-1. The Scarlet Knights won the last meeting, 38-3, on Aug. 30, 2007 at HighPoint.com Stadium.

Os-born to Run
K.J. Osborn had one of the best games of his career against Eastern Michigan. The junior receiver had seven receptions for 188 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulls' 35-28 win. Two of Osborn's three touchdowns were 70+ yards (70, 75). He was rewarded by being named the MAC East Division Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.
Osborn is enjoying the best start to a season in his career. He leads the Bulls with 16 catches for 300 yards and five touchdowns. He's tied for third in the nation in touchdown catches and ranks 23rd in the country in receiving yards.

T3
Quarterback Tyree Jackson is off to a blistering start to the season and may have had the best game of his career last week against Eastern Michigan. The junior signal-caller went 21-26 for 325 yards and three touchdowns. His 12 touchdown passes on the season are tied for second in the nation. He has already matched his passing touchdown total from a season ago.
He was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Offensive Player of the Week in each of the first two weeks of the season. Former UB  running back James Starks is the only other UB player to earn player of the week honors in consecutive weeks back in 2007.
In the opener against Delaware State, Jackson threw a career-high six touchdown passes in just over two quarters of work. He became the first quarterback in school history to throw five first-half touchdowns. He was pulled after his sixth touchdown pass, on UB's first drive of the third quarter, put the Bulls ahead 41-3.
Jackson tossed three more touchdown passes in the Bulls' win over Temple and again last week against Eastern Michigan. He became the first quarterback in school history to throw three or more touchdown passes in three straight games. Including his final three games of the 2017 campaign, Jackson has thrown 21 touchdowns over the last six games. 
Jackson is on the preseason watch lists for the Davey O'Brien Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award.

Forcing the Issue
The Bulls have struggled in recent years to force turnovers. That is not the case so far this year. Buffalo has forced eight turnovers (five fumbles and three interceptions). To put that in perspective, the Bulls only forced 14 turnovers last year and 13 in 2016. Last season, it took until their seventh game of the season (Northern Illinois) before the Bulls recovered an opponent's fumble. Buffalo forced four turnovers (3 FR/INT) against Delaware State in the opener. The last time UB forced four turnovers in a game was when it forced five at Florida Atlantic (3 FR/2 INT) on Sept. 19, 2015.
The Bulls rank eighth in the nation in turnover margin with a +6.

Hodge Ball
Senior linebacker Khalil Hodge recorded his 300th career tackle against Eastern Michigan on Saturday to become the fastest player in school history to reach 300 tackles. He did it in 27 games. Davonte Shannon, the Bulls all-time leader in career tackles with 461, didn't reach 300 tackles until his 34th career came.    
No player in college football had more tackles than Hodge over the last two seasons. He 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.

Off to a Good Start
The Bulls have outscored their opponents 40-0 in the first quarter of games this season. However, Buffalo isn't just scoring in the opening quarter. UB has scored in 10 of the 12 quarters on the year.

Serve and Protect
The UB offensive line has done a tremendous job so far this season. The Bulls are one of only three teams in the nation not to have allowed a sack this year and the only one that has played three games. Buffalo has attempted 100 passes through three games this season.
May The Fourth Be With You
Buffalo has been aggressive with its fourth-down play calling. The Bullls have gone for it on fourth down 11 times already this season and have converted seven times. Only FAU and Northwestern have gone for it more (12 times) this season.

Marks and Recreation
Kevin Marks had a breakout performance in the Bulls' win over Temple last week. The redshirt-freshman running back rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the first significant game action of his career. 

It was the best performance by a freshman or redshirt-freshman running back since freshman Devin Campbell rushed for 160 yards at Ohio on Oct. 6, 2012.

Marks leads the Bulls in rushing with 219 yards and four touchdowns.

The Power of 41
The Bulls have had a different player wear the #41 jersey in each game this season to honor the late Solomon Jackson. In recent games, the player who has worn the number has had a standout performance.
Cornerback Cameron Lewis wore it against Temple and had two interceptions and was named the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week. Against Eastern Michigan, defensive end Chuck Harris wore it and had a career-best 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble.

Sharing the Wealth
Tyree Jackson has done a good job distributing the football so far this season. 12 different players have a caught a pass already this year. 13 different players caught a pass all of last season. In addition, five different players have a touchdown catch on the year and four of the five had caught at least two TDs.

Cam Tough
Senior cornerback Cameron Lewis had a career-best two interceptions in the Bulls' win over Temple. He became the first UB player to intercept two passes in a game since Okezie Alozie had two picks against Ohio in 2015. Lewis has four career interceptions.

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.

Johnson has the Bulls with 16 catches for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

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.

Mitch Perfect
Kicker Adam Mitcheson is just four made field goals shy of the school record for career field goals made at UB. The senior kicker has made 40 field goals over his career. He is currently second all time, trailing A.J. Principe (2007-10) 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 ranks third in career scoring with 223 points. Principe holds the school record with 265 career points.

Team Captains
This season, the Bulls will feature two season captains as well as two rotating game captains. Serving as season captains are senior center James O'Hagan and senior linebacker Khalil Hodge. Both O'Hagan, UB's fourth-year starting center,  and Hodge, UB's third-year starting middle linebacker, also served as team captains 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 eligibility, while White and Derouen will have two.

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 Ledarius Mack is the younger brother of former UB All-American and fifth pick Khalil Mack.
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 AirwavesAgain 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.