For the past week or so I’ve been severely tempering my expectations for the Bulls. Last night, the only thing that was disappointing to me was the terrible quality of my stream of the game. It was a great night. I ordered a great chicken sandwich from this little cafe near my apartment. I also got some garlic parm fries with it and those were much better than expected. I used someone else’s cable login to stream the game (the best thing about living in this generation). ESPN really shit the bed on the live streams last night though, so I kept missing plays and seeing them late. Regardless, I promised to deliver my Horns Up/Horns Down and damn I’m gonna do it!
I’m going to preface this article:
There was a hell of a lot to be excited about but also, expectations should still be tempered. They wiped the floor with a mediocre FCS team. Even so, they looked like a strong unit in the process. Also, I’d just like to say that after a performance like last night’s, there isn’t much to be down on. So when I point out my Horns Downs, it will be from a perspective of “This has to be better against tougher opponents”. Here we go!
Tyree Jackson, QB:
17/27, 189 yards, 6 TDs
The guy threw SIX touchdown passes (a school record) on SEVENTEEN completions. Last year in the NFL when DeSean Watson went nuts, he had around an 8-9% touchdown rate. Last night TJ had a 22% of his passes go for touchdowns. Obviously the quality of play in the two levels is astronomically different, but this was a great game to help TJ build up his confidence for the rest of what could be an award winning/program-record setting year. The play that really stood out was the TD pass to Anthony Johnson in the first quarter. The coverage was actually good. Really good. But TJ put the ball literally only where the best receiver in college football could get it and somehow... Somehow Anthony Johnson came down with it AND got a foot in. Watching these two for the rest of the season is going to be electric.
Cameron Lewis, CB:
2 Tackles, .5 TFL, 1 Pass Deflection
The stats may not show it, but Lewis was all over the field and found a way to consistently impact plays. He was always in the right position and showed that he’s an anchor for the Bull’s secondary. He showed off his ability to read option plays on back-to-back series. In the first play he made contact with the receiver while he was catching the ball a drove him back for a loss. You saw him run across the bottom of your screen and just thought “damn he’s coming in hot..”. In the second, he read another WR Screen and held the receiver up long enough for Kahlil Hodge and Brandon WIlliams to come in and clean it up. I know there are more defensive players with better stats lines (Khalil Hodge, Matt Otwinowski had 10 tackles for crying out loud) but Lewis was fundamentally sound and even when he wasn’t near the ball, it was hard to keep my eyes off of him.
4th Down Execution:
5/5, that’s 100%
I’m not sure if Leipold will be as trigger happy on 4th down against more formidable opponents but this game gave him good reason to be. The play calling was good on 4th down and each conversion was another paper cut in between the fingers of DSU’s defense.
The Guys in the Trenches:
No Sacks Against
1 Sack For, 7 TFL, 1 INT, 3 Fumble Recoveries
The O-Line gave TJ all the time he needed and the D-line continuously disrupted play in the Delaware State backfield. Both groups should have great confidence moving forward and if I were TJ, I’d buy his offensive line some Mighty Taco or something because his 6 touchdowns would not have happened if his line didn’t perform so well.
KJ Osborn, WR:
3 Rec, 54 yards, 2 TDS
I know the man had 2 touchdowns but he was extremely inconsistent. In the first four plays he had a terrible punt return where he danced for 10 seconds, made absolutely no one miss and had a return of 0 yards. Three plays later, TJ hit him in the hands on a crossing route and the pass fell incomplete on 3rd down. The next drive he scored a bomb of a TD that was placed absolutely perfectly. The next drive he had a miscommunication and ran the wrong route and that led to another 4th down. His stat line was good but the inconsistency was pretty troublesome.
Adam Mitcheson, K:
6/6 XP, 1 Blocked XP
You’re on the 2 yard line for extra points in college. You can’t be kicking them so low that they get blocked like that. The line didn’t hold up perfectly, but it’s not like you need a ridiculous amount of power to push it through the wind to make it go 19 yards (give or take). Extra points should be gimmes. Against a better opponent, this could come at a more important time in the game and could be demoralizing for an offense.
3rd Down Execution:
It seems like the team showed for every play that wasn’t a third down. The five 4th down conversions helped keep some of the drives going but there’s going to have to be some regression in their 4th down efficiency over the course of the season. They can’t convert every time all year and if they do, I’ll buy everyone here at Trainwreck dinner once the seasons over. Even going against Temple next week, they might be a little more cautious on 4th down. I’d expect early down efficiency to be a focal point at practice over the course of this week before they travel to Philadelphia for next week’s matchup.
There they are, my first ever Horns Up/Horns Down! Make sure you stay up to date with all things UB and Buffalo sports with us at @trainwrecksports and @bulletpoints716 and follow me at @wakejatkins for UB coverage and some fantasy insights!