The UB Bulls started the 2018 football season in front of 17,959 fans and did not disappoint. Expectations for the Bulls are at an all-time high, but a 48-10 victory over the Delaware State Hornets is the type of start to the season you want to see.
The Bulls got off to a quick start by posting 20 points in the first quarter. Quarterback Tyree Jackson had three of his six passing touchdowns, which was one shy of Drew Anderson's record set during last year's 7OT game, in that quarter. Jackson was 17/27 on the evening with 189 passing yards to go with the six touchdowns.
Grad transfer George Rushing got his first catch as a Bull for a 9-yard touchdown. On that play, the cornerback blitzed which freed up Rushing and allowed Jackson to find his receiver before the safety could provide coverage help.
Jackson then found Anthony Johnson and K.J. Osborn for touchdown receptions of their own. Johnson led all Bulls pass catchers with four receptions for 57 yards while Osborn had three grabs for 54 yards and two touchdowns. Rushing added a second receiving touchdown as well on a play from the one yard line where he was left uncovered.
During Lance Leipold's weekly press conference, he said that he had no issue rolling up to seven guys at the receiver position. That was evident on Saturday as 10 different players had a reception for the Bulls. Johnson did not play a single down in the second half and that allowed freshman Charlie Jones to get his first catch and then first touchdown on Jackson's last drive in the game.
Most starters were removed from the game at halftime or after the first drives of the second half. The Bulls did a good job of staying healthy on the evening and Leipold did not want to press his luck with that by trying to run up the score.
Kyle Vantrease and Dominic Johnson split duties at quarterback after Jackson came out of the game. Between the two, they only attempted two passes as the Bulls were content to work on their run game. On the night, the Bulls had 154 rushing yards on 37 carries for an average of 4.2 yards-per-rush.
Rushing duties were done by committee as six different Bulls had at least two carries. Jonathan Hawkins led all ball carriers with 37 yards on eight attempts, while Jaret Patterson had the lone rushing touchdown for the Bulls.
The Bulls ran the ball eight more times than they passed, but their aggressiveness early was very evident. Jackson and the Bulls' first team offense went 5-for-5 on 4th down attempts. Two of those attempts ended up as passing touchdowns to Osborn.
The defense was just as efficient on the night, as the only Hornets touchdown came in the 4th quarter. The Bulls held Delaware State to just 275 yards of total offense. It was not until a 41-yard pass in the second quarter that the Hornets had positive passing yards thanks to two plays by Cam Lewis on bubble routes.
Khalil Hodge paced the defensive starters with eight total tackles as his backup Matt Otwinowski led all Bulls with 10 total tackles. The Bulls forced four turnovers on the evening and two were during threatening Hornets drives. Christian Gonzalez was able to block a field goal as well for the Bulls.
Next Saturday, the Bulls will travel to Philadelphia to take on the Temple Owls. The Bulls dominated their FCS opponent, while the Owls lost to theirs. Many expected the matchup with the Owls to be a key non-conference test for the Bulls, but it may be another chance for the Bulls to display their dominance of a lesser opponent. If the Bulls want to push for a ranking at any point this season, then they will need to keep their foot on the throttle against these teams.
The Bulls will take the field at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 8th against the Temple Owls at Lincoln Financial Field. We will be in attendance for the game and providing updates as always on Twitter @bulletpoints716. Also follow myself for more UB coverage throughout the season including the weekly Tuesday press conferences @TyBuffalo.