This week brought us down to earth a little bit. The Bulls entered Week 2 of the regular season ranked as the 59th best team in country and I’m sure they had a bit of a chip on their shoulder after rocking Delaware State last week. UB traveled to Philadelphia to take on Temple and it was a nice ride home for them after winning an offensive battle, 36-29. Unfortunately, the ride might’ve felt like a long one for the man who cemented the win for UB, Anthony Johnson. After the game, Josh Reed (Channel 4 - WIVB in Buffalo) tweeted the following:
I, and we all, have dealt with loss at some point or another and I’ll be 100% honest with you: If I were AJ, I wouldn’t have been able to muster up the mental toughness that it took to even dress for this game. Johnson showed Buffalo and all of college football what kind of man he is and how passionate he is about his craft.
Anthony, Buffalo is behind you and we recognize how hard the last few days must have been for you. I hope you’re able to cope with the loss of your friend and I can’t wait to watch you play the rest of the season.
All that said, here are my Horns Up/Horns Down for Week 2:
Anthony Johnson, WR:
6 rec, 76 yards, 1 TD
I really shouldn’t have to say any more, but his effort Saturday night was remarkable. On three of his catches, he literally made something out of nothing. For one of them, he stopped on a dime to reverse field and extended the play by 20 yards. On the most impressive of the three, he caught the pass in the center of the field while wrapped up by a defender. Johnson shrugged the defender off and turned what should’ve barely been a first down into the game winning, 29 yard touchdown. He also drew two penalties. Your friend would be proud of you, Anthony.
Kevin Marks, RB:
25 carries, 138 yards, 2 TDs and 1 rec, 6 yards
Last week I thought Marks looked like the best running back on the team. This week, it's safe to say that he earned the starting job moving forward. Averaging 5.5 yards per carry, Marks was an integral part of the offense, especially in the second half. The Bulls put together a few demoralizingly long drives fueled by many 4-6 yard runs by Marks. It was obvious that the Temple defense was getting fatigued and he contributed to that. His first touchdown of the afternoon was an incredible run. He shook off one tackle and trucked through another. Marks etched his name in the starting lineup for next week.
Khalil Hodge, LB:
10 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 2 passed defended
An NFL team is going to draft this man next April and they are going be happy they did. One of the announcers from Saturday night said that Hodge was “playing sideline to sideline” and that was the perfect way to describe his play. It’s so easy to spot him on the field because he’s always in the middle of the action. Early on this season he’s shown his ability to diagnose plays and it shows in his numbers as he leads the team with 18 total tackles. He broke up passes on 3rd-downs twice displaying his versatility. He’s just as electrifying as any player on the offense and is a treat to watch.
Cam Lewis, CB:
4 tackles, 2 INTs
Cam was given the honor wearing #41 this week and I don’t know if there was a more deserving player after last week. He was my single “Horns Up” for the defense last week and he followed a great opening weekend with an even better encore. The Bulls won the turnover battle 3-1 this week and Lewis played a big role in that. He wasn’t one of the big three Bulls gaining national hype coming into the season, but he’s making a name for himself now two weeks into the season.
3rd Down Efficiency:
A hell of a lot better than last week’s 15.4% and against a better team. I chalk it up to better play calling and overall it seemed like the offense was gelling more this week.
Early Down Efficiency:
I don’t have an exact stat on how the Bulls did on 1st and 2nd down and I promise that I’ll track it myself next week. But having to execute 17 third down plays in one game doesn’t seem good. They converted on nearly 40% more of them than they did last week, but you don’t want to put yourself in that position so much. One goal I’ll have for the Bulls next week is to have a lower percentage of offensive plays on third and fourth down. This week it was 20 out of 96 (20.8%).
Tyree Jackson (sometimes):
Look. TJ is a great talent and made some throws yesterday that truly amazed me. However, he also made some throws that should never have happened. He completed a pass directly through the defender’s hands once and the announcers were going nuts over it saying that it was incredible. “It went RIGHT THROUGH the defender’s hands. That’s a great throw!” Since when was it a good thing to put the ball in a spot where it can be intercepted? TJ was technically picked off twice yesterday and it was dangerously close to being 4. Interceptions are never timely, especially in a tightly contested game like this. The pick he threw not on the two point attempt was bad. I believe it was Rushing that was open on the opposite side of the field and instead he telegraphed a pass to Anthony Johnson and the defender had good positioning.
He’s very good at reading a defense and going through his progressions, but he doesn’t always do it. Sometimes he stares down his receiver the whole time and makes a bad choice in throwing the ball or is forced to throw it away because that one man isn’t open.
This is extremely critical of him, I know. He’s an elite prospect who will undoubtedly be drafted but Saturday night, I personally saw his draft stock slip a little bit. He’s a lot like Josh Allen, but with a less powerful arm so he’ll have to make up for that and some of these minor errors moving forward.
The Bulls are 2-0 and as far as I’m concerned, it could be Horns Up all around! But there’s always room for improvement. Do you have thoughts on the game? Do you disagree with me on anything? Good. Tweet at me and call me out on it! @wakejatkins and make sure you’re following @trainwrecksprts and @bulletpoints716. Until next week, thanks for reading.