The UB Bulls football team will get their season started tomorrow at 7 p.m. as the Colonials of Robert Morris come into UB Stadium. The Bulls will look to follow up last season's most successful campaign in program history and it will be a new-look squad looking to make an early statement.
The Colonials will enter Amherst, NY looking to improve upon a lackluster 2-9 campaign in 2018. Both of their wins came against lower division schools. It will be the first time ever that Robert Morris has taken on an FBS school, so they will have a tough task ahead of them as they're 48.5 point underdogs currently.
Head coach Bernard Clark Jr. is in his second year with the program. Under Clark, the team doubled their offensive output from the season before improving from 10.2 points per game to 24.6. The team also tied the program-record for passing touchdowns last season at 22.
However, this year's offense will look somewhat different as redshirt-sophomore George Martin (not the GoT writer) will make his first career start. Luckily, Martin will have the likes of senior tight end Matthew Gonzalez and senior receiver Tim Vecchio. It will be Vecchio's program-record 30th start and he is just a few receptions away from 100 in his career. I would expect Gonzalez and Vecchio to be Martin's go-to's.
Gonzalez will be the biggest name to keep an eye out for. He was an All-NEC preseason selection. Last season, Gonzalez averaged 16.1 yards per grab which ranked third among all FCS tight ends. It even earned him a spot on the Associated Press FCS All-America Second Team.
Both running backs also return to RMU. Senior Terence Stephens, Jr., and redshirt sophomore Alijah Jackson combined for 1,361 rushing yards and nine touchdowns on 274 tries which was good enough for a five yard average. Jackson and Stephens Jr. will be running behind an experienced offensive line, but UB's d-line has a lot of experience as well.
One last thing of note is that Head Coach Bernard Clark Jr. was an Associate Head Coach with Albany when they upset the Bulls in 2016. The UB program is in a much better spot than it was when they choked against Albany, so fans should be most worried about the team staying healthy and redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Myers looking confident in his new role.