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Tennessee Well Aware of Mack

The respect continues to pour in for UB sophomore LB Khalil Mack, who ranks second in the nation in tackles for losses, has forced three fumbles and picked off a pass. Here's what the Tennessee Volunteers have been saying:

"He's a hard worker," offensive tackle Ju'Wuan James said. "Everybody here compares him to (UT LB) Jacques Smith. Coach Dooley said he's a guy that's on the wrong team. He's a really good guy. He's really good and he plays hard and he's the motor of their team."

QB Tyler Bray:

"They've got No. 46," Bray said. "We've got to try to block him. He disrupts things, so if we block him we should be fine."

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As promised, the Bulls were piping in noise at ear-splitting levels Wednesday to acclimate to the conditions they'll experience at Neyland Stadium. The audio loop include band and vocalized versions of "Rocky Top," along with "Tennessee" (by Arrested Development I'm told. I wouldn't know that) and, for relief, the UB fight song.

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Tennessee was featured on ESPNU's All Access Wednesday. The show was taped last week. It's a different world. The school is constructing a $40 million training facility exclusive to football. Coach Derek Dooley was reviewing the plans and talking about walls that needed to be moved or removed, in one case of create more space in the offensive line meeting room.

The Vols are paying UB $900,000 for Saturday's game . . . and they ain't gonna miss it!

-- Bob DiCesare



Live UB/MAC Football Chat

UB-UConn Game Analysis

UConn 17, UB 3

Game Analysis: Four plays were the difference as UB fell short in a game it could have taken. Missed tackles factored in two big plays by UConn wideout Nick Williams, one of which set up a TD and the other accounting for the game's final points. A missed FG by Peter Fardon hurt. The end zone interception thrown by Chazz Anderson was a killer. Four plays. Otherwise, UB led in first downs, 16-13. in rushing yards, 126-80. And in total yards, 319-293. They led most everywhere but the scoreboard.

Turning Point: UConn LB Yawin Smallwood stepped in front of Anderson's pass for Alex Neutz on a third-and-5 from the UConn 5 midway through the third quarter. The Bulls had started the drive on their own 15 and had covered 80 yards in 11 plays. To come away with nothing while trailing, 10-3 . . .

Player of the Game: Williams, the national leader in kick returns last year, turned two short receptions into 113 receiving yards and a touchdown and came to the rescue of a UConn offense short on firepower.

Stat of the Game: UConn punter Cole Wagner averaged 44.2 per kick and came up large on a couple of challenging occasions.

Counting: UB LB Khalil Mack had 1.5 tackles for losses. He entered with a nation-high 7.5 in the category.

Short: UB RB Branden Oliver finished with 84 yards on 23 attempts, falling shy of becoming the first Bulls back since James Starks to string four 100-yard rushing days.

He Said It: "I couldn't tell you what his 40-yard dash is but, boy, it looked fast when he had that ball running up the middle of the field." UConn coach Paul Pasqualoni on Williams.

In the House: There were 18,215 at UB Stadium for Homecoming. Who schedules a Big East team on Homecoming?

Next Up: For that matter, who schedules a trip to Tennessee with the Vols coming off a bye week (and, as it turns out, a loss to Florida)? Saturday at 12:30 the Bulls have a chance to shock the country.

-- Bob DiCesare






UConn 17, UB 3 -- Final

FINAL: UConn 17, UB 3.

 Huskies 2-2, Bulls fall to 1-3.

Attendance: 18,215.

4:52: McEntee and Nick Williams connected on 49-yard scoring play on third and 7. Williams shakes off Naija Johnson tackle on play. UCONN 17, UB 3.

7:24 and counting down: Bulls have to punt. Nothing for Oliver. Pressure forced Anderson to throw away second-down pass. UConn starts on own 36.

8:46: Score holds. UConn, 10-3. Huskies punter Cole Wagner a major weapon. Just nailed a bomb that Terrell Jackson fumbled and recovered on Bulls 18. . . . UB safety Josh Copeland out rest of night with undisclosed injury. Bulls have been having success with between-tackle runs of late. Would like to see them work Neutz on a slant.


UConn 10, UB 3 -- Bulls have 15 minutes to get in the end zone or they're going to come away from this one kicking themselves. Fourth quarter starts with UConn facing third and 14 from own 14 after Khalil Mack sack of McEntee.

UConn 10, UB 3 -- Bulls come away empty when Anderson is picked in end zone by Yawin Smallwood on a third-down pass from Huskies 5. Yet another wasted chance. Bulls have frittered away no less than six points in this one. UB had driven from its own 15.

HALFTIME: UConn 10, UB 3 -- UB gives up 64-yard pass play and then McEntee hits Hinkley with 4-yard TD pass with 15 seconds left in half. Stunning turnaround. Drive was 83 yards in 58 seconds.

2:34: 3-3. Teggart nails 47-yard FG for Huskies... with loads of room to spare.

5:33: UB 3, UConn 0 -- Fardon barely sneaks a 28-yard FG attempt inside left upright.

6:18: Still scoreless. UB first and goal from the 18 after holding penalty on Oliver picking up pass rush. Score doesn't show it but Bulls better team by far to this point. UB got first down by penalty on drive with a fourth-down roughing passer call against Joseph

13:34: Still scoreless as Fardon hooks 30-yard FG attempt wide left from the right hash. Hold might have been a little shaky. Didn't miss by much but can't squander opportunities like that.


10:29: UB will start second possession on own 37 after an exchange of punts. JOhnny McEntee starting at QB for Huskies.

4:20: Means blocks 49 yards FG attempt. UB starts on own 26.

1:06: UB playing inspired defense. UConn running game getting nowhere. Bulls now start series on UConn. 35.

End First Quarter: 0-0. UB driving. First and 10 and UConn 15 after pass from Anderson to Rivers.

Hello from UB Stadium. Sunny skies. Scattered clouds. Decent student representation in the stands. The hope is to supply periodic updates but they're having campus-wide problems with the wireless so it could be touch-and-go.

Bulls (1-2) have one win over a Big East team (Rutgers 2002). UConn won last year's meeting 45-21 in Connecticutt. Huskies have QB issues but should be able to carve out a living on the ground this evening.

The game is on Time-Warner cable.

-- Bob DiCesare


UB ponders adding hockey

UB athletics issued the following statement from AD Warde Manuel this afternoon:

“The University at Buffalo athletic department has been in conversations with established Division I hockey conferences to examine the possibility of returning our hockey program. While we are flattered to have these discussions there are several things that would need to occur both fiscally and within conference alignments for this to work for UB at this time.”

That's a bit of a shocker unless a sizable donation has come in to fund  such a high-expense program. It's been Manuel's mission to build a multi-purpose field house adjacent to UB Stadium, and this would seem to further delay that objective. If UB wants to add to its array of sports men's volleyball would be the way to go. Far less expense, excellent on-campus facility, extraordinary local recruiting pool and a chance to contender for a national title in quick order.

-- Bob DiCesare



In Friday's Buffalo News...

Look in Friday's Buffalo News for sports reporter Bob DiCesare's profile of University of Buffalo football player Khalil Mack.

In this preview video, Mack plays the guitar outside the team's locker room at UB:

UB and the Conference Shifts

 Don't look for the University at Buffalo to become part of the frenetic conference shifts that recently saw Syracuse and Pitt gain acceptance to the ACC. The expenses of operating at a higher conference level, such as the Big East, would double or triple the university's athletic budget, AD Warde Manuel told me today. Plus there's the issue of how long it would take UB to be competitive in those conferences, especially given the long journey to competitiveness the school has endured in the Mid-American Conference.

 On the surface a shift to a conference like the Big East seems ultra-attractive, especially if there's a football merger between the Big East and the remainder of the Big 12. And Manuel said the Bulls would listen if approached. But there's much to consider and what seems logical could in fact send the athletic program backwards. It's one thing to be in the Big East, another to be a perpetual Big East doormat. I like the slow, measured approach Manuel's taking here. He's a Michigan guy. No doubt that all things being equal he'd push UB to a higher level. But it's his job to do what's best for the university and chasing status at a prohibitive price and perhaps at the expense of competitiveness doesn't seem to make great sense.

Football is the fuel behind all these moves and one really has to wonder if games against the likes of Kansas, Iowa State, Louisville and Cincinnati would be any more attractive to Buffalo's college football fans than games against Kent State, Temple and the like. Ditto basketball. Yes, St. John's, G'town, Louisville have their appeal -- but at $40 a ticket. College sports have been a hard sell in Buffalo since the end of the Murphy-Lanier era 40 years ago.

-- Bob DiCesare


UB/MAC Football Chat

Recruits from Maryland, Florida commit to UB

Maryland offensive tackle Dan Collura and Florida guard Inuka Rhaheed have given verbal commitments to UB. Collura drew interest from Duke, Maryland Pitt and UCF, while Rhaheed had an offer from Georgia State.

---Rodney McKissic



UB @ Ball St. Game Thread

Fourth Quarter


Keith Wenning to Willie Snead with 29 seconds left completes 75-yard drive to winning TD. Great poise by Wenning, a sophomore. Final play covered 4 yards on a slant.

UB 25-21: Is this the same game???? Anderson scored from a yard out to complete 86-yard drive. Oliver finding all kinds of running room now and again is over 100. . . . Khalil Mack just made big tackle for 7-yard loss.

Ball State 21-19: Alex Neutz gets away with a push-off and hauls in 45-yard touchdown pass from Anderson down left sideline. Nothing there on two-point conversion attempt. 13:58 left.

Bulls have made some adjustments to get the offense moving. Chazz Anderson's vacating pocket quicker to buy time against Ball State rush. Defense doing much better job of containment on Ball State runs. They have 15 minutes to erase 21-13 deficit.

Third Quarter

Ball State 21-13: UB narrows gap when Jaleel Verser blocks punt to set up 26-yard scoring drive. Branden Oliver carries it in from 10 yards out for his fifth TD on season and third consecutive game with a rushing touchdown. And then Peter Fardon's extra point was blocked. TD comes with 8:19 left in half. Could it be spark Bulls desperately need?

First Quarter

Buffalo 7, Ball State 0, 11:56: Slot receiver Terrell Jackson takes the handoff on a reverse and hits Marcus Rivers for a 27-yard TD pass as Bulls go 60 in seven to to strike on first possession. TD comes on a fourth-and-4 play. It was the second career TD pass for Jackson, a high school QB.

7-0 End of First. Ball State driving. Jahwan Edwards carving Bulls on ground on this drive. Bursts of 17 and 18,

2nd Quarter

7-7. Edwards is a sweet back, excellent cutback instincts. He goes in from the 8 to tie it up with 14:11 left in half. Edwards runs accounted for 62 of 72 yards on drive by my count.

Ball St 14-7: Keith Wenning threads 19-yard TD pass to Briggs Orsbon. Drive covers 71 yards and I don't think Edwards saw the field during it. Bulls getting overpowered on both lines of scrimmage.

Hello from Scheumann Stadium, home of the Ball State Cardinals.

I see this crossover as a must-have game for UB if they're going to contend in the MAC East. They just can't afford a loss to a presumed non-contender and then expect to contend themselves. I'm looking for a lot of play-action out of the Bulls today as the Cards gear up to stop Branden Oliver. Cards were pierced through the air last week by South Florida and Bulls have yet to take many down-field shots through the air. This could/should be the night. On the defensive side, Bulls must stop the run. Must. Must. Must. They've done a so-so job so far. One could say they've been resilient. But this will be a game of field position and they can't continually yield a string of first downs on the ground and expect to emerge victorious.

Blues skies. Game temperature should be in the 60s.

-- Bob DiCesare

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About Campus Watch

Bob Dicesare

Bob DiCesare

Western New York native Bob DiCesare covers UB football, Big 4 basketball and writes an occasional column. He still holds a grudge against Chris Ford who, he's convinced, cost St. Bonaventure the 1970 NCAA basketball championship.

@TBNDicesare |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered colleges for The Buffalo News since 1999. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |