By Bob DiCesare
Stand them side by side and there’s little similarity between the UB’s Branden Oliver and Bowling Green’s Travis Greene, the two workhorse running backs in the Black Friday showdown at The Ralph.
Oliver, a senior, goes 5-foot-8, 208 pounds and looks like he could win a head-on collision with a Dodge Ram. Greene, a sophomore, goes 5-10, 176 and looks like he should be playing wide receiver.
Size hasn’t mattered. Greene has carried 205 times for 1,293 yards and nine touchdowns this season and is within striking distance of the school single-season record for rushing yards. No other running back on the roster has carried more than 45 times, although the Falcons typically turn to 260-pound William Houston (11 TDs) in goal-line situations.
When did BG coach Dave Clawson, a Youngstown native and former Lew-Port quarterback, know he had something special in Greene?
“Oh probably the first month of the season,” Clawson said. “We were concerned about his durability. He’s not a big back. The concern was how many carries could he take, could he hold up in pass protection. When you watch him practice, he’s as fresh now as he was back in August. He’s just so strong and he’s so well-conditioned, and his ability to play at a high level throughout the season throughout a game, he doesn’t get tired. We give him a break and he doesn’t want one.
“Again, I thought we knew we had a good player back in camp. I just was worried about the durability and then in September we started realizing we had something special.”
What do Greene and Oliver have in common? Both basically hail from Miami. Greene played at Msgr. Edward Pace in Cable City, Fla., while Oliver played at Miami Southridge.
taggedCollege football | Mid-American Conference | University at Buffalo