Keys to the Buffalo Game

Darcy Johnson (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

Buffalo struggles seriously on the offense, defense, and special teams. Last week, UCF simply wasn't ready to play at Kent State dashed any hopes of going undefeated in the MAC they had for the season. UCF now has a chance for redemption and getting back on track. UCF needs to pummel Buffalo. Mike Kruczek needs to send recruits a clear message that the lost to Kent St was a small setback. Here are keys to the Buffalo game.

UCF run offense vs. Buffalo run defense: The Knights became more and more confident running the football as the season went on.  Alex Haynes still needs to run the ball better.  Though, Haynes did show flashes of confidence running the rock the last two games.  Look for UCF's young offensive line to pick up where it left off as they gained valuable experience and establish the ground attack from the start.

Alex Haynes will likely to break 100 yards this Saturday against Buffalo.  UCF will likely use Dee Brown and Dontavius Wilcox against Buffalo more often then what we saw in the last four games.

This is one of the easy games on the UCF schedule.  It would be nice if the starters could take care of business in the first half by putting the Bulls away early.  If that happened, they'll allow the second unit to get some valuable playing time and experience.

Buffalo gave up 165 yards rushing in its last game against Akron.  Akron is not good this year. Akron beat the Bulls 38-21. Advantage: UCF


UCF pass offense vs. Buffalo pass defense: UCF will not use much of their playbook against the Buffalo.  The passing attack will probably look simple especially now that starting QB Ryan Schneider is out for at least three weeks.  Simplifying the playbook might actually make the passing offense look good.  However, Tavaris Capers along with the rest of the wideouts need to turn in another solid performance.

True freshmen, Brooks Turner and Mike Walker, will get involved in the offense a little bit against Buffalo, as they were invisible since the FAU game.  Their talents and athleticism will help QB Jon Rivera to have a big game.

And if Rivera has a big game, expect to see backup QB Brandon Sumner in the game early to get a little experience.

Buffalo gave up 362 yards passing to Akron last Saturday. Advantage: UCF.


Buffalo run offense vs. UCF run defense:  Buffalo returns all five starters from an experienced OLine that is still young.  Two-year starter RS Sr RT Jeff Mills, two-year starter RS Jr RG Erik Zeppuhar, RS Sr C Kevin Dunn, S So LG Mike Schifano, and RS So LT Zack Love.  The Bulls ran for 108 yards and averaged 3.9 yards per carry for the season. Chris McDuffie gained 23 yards on 3 carries and Aaron Leeper totaled 61 yards on 13 attempts. On Saturday, Buffalo will look to run more often since got very good production from their tailbacks throughout the year.

UCF surrendered 121 yards on 22 carries Kent State's tailback David Alston last week.  UCF will have to do better stopping the run.  Stanford Rhule was moved to third team earlier this week which indicated that he has not recovered fully from an injury since camp.  Look for Atari Bigby and Antoine Poe to make plenty of noise for the Knights' defense. Advantage: UCF.


Buffalo pass offense vs. UCF pass defense:  Do the Bulls have a passing offense?  Buffalo completed 7-of-21 passes for 58 yards in their first game of the year against Rutgers.  However, the Bulls coaches made a change at the quarterback position in hope for the better results.  Last week P.J. Piskorik passed for 119 yards in 13-18 attempts in a lost against Akron.  UCF has already improved their pass defense the last two games.  UCF recorded three sacks in Saturday's game Kent State. 

The Knights are expected to continue to create turnovers against Buffalo as they did against Kent State.  Look for UCF to return a turnover for a score. Advantage: UCF.


Intangibles:  The injury to Ryan Schneider for the next two to three weeks, perhaps give the Knights offense fired up to make plenty of big plays in his absence.  This is the only game on UCF's schedule in which it's an easy opponent and a chance to bounce back from a disappointed 1-3 start.  With Schneider injured, UCF wideouts are learning how to adjust in a way it never really had to since the start of the season.  The offense must learn how to play with Rivera in this game.


PREDICTION:  On Saturday evening Knights fans would love to see UCF's offensive line continue to improve in this game.  The expectation is UCF to dominate the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  Alex Haynes will have big day (100+ yards) and he should get a decent help from Dee Brown.  There should be very little pressure from Buffalo put on Rivera. The junior QB should finish with 250 yards passing, 100 yards rushing, and two TD in his first career start.  If the Knights can take care of business early, it would be nice if Rivera could run the offense for half of the third quarter and backup QB Brandon Sumner could take over in the fourth.  The big key for UCF might be to stay healthy for the next game and let the backups gain game experience.  FINAL: UCF 45, Buffalo 13. quick links:

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