Buffalo (0-1) at (23) Baylor (1-0)
Saturday, September 7, 3:30 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The 23rd-ranked Baylor Bears aim to continue their dominance at Floyd Casey Stadium as they host the Buffalo Bulls for non-conference action.
Jeff Quinn's Bulls began their difficult non-conference slate with a 40-20 loss to Ohio State in Columbus last week. The Buckeyes jumped out to a 23-0 lead, but Buffalo regained its composure and won the final three quarters. In a better-than-advertised Mid-American Conference, a league that produced six nine-win teams in 2012 -- Buffalo was below average, going just 4-8 overall with a 3-5 mark in league play.
Baylor began its season with a 69-3 rout of Wofford. The Bears jumped out to a 28-0 first-quarter lead and never looked back, finishing with 692 yards of total offense, which was the third highest total in school history. Coach Art Briles always seems to have his squad ready to play at home, where it is 17-3 over the last three seasons.
The Bears are 2-0 versus Buffalo in history. Robert Griffin III led Baylor to a 34-6 win over the Bulls in the most recent meeting in 2010.
Buffalo won three of its last four games to close out the 2012 campaign with Joe Licata under center. Considering the high caliber of his competition in the opener, the sophomore quarterback did well, completing 19-of-32 attempts for 185 yards with two touchdowns to one interception.
Alex Neutz was Licata's primary target as he made nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown. Sophomore tight end Matt Weiser made the other touchdown grab versus the OSU to record the first of his career.
Branden Oliver had trouble finding running room but the Bulls stayed with the gameplan throughout the contest. He tallied 73 yards on 26 carries. Oliver has a reputation as one of the top tailbacks in the MAC after racking up 2,216 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons.
The Bulls surrendered 460 yards of total offense to OSU in the contest, but they forced two turnovers. Senior linebacker Khalil Mack was selected as the MAC East Division Player of the Week after he finished with nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and returned an interception for six points. Baylor's coaching staff knows Mack is going to be a tough blocking assignment.
"He's good, he's real good," said Briles. "All the talk he's generating for himself, he certainly deserves. He is a big time good football player. If I had to compare him to somebody, if I watched two or three plays, I would say Von Miller. That's who he reminds me of. He's explosive, he's dynamic, he's quick, he's long, he's vicious, and he's a multi-position guy."
Blake Bean also held his own against the Buckeyes, recording eight total stops and a forced fumble.
Mack and Bean will be looking to frustrate Baylor's junior quarterback Bryce Petty, who threw for 312 yards and two scores in his first start. Petty saw limited action over his first two seasons with the program, but really took advantage of his first real opportunity, as he completed 19 of his 24 pass attempts versus Wofford.
Petty did a great job of spreading the ball around to his receivers. Tevin Reese (97 yards, one TD), Antwan Goodley (90 yards, one TD) and Corey Coleman (73 yards, one TD) were all able to slice through the Terriers' secondary at will.
Baylor's rushing attack was led by Lance Seastrunk, who picked up 111 yards and two touchdowns on only 11 rushes. Shock Linwood took 10 carries for 62 yards and Anthony Webb produced 71 yards on just six attempts. Senior halfback Glasco Martin gained 30 yards on eight carries, but he showed he is a reliable rusher last season as he gained 889 yards and scored 15 touchdowns on 179 attempts.
"This is going to be a tremendous challenge for us to be on the road for the second straight week against another top 25 teams," said Quinn. "They play fast offensively. They have a great system and we're going to have to be very much locked in defensively to keep them from putting up the kind of yards and points that they've been able to accomplish."
The Bears were very strong defensively as well, holding Wofford to just 233 yards of total offense with an average of three yards per play. They also forced three turnovers. Bryce Hager paced the unit with 12 total tackles. Senior defensive lineman Chris McAllister had his first career interception and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. The opposite end, Jamal Palmer, recovered two fumbles, forced a fumble, had a sack and 1.5 tackles for loss.
A slow start killed any chance of an upset for Buffalo in week one. Baylor has all the tools needed to hand the Bulls another early deficit. The Bears gave up a school record-setting amount of yards to their opponents last year and although their defense performed well against Wofford, it still could be an issue. The Bulls will need a huge day out of Oliver if they hope to survive their trip to Waco.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Baylor 45, Buffalo 20
09/04 10:38:22 ET