Bulls Fall Short To Temple in Homecoming Clash
BUFFALO, NY – The very first play of the Bulls' Homecoming game against Temple was a harbinger of things to come.
Buffalo fumbled on the opening kickoff with the Owls recovering deep in Buffalo territory. Twenty-three yards later the Owls were in the end zone and on their way to a 42-0 victory over the Bulls before 13,371 fans at UB Stadium.
After winning their last three Homecoming games, Buffalo experienced a torturous first quarter, that saw them fall behind 21-0 and never threatened the Owls, who improved to 6-2 overall and 3-1 in the Mid-American Conference. Buffalo falls to 2-5 and 1-2 in the MAC.
It was the first time that Buffalo has been shut out at UB Stadium since Oct. 19, 2002 in a 49-0 loss to Miami (OH).
"Obviously a very disappointing loss," said head coach Jeff Quinn. "It's a loss but it's the way we lost. From my standpoint, Temple is a very good football team – the last two weeks we saw two of the better Mid-American Conference teams in Temple and Northern Illinois – and we saw some of the same struggles. We couldn't get anything going again this week."
Buffalo started freshman quarterback Alex Zordich for the first time, but the Youngstown, OH native struggled behind significant pressure throughout the game, suffering five sacks while being intercepted three times. The Bulls ran for a season-low 63 yards in the game.
One of the highlights for the Bulls in the game was the play of senior defensive backs Davonte Shannon and Domonic Cook. Shannon had 14 total tackles – nine solos – making him just the third UB defender to record 400 tackles, and the first in the Division I-A era. Shannon now has 405 tackles in his brilliant career, behind only Craig Guest (1993-96) who had 455.
Cook, meanwhile, recorded a pair of interceptions in the contest, the first time that a Bulls player has recorded a pair of picks since teammate John Syty had two in the home opener versus UTEP in 2008. Cook now has a team-leading four interceptions on the season.
Senior linebacker Justin Winters recorded a season-high 11 tackles, while freshman Khalil Mack had a career-high 10 tackles. Defensive tackle Anel Montanez added seven tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss.
Buffalo got another strong overall performance by junior flanker Terrell Jackson, who recorded five receptions for 48 yards, and had a career-long 58-yard punt return that set the Bulls up inside the 10-yard line in the fourth quarter.
However, summing up a difficult offensive game, the Bulls were stopped from denting the scoreboard as they turned the ball over on downs.
"We are not right now a well-executing football team," said Quinn. "We have been plagued with a lot of mistakes, penalties, turnovers, and missed assignments. There are reasons why teams win and why teams lose – those are the reasons why, and I'm very disappointed and they were just a better football team today."
Buffalo returns to UB Stadium next Saturday afternoon when they host Miami (OH) at 3:30 pm.
Alex Zordich was the first UB quarterback to start as a true freshman since Drew Willy at Western Michigan on Oct. 1, 2005.
With his interception in the endzone with 6:38 to go in the second quarter, senior safety Domonic Cook recorded his fifth pick of the season. That makes ten for his career, tying him with Craig Rohlfs for 9th place all time in interceptions. Cook also moves up the all time list in turnovers captured, moving him into a tie with Mike Newton for fourth place, with 16.
Continuing a dynamic senior season, Cook now has seven total turnovers captured, with two fumble recoveries to go along with the five interceptions. The Buffalo native has also forced three fumbles.
With Temple going with many one- and two-receiver sets, Cook shifted over to cornerback for much of the game, giving a lot of playing time for true freshman Okoye Houston. The Greenville, SC native made three tackles in the game.
With his solo tackle early in the third quarter, senior safety Davonte Shannon passed the 400 mark in career total tackles. He is just the third player in Buffalo history to have 400 takedowns and the first in the Bulls' Division I-A era. Later in the game, the Jeannette, PA native passed Mike Laipple to move in to second place, with 403 total tackles. At the final horn, Shannon finished the game with 14 tackles, nine of which were solo.
Freshman quarterback Alex Zordich led the team with 26 yards rushing, the second time this season that the Buffalo signal callers have lead the way on the ground and the first since sophomore Jerry Davis ran for 57 yards against Connecticut. The Youngstown, OH native also put up 98 yards passing in his first game as the team's featured quarterback.
Sophomore linebacker Dalonte Wallace recorded his first career forced fumble, and sophomore lineman Willie Moseley recovered the fumble for his first career fumble recovery early in the fourth quarter for the Bulls' third forced turnover of the game.
In just three MAC games, Buffalo's opponents have scored 12 touchdowns and one field goal on defensive touchdowns or drives of 60 yards or less. The defense has only allowed four touchdowns on drives over 61 yards in conference play. In today's game, Temple scored four touchdowns on short fields.
Today's shutout is the first time since 2002 that the Bulls have been held off the scoreboard at UB Stadium. The last time came Oct. 19, 2002 against Miami (OH).
Terrell Jackson had a career-high 58 yard punt return late in the fourth quarter, and the Bulls' return man had a busy day overall, returning two punts for 73 yards and five kickoffs for 93 yards. The junior also led the team with five catches for 48 yards.
Head Coach Jeff Quinn Quotes from the Game
Obviously this is a very disappointing loss; it's a loss but its more the way we lost. From my standpoint Temple is a very good football team, in the last two weeks we saw two of the better Mid American teams, Northern Illinois and Temple, and we saw some of the same things happen again this week. We couldn't get anything going again this week, we went in there with Zordich, he's a competitor, I like the way he prepared himself this week. But there are 10 other guys that we expect to play the game. And it started the first play of the game, the first play we turned the ball off the kickoff return. We are not right now a well executing football team. We've just been plagued with a lot of mistakes, penalties, turnovers, and missed assignments. These are reasons why teams win and why teams lose. Those are the reasons why, and I'm very disappointed and they (Temple) are just a better football team. It's as simple as that. They came in here, give them credit, Coach Golden did a great job. Their football team, they had some very, very solid football players, top level Division I football players.
On offense and special teams ability to match the intensity of the defense
I think you could sense a little bit of that initially when we turned the ball over on our kickoff return. We fumbled the ball on the kickoff, and they scored. Then we came out and tried to work our "Wild Bull" package in there and wanted to see if we could spark something there. That wasn't successful. Then we went back out there, we were staying too low on our tackling fundamentals. They (Bernard Peirce) were jumping over us. That's just not the way we play defense. So they kind of got into a funk and lost a little bit of that energy and that edge. Then they got the ball back, our defense creating a turnover on our third possession, and we weren't able to get anything going. Then obviously they scored again, and before you know it it's 28-0. That was at the same point where we're trying to figure out a way to get our kids to compete at the highest level. I think the defense has been real solid all year. This was just not one of their better games. Certainly not the games we look back at and say every guy was at the same high-fevered pitch that we saw last week against Northern Illinois.
On whether there was concern to start Freshman Alex Zordich over Jerry Davis for his first career start
I thought about it long and hard. I really felt, you saw Jerry Davis at the end of the game. Some of the things we've been plagued with at that quarterback position. Certainly, I felt this was going to spark our team, really give them that new hope, new vigor, a chance to have someone come in there. He did a great job all week but we all know that it's not the same. This is going to make him better. He's a competitor, he ran the ball hard. He stuck his nose in there. He took some big time hits and he was able to respond in a positive manner. We moved the ball at times with him. Alex is a very good football player, we have to keep developing and hopefully he can be a guy we can count on a consistent basis.
On whether Coach Quinn has the personnel to run the offense
No, I don't have second thoughts. What we need to do is coach it better and the players need to execute it better. There's a lot to be said about the quarterback position in terms of what we do. I feel very strongly that there are moments when this is clicking and moving and when guys are making plays. So it is frustrating for me because I've seen it. We've done it at three different places, and it's worked and paid off very well for us. We are going through some very tough times, some growing pains to get it done. In the long haul, I'm going to continue running it and continue executing and coaching the execution of this system.
Domonic Cook- on level of frustration at this point in the season as a senior
It's very frustrating but coming out like that you could see the difference in the other team. They were rocking the whole game. We were just standing there watching them what they do the best. They do it every game. I watched them on film, that's what they do. They come out enthusiastic. We just have to practice. We have to practice coming together as a team and getting ready for a game. It's commitment.
Alex Zordich, on how he's thinks today went as a first start
Well I think it was very disappointing. If you look at the scores and you look at the mistakes especially that I made and we all made. It's not how we want to play the game
Justin Winters, on defense performance especially two tailbacks
We came out flat and they jumped on us real quick. The tailbacks, they're good players, but it was about what we did not what they did. We didn't fit right and it was third down and we couldn't get off the field. It's just we have to practice and practice hard to play better. Simply put.
Pete Bittner, on playing left tackle,
It was a new experience for me; I've been working there a little bit the past two weeks in practice. I didn't do as well as I wanted to. The second half we decided to go back to the old lineup, it seemed to work a little better.