Bray and Volunteers Too Much For Bulls, 41-10
KNOXVILLE, TN – University of Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray is already drawing comparisons to all-time UT great Peyton Manning. You wouldn't get an argument from the Buffalo Bulls after Saturday's 41-10 loss to the Volunteers at Neyland Stadium before 87,758 fans.
Bray was on target for 342 yards and four touchdowns while completing 21-of-30 passes on the day. The 6-6 sophomore looked very Manning-esque as UT used their superior speed to make too many big plays in the passing game for the Bulls to keep it close. It was the tenth straight game that the sophomore has thrown for at least two touchdowns.
Bray was particularly effective on third down as the Vols were a sterling 12-of-16 on third down conversions in the game, while the Bulls converted just 3-of-13 opportunities
Trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, the Bulls got a huge momentum change when UB senior quarterback Chazz Anderson faked a handoff and raced 68 yards untouched to the end zone to cut the lead to 14-7 after the PAT. It was the longest run of his career and the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in UB's Division I-A history.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Bulls recovered a bobbled kickoff with special teams ace Brandon Murie falling on the loose ball at the UT 21-yard line.
That momentum was squelched quickly, however, by a stingy Tennessee defense. A sack of Anderson and two incompletions let to a partially blocked 44-yard field goal attempt by Peter Fardon that could have cut into the Volunteers lead. Tennessee then responded by driving 63 yards for a field goal that extended the lead to 17-7.
That missed opportunity was the last real chance the Bulls would have to pull the colossal upset at historic Neyland Stadium as the Vols improved to 3-1 on the season while Buffalo fell to 1-4.
The Volunteers wasted no time in denting the scoreboard. On a punt after Buffalo's first possession, Devrin Young returned the kick 43 yards past midfield. From there, the Vols took just three plays to go 48 yards with the capper being a 20-yard run on a reverse by Rajion Neal with 11:58 left in the first quarter. That set the tone for the game as the Volunteers offense was too much for UB all day – racking up 541 yards, the most given up by the Bulls this season.
One bright spot for Buffalo was that the kickoff team forced a pair of fumbles. In the second half, sophomore Jimmy Gordon stripped the ball from returner Devrin Young that Shaquille Dudley recovered at the Vols' 30-yard line. However, the Bulls could not convert either turnover into points.
Anderson finished the game with 79 yards rushing on just seven attempts as the Bulls were able to run for 148 yards in the game. Sophomore Branden Oliver added 58 yards on 18 carries. Cornerback Najja Johnson had an excellent game for the Bulls, recording a career-high seven tackles and breaking up three passes. Senior linebacker Fred Branch added 10 tackles (including eight solo stops), while cornerback Courtney Lester added a career-high seven tackles and his first career sack.
BULL-etins: Buffalo's captains for the game were Tennessee natives Scott Pettigrew and Isaac Baugh as well as Terrell Jackson and Chazz Anderson…Anderson's 68-yard touchdown run was the longest run by a UB quarterback since Zach Maynard had a 41-yard burst vs. Miami in 2008…senior receiver Terrell Jackson become the school's all-time leader in both career kickoff returns and return yardage…Jackson now has 80 career returns for 1,540 yards, passing the mark of Andre Forde (1999-2002)…the 87,758 fans was the second largest crowd Buffalo has ever played in front of, behind the 2007 game at Penn State (107,506) and just ahead of the 2006 crowd at Auburn (84,921).