Paul Peck's Bull Session: Pittsburgh
Each week the voice of UB Football, Paul Peck, will preview Buffalo's upcoming game in his "Bull Session." The play-by-play veteran breaks down this week's opponent, Pittsburgh.
Buffalo vs. Pittsburgh
The schedule gets no easier for the Bulls. An off week from the always tough MAC brings in the Panthers from the Big East. Although they have struggled to a 2-4 record under new coach Paul Chryst, they are still loaded with Western Pennsylvania talent. This is the second straight meeting with Pitt, and the fourth in the last five years. The Bulls have made plays in every game, and in two of them, trailed by one score into the fourth quarter.
Bullseye on: Buffalo Offense
Northern Illinois was as physical a team as I've seen this season, including Georgia. So the trouble on offense was as much to do with the Huskies talent as anything…NIU shut down the Bulls running game by bringing both their safeties close to the line. If Pitt tries to do that, the Bulls should be able to do some damage with the passing game…I would expect a bounce-back performance from the U.B. offensive line. Those guys don't strike me as the kind of players who allow themselves or each other to play like that two weeks in a row…Devon Hughes' big game is a very good sign. He had career-high numbers (9 catches, 105 yards) at NIU, and that should spark him to become that much-needed second receiving threat behind Alex Neutz…former walk-on receiver John Dunmore had his first 3 catches late in the NIU game. He looked good running crisp routes and showing good hands…The Bulls offense now has 11 TD drives of 75 yards or more…Pitt's key defensive players are DT Aaron Donald and safeties Jarred Holley and Jason Hendricks…Holley and Hendricks are the team's top two tacklers…defensive backs coach Matt House was a UB assistant coach in 2006 & 2007…starting outside linebacker Manny Williams is out with an injury.
Bullseye on: Buffalo Defense
With another 10 tackles, Khalil Mack has moved within five of the team lead, despite playing one less game. He remains tied for the national lead in tackles for loss per game. Khalil is now three shy of the school career record for TFL's held by Vince Canosa…The Bulls lead the MAC in pass defense, giving up just 206 yards per game…they will be tested by the Pitt offense and quarterback Tino Sunseri. He's on a stretch of 8 TD and 1 interception in his last four games…Running his third different offense in the last three years, Sunseri appears much more comfortable in Paul Chryst's Wisconsin-style offense…he is 8th in the NCAA in passing efficiency…Sunseri graduated from the same Pittsburgh high school as Dan Marino. Central Catholic is located just a block from the Pitt campus…backup offensive lineman Shane Johnson's father is a Buffalo native who played basketball at Buffalo State College…The Panthers feature two very good and very tall receivers. Mike Shanahan is six-foot-five, Devin Street is six-foot-four…watch for dynamic freshman running back Rushel (pronounced Russell) Shell to see plenty of carries. At Hopewell High School in Western PA, Shell rushed for over 9,000 yards and 110 touchdowns. Both are Pennsylvania state records. He's from the same high school as Panthers legend Tony Dorsett.
Bullseye on: True Blue Fans
A big crowd is expected for Homecoming and the True Blue Days….that should really make it a home field advantage for the Bulls…I can't wait to see how loud they are, and how much it will fire-up the Bulls.
Please join me, color analyst Jim Kubiak, sideline reporter Nick Mendola and host Scott Wilson for the broadcast on the Bulls Football Network. Our pregame show starts at 2:30pm.