Share this article

print logo

UB backs warm Gill

After his team beat Ohio University on Tuesday night, Turner Gill conducted an interview outside the University at Buffalo's locker room and was asked by a shivering reporter if he was cold.

"Not at all," the Bulls coach said. "I feel pretty good now."

Adrenaline is pumping high in Amherst now that the Bulls have put together back-to-back victories for the first time this season. That leaves UB one win from matching its Division I-A high of five wins and two from becoming bowl eligible.

Gill acknowledged that his team's recent success, which includes the 32-19 win over the Bobcats that kept the Bulls in the hunt for the Mid-American Conference's East Division title, is all the more satisfying considering the path.

Just weeks ago, UB (4-4, 2-2) was coming off a crushing overtime loss to Western Michigan in which it blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead. On Tuesday, the Bulls faced a team with a good defense while playing in wind, cold and rain.

But the Bulls, winners for the first time in Peden Stadium, were mentally prepared going in.

"This whole week of practice I felt that our guys were on edge," Gill said. "It was a 10-day deal and everyone was anxious and ready to play and so we played well in the first half. The second half was just as good because we handled adversity."

Most of all, Gill is pleased with the emergence of the running game, which had been inconsistent all season and virtually nonexistent in a 27-24 win against Army on Oct. 18. Junior tailback James Starks enjoyed one of his best performances at UB with a season-high 185 yards rushing and two touchdowns.

Complementing Starks was sophomore tailback Brandon Thermilus, who moved up the depth chart after junior Mario Henry suffered a knee injury against Army and gained 73 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown.

"Brandon is very strong," Starks said. "He never complains about the time he's getting and he could be starting, too."

It is not lost on Gill that for the resurgence to continue the Bulls will have to beat Miami (Ohio), a team UB has yet to defeat since joining the MAC in 1999, at UB Stadium on Election Day.

"This is a great momentum builder, to win two in a row," Gill said. "Now it's an exciting opportunity for us and that's all you ever want. We got what we wanted and that's to control our own destiny and we'll see how our team responds."

e-mail: rmckissic@buffnews.com

There are no comments - be the first to comment