It was a noble effort against Minnesota as the Buffalo Bulls dropped their season opener, 17-7, to the Gophers in Minneapolis on Thursday.
The Bulls will look to forget the loss but build on their performance as they travel to take on Army West Point at noon on Saturday at Michie Stadium.
Buffalo’s performance against Minnesota certainly caught the attention of Army coach Jeff Monken.
“You look at what they did against Minnesota last week,” Monken said when he met with members of the media earlier this week. “There’s a Big Ten team that has been to multiple bowl games in a row. Buffalo has good players, and to see them play so well defensively against Minnesota I’m sure was very encouraging for them.
“Although they didn’t score the number of points that I’m sure they would’ve liked, they did a good job moving the ball. I’m very impressed with their quarterback and skill players from a year ago and their ability to make plays. That last drive against us was purely them willing it to happen. They’ve returned a lot of the same guys this year, which is pretty scary.”
That impressive quarterback was Tyree Jackson, who picked up his first win as a starter last season against Army West Point. Last year when the teams met at UB Stadium, Jackson helped rally the Bulls, erasing a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 23-20 overtime win.
That’s something the Black Knights have not forgotten.
“Going into overtime last year like we did and lose was just gut wrenching,” Monken said. “Buffalo has a lot of guys back from that team a year ago and we do too. I’m sure it will be a great football game. They are a very well coached team and I am very impressed watching them on film.”
Khalil Hodge is the reigning Mid-American Conference East Player of the Week after recording a career-high 20 tackles at Minnesota. Offensively, it was an impressive debut for Anthony Jackson who had 11 catches for 140 yards and a touchdown. His 11 catches were two shy of the single-game school record. Jackson is a junior who redshirted last year after transferring from Iowa Western Community College.
The Black Knights, meanwhile, are coming off a 64-6 home victory over Fordham. It was the second most points scored in program history in a season opener with 21 of those points coming in the first quarter.