UB Gameday: Five Things to Watch vs. Kent State
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. at UB Stadium.
Radio 1520 AM. Online: ESPN3.
1. UB run defense. The Bulls played sound run defense at Boston College last week, despite the final score (35-3). Kent State ambushed Akron a bit last week by starting Nick Holley at QB. That was a surprise. UB should be ready to play assignment sound and contain his option runs. Holley rushed for 117 yards last week. If he rushes for more than 80, UB is in trouble.
2. Tyree extending plays. Kent State likes to play man coverage. UB has not proven it can beat teams downfield through the air. You have to think Kent will show UB’s pass game a lack of respect. If UB QB Tyree Jackson can elude some of Kent’s blitzers, some of UB’s receivers could break open late in the down.
3. No. 18 in white. Watch for Kent State safety Nate Holley, the twin brother of Kent’s QB. Nate Holley was first-team all-Mid-American Conference last season. He plays like his hair is on fire.
4. Big middle. Kent’s defensive tackles are big. Nose tackle Chris Fairchild (50) is a fifth-year senior who’s 316 pounds. DT Jon Cunningham (90) is a junior who’s 295. Let’s see how UB tries to attack them in the run game. Akron carried 32 times for 141 yards vs. Kent. UB could use numbers approaching those.
5. Good corner play. With Nick Holley running the read option all day, look for Kent to try to fool UB’s corners with some double moves and take some shots deep. Boise Ross and Cameron Lewis need to be disciplined. Force Holley to make perfect throws to the perimeter.
There’s probably nothing UB could have done last week to have a good offensive day against Boston College. The Eagles’ defense is just that good. However, UB’s 67-yard total was a disappointing surprise to all the Bulls. UB offensive coordinator Andy Kotelnicki said he was hoping UB could have success running some hurry-up offense. But the Bulls never could get enough first downs to execute that idea.
Kotelnicki on the B.C. game: “Quite honestly, I try to forget it. You look at it, you learn from it. You go in with a game plan of what you have to do to attack it, so you re-shift your focus in some areas. When you emphasize one part of the offense, usually something else gets minimized in terms of preparation on what you have to do to win the game. So much of what we thought we had to do to win the game was involved with rhythm, and we couldn’t get any rhythm.”
UB center James O’Hagan took an upbeat view:
“It didn’t go the way we wanted but I think it was a valuable experience to go play a Power 5 school with as much talent as BC has,” O’Hagan said. “It was a good experience, especially for a younger guy like Tomas (Jack-Kurdyla). His first ever action in a game came against an ACC opponent, and I think he really did a good job.”