2008 Buffalo Bulls
2009 International Bowl
Connecticut 38 … Buffalo 20
Connecticut overcame five first half fumbles with 358 rushing yards and a stifling defense that held Buffalo to just 24 rushing yards and 237 yards overall. Buffalo was able to take advantage of the early mistakes to get up 20-10 helped by a fumble recovery off a muffed punt by Ray Anthony Long for a score, and a four-yard James Starks touchdown run off a fumble on the ensuing kickoff after a A.J. Principe 29-yard field goal game UB the lead. But it was all UConn from then on scoring 28 unanswered points with Tyler Lorenzen running for two short touchdowns and hitting Steve Brouse for a four-yard score. The Husky defense finished things off with Dahna Deleston picking off a Willy pass for a 100-yard touchdown.
Player of the Game: Connecticut RB Donald Brown ran 29 times for 261 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 29-43, 213 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: James Starks, 14-25, 1 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 8-90
Connecticut - Passing: Tyler Lorenzen, 4-6, 49 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Donald Brown, 29-261, 1 TD. Receiving: Kashif Moore, 1-18
Inside The Box Score ... 5 Thoughts on the International Bowl … Passing yards: UB 213 – UConn 49 … Rushing yards: UConn 358 – UB 24 … UB's Davonte Shannon made 15 tackles and a tackle for loss … Third down conversions: UConn 4-of-9 – UB 2-of-17 … Average yards per kickoff return UConn 25.6 – UB 15.7 … Fumbles: UConn 6, lost five – UB 0.
Aug. 28 UTEP W 42-17
Aug. 30 at Rutgers L 38-3
2008 MAC CHAMPIONSHIP
Buffalo 42 ... Ball State 24
Ball State rolled up 503 yards of total offense, but five turnovers with major fumbling problems, helped Buffalo pull away to a stunning blowout. Up 17-14 and driving for an almost certain third quarter touchdown, Ball State suffered utter disaster as Nate Davis had the ball knocked out of his hands, Mike Newton picked it up and returned it 92 yards for a UB touchdown and the lead. Just over three minutes later, Sherrod Lott picked up a Ball State fumbled snap and took it 74 yards for a score. The Cardinals tried to mount a late comeback with a 22-yard Louis Johnson touchdown catch, but UB recovered the onside kick and took it 25 yards in four plays with James Starks running for a one-yard score to put the game on ice. Naaman Roosevelt caught touchdown passes from two, 39 and eight yards out for the Bulls to keep pace early before the defense took over with the takeaways. MiQuale Lewis ran for 131 yards with two short touchdown runs.
Player of the game: Buffalo WR Naaman Roosevelt caught ten passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 19-28, 206 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 19-82, 1 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 10-116, 3 TD
Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 31-48, 351 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 30-131, 2 TD. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 13-141
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Maybe there is something to that whole Team of Destiny thing. Ball State rolled at will on the UB defense, but five turnovers with the two key fumble returns for scores change the entire game and made what appeared to be a Cardinal blowout into a Buffalo 24-point win. Not enough praise can be heaped on Turner Gill and the job he and his staff have done to make, arguably, the worst program in college football a MAC champion in just two years. This was certainly a flawed team, but the right players were in place on offense with the trio of Drew Willy, James Starks and Naaman Roosevelt the best in the QB-RB-WR combo in the MAC, but this game was about the defense that bent and bent and bent, but came up big when it had to. Gill wasn't getting a slew of offers before, but now he has to start getting a little more attention after this special season.
Kent State 24 … Buffalo 21
Kent State got a 25-yard Jonathan Simpson touchdown catch with under six minutes to play, and the D held on as Buffalo lost before going off to play in the MAC title game. The Bulls didn't need this game, but they still tried throughout with Drew Willy and James Starks each running for short scores and Naaman Roosevelt catching a 23-yard scoring pass for a fourth quarter lead. But the Kent State running game proved to be too much to overcome as Julian Edelman and Eugene Jarvis each ran for over 150 yards. Jarvis ran for scores from 50 and 12 yards out.
Player of the game: Kent State QB Julian Edelman completed 13-of-23 passes for 114 yards and a touchdown, and ran 19 times for 167 yards
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 21-31, 240 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 24-136, 1 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 8-124, 1 TD
Kent State - Passing: Julian Edelman, 13-23, 114 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Julian Edelman, 19-167. Receiving: Shawn Bayes, 4-35
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It would've been nice to go into the MAC title game on a roll, but the loss to Kent State really didn't matter. The Golden Flashes played like it was their bowl game and UB didn't always have the same crispness it showed throughout the second half of the year. There were some positives to come out of the game. Naaman Roosevelt set the UB single season record for catches, and James Starks became the school's greatest rusher. There are bigger fish to fry next week.
Buffalo 40 ... Bowling Green 34 2OT
In the second overtime, Bowling Green went for it on fourth and goal from the two, but Tyler Sheehan's pass fell incomplete. Buffalo took advantage of the opportunity with a 25-yard James Starks touchdown run to clinch the East and secure a bowl bid. Bowling Green held a 27-7 lead early in the third quarter, but Buffalo rallied with a 12-yard James Starks touchdown run and two Drew Willy touchdown passes in the final 2:29 including a five-yarder to Naaman Roosevelt with 37 seconds to play. Tyler Sheehan and Anthony Turner each ran for two touchdowns for the Falcons in regulation, and Sheehan his Corey Partridge for a 23-yard touchdown in the overtime.
Player of the game: Buffalo QB Drew Willy completed 29-of-41 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns with an interception, and he ran for a score
Stat Leaders: Bowling Green - Passing: Tyler Sheehan, 24-32, 240 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tyler Sheehan, 21-70, 2 TD. Receiving: Freddie Barnes, 10-107
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 29-41, 297 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: James Starks, 14-62, 2 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 10-118, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It's been a fun ride under head coach Turner Gill, but he'll be certain to be off to a bigger job after his incredible job done in leading UB to a MAC title game. It also helped to have a quarterback like Drew Willy. Veteran teams win close games, and UB has been able to pull off three overtime wins on the way to the MAC East title. Bowling Green had the Bulls dead, but Willy got the offense going, even with RB James Starks held in check, and rallied the team to the win. Now its about make a statement with a strong record, and next week against Kent State could be tough unless the defense can handle QB Julian Edelman. If BG's Tyler Sheehan could run against UB, the Edelman should go ballistic.
Buffalo 43 ... Akron 40 4OT
Richie Smith recovered a Chris Jacquemain fumble in the fourth overtime and A.J. Principe nailed a 40-yard field goal to give Buffalo the win in the final game in the Rubber Bowl. The two star running backs played as well as advertised as Akron's Dennis Kennedy scored four times with a one-yard run with 23 seconds to play to force overtime. On the other side, UB's James Starks did a little of everything with three touchdowns and 13 catches for 90 yards. In OT, Drew Willy scored on a fourth down one-yard run to give UB the lead, but Akron answered with a four-yard Dashan Miller catch. The two teams traded field goals in the second overtime and Starks and Kennedy one-yard runs in the third. Buffalo held to to the ball for 38:21.
Player of the game: Buffalo RB James Starks ran 37 times for 151 yards and three touchdowns and led the team with 13 catches for 90 yards.
Stat Leaders: Akron- Passing: Chris Jacquemain, 20-38, 295 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Dennis Kennedy, 25-142, 3 TD. Receiving: Andre Jones, 8-99
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 27-39, 252 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 37-151, 3 TD. Receiving: James Starks, 13-90
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Buffalo has the MAC East there for the taking, just needing to beat Bowling Green next week, to make the turnaround complete under Turner Gill. The win over Akron showed how valuable James Starks is, while Drew Willy did a little of everything right with his legs as well as his arm. But this overtime win belonged to Starks and the ground game, who kept up with Dennis Kennedy on big play after big play. Coming out and owning the ball for 13:15 of the first quarter and for 23 minutes in the first half kept the UB defense rested, and it mattered in the long game. Can UB continue to produce in what should be another shootout against Bowling Green next week.
Buffalo 37 … Miami University 17
Buffalo got up early and had few problems the rest of the way as Drew Willy ran for a one-yard score and threw two touchdown passes including a 34-yarder to Naaman Roosevelt. Miami hung around with a few key turnovers and touchdown runs from Clay Belton and J.R. Taylor, but Buffalo always had an answer. James Starks took over late with a one yard run and a 62-yard scoring dash as part of a 16-point run to close things out.
Player of the game: Buffalo RB James Starks ran 26 times for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Miami - Passing: Clay Belton, 17-30, 178 yds
Rushing: J.R. Taylor, 16-69, 1 TD. Receiving: Dustin Woods, 9-82
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 18-29, 245 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 26-177, 2 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 8-148, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Buffalo has managed to be calm, cool and collected down the backstretch of season and is able to stay alive in the MAC race by answering every challenge. Miami University was able to get the offense moving a bit and hung around even though everything was clicking for UB, and then the Buffalo defense took over, along with the running of James Starks. The Bulls didn't control the second half clock, but it just seemed like it with the way the UB defense kept making plays. With time off to relax and rest up a bit, it's a three-game run to the East title starting at Akron.
Buffalo 32 ... Ohio 19
James Starks started the scoring with a three-yard touchdown run on Buffalo's first drive, and he put the Bobcats away with a 52-yard scoring dash midway through the fourth. Ohio moved the ball, outgaining UB 417 yards to 393, but it turned it over five times. Boo Jackson threw two touchdown passes including a 59-yarder to Brandon Peterson and he added an eight-yard scoring run, but UB never trailed. Drew Willy threw a nine-yard touchdown pass to Naaman Roosevelt and Brandon Thermilus ran for a three-yard score to keep the Bulls ahead.
Player of the game: Buffalo RB James Starks ran 30 times for 185 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught a pass for 16 yards.
Stat Leaders: Ohio - Passing: Boo Jackson, 20-29, 290 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Boo Jackson, 9-70, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon Peterson, 6-97, 1 TD
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 14-23, 116 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 30-185, 2 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 7-58, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Bulls had a few problems on defense against the Ohio offense, and struggled to stop Boo Jackson and the short passing game, but the D swarmed and forced several key mistakes and the offense took advantage. James Starks showed why he's such a difference maker with a workhorse effort to keep the pressure off Drew Willy, who was fine, but didn't play his best game. UB is still in the hunt to do big things with Miami University up next, and the more Starks can rumble, the better.
Buffalo 27 … Army 24 OT
Buffalo got two Drew Willy touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to force overtime. In the OT, A.J. Principe hit a 34-yard field goal for the Bulls, Army's Matthew Campbell missed a 51-yard try, and UB pulled off the win. Army got a big day from RB Collin Mooney, who rumbled for 172 yards with touchdown runs from three and 81 yards out in the third quarter. The Knights only completed 4-of-6 passes, but they ran for 320 yards.
Player of the game: Buffalo S Davonte Shannon made 20 tackles with two tackles for loss
Stat Leaders: Army - Passing: Chip Bowden, 4-6, 52 yds
Rushing: Collin Mooney, 16-172, 2 TD. Receiving: Damion Hunter, 2-21
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 25-35, 279 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Brandon Thermilus 17-59, 1 TD. Receiving: Ernest Jackson, 9-134, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Having a veteran quarterback like Drew Willy made all the difference against Army. When the Bulls needed a big comeback and a steady hand, he provided it. The Army ground game has found itself and is cranking out big yards against everyone, but it would've been nice if the Bull defense could've done a little bit more early on. The three-game slide was stopped, and how a win over Ohio is a must to have any hopes of winning the MAC.
Western Michigan 34 … Buffalo 28 OT
Western Michigan forced overtime on a Jamarko Simmons nine-yard touchdown catch with five seconds to play. Buffalo got the ball first, but QB Drew Willy was intercepted by Louis Delmas on a tipped pass, and Brandon Ledbetter ended it on a two-yard touchdown catch. Buffalo had a 21-3 lead late in the third quarter on James Starks touchdown runs from six, 66 and two yards out, and then it was all WMU. Tim Hiller threw the ball 63 times with four touchdown passes in the final 9:43 and overtime. The Broncos only managed two John Potter field goals over the first 50 minutes.
Player of the game: Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller completed 42-of-63 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 17-34, 157 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: James Starks, 28-125, 3 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 4-44
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 42-63, 345 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon West, 11-59. Receiving: Schneider Julien, 12-111, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Buffalo's dream season keeps hitting disappointment after disappointment. The Hail Mary win over Temple was the one high point before the three-game losing streak, and while the loss to Central Michigan last week hurt, the collapse against Western Michigan was different. The offense has too many veterans to not have been able to go on a few big drives to slow down the momentum in the fourth quarter, but couldn't close. Now the Bulls get a week off from MAC play with a hot Army coming to town.
Central Michigan 27 … Buffalo 25
A.J. Principe's 46-yard game-winning field goal attempt hit off the upright with no time left on the clock to foil a late Buffalo rally, Central Michigan's Ontario Sneed ran for a six-yard score with 2:58 to play make it a nine-points game, but Buffalo answered with a 65-yard touchdown catch from James Starks and a recovered on-side kick leading to the missed attempt. Sneed also ran for a 16-yard touchdown and Starks also scored on a two-yard run in the second half. CMU outgained UB 208 yards to 66 on the ground.
Player of the game: Central Michigan QB Dan LeFevour completed 21-0f-26 passes for 152 yards, and he ran 16 times for 100 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Central Michigan - Passing: Dan LeFevour, 21-26, 152 yds
Rushing: Dan LeFevour, 16-100, 1 TD. Receiving: Antonio Brown, 9-41
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 23-33, 270 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: James Starkes, 22-94, 1 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 7-80, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It's hardly a moral victory at this point for a Buffalo program that's thinking MAC title, but the Bulls stood toe-to-toe with the defending champion, Central Michigan, and missed out on the big road win by inches when A.J. Principe's game-winning field goal attempt hit the upright. Even so, it was a well played game with the UB defense doing a good job against the CMU passing game, but Dan LeFevour proved to be too tough running the ball. Now the Bulls get a week off before facing Western Michigan and Army at home.
Missouri 42 ... Buffalo 21
Missouri kept screwing up to keep Buffalo in the game, giving the ball away three times in Bull territory and having a few problems on special teams, but the offense made sure there wouldn't be any problems. Chase Daniel completed a Big 12-record 20 straight passes on his way to a career-high 439 yards with a 27-yard touchdown pass to Danario Alexander and a four-yarder to Chase Coffman, but it was Jeremy Maclin who kept things moving with 14 catches for 168 yards and a 16-yard touchdown dash. But Buffalo stayed alive on a kickoff return for a touchdown from Ernest Jackson, who also caught a 32-yard touchdown pass and ran for a three-yard score. Up just six late in the third quarter, Daniel went to work on two quick touchdown drives to pull away. Mizzou LB Sean Weatherspoon made 20 tackles and Brock Christopher came up with 12.
Player of the game: Missouri QB Chase Daniel completed 36-of-43 passes for 439 yards and two touchdowns, and WR Jeremy Maclin caught 14 passes for 168 yards and rushed twice for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 22-40, 237 yds, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Rushing: Mario Henry, 16-60. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 9-87
Missouri - Passing: Chase Daniel, 36-43, 439 yds, 2 TDs
Rushing: Derrick Washington, 18-89, 2 TDs. Receiving: Jeremy Maclin, 14-168
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Buffalo was in an impossible situation at Missouri, but the team came through as well as it could've hoped as it hung around with the high-powered Tigers into the fourth quarter. No, the defense didn't slow down Chase Daniel and the Missouri offensive machine, and no, the offense didn't get going when it had to in the second half, but it was still a good overall performance in an unwinnable situation. Now it's back to business against another spread offense, Central Michigan's. Win in Mount Pleasant, and then it'll truly be time to get excited.
Buffalo 30 … Temple 28
Drew Willy and Naaman Roosevelt connected on a 35-yard Hail Mary as time ran out to give Buffalo the thrilling win to cap off a terrific game. Temple marched 74 yards in 1:44 with Adam DiMichele hitting Bruce Francis on an 11-yard pass for the lead with 38 seconds to play, but Willy was able to take the Bulls the 60 yards in five plays for the winning score. DiMichele threw three touchdown passes and kept the offense moving with his legs, but Willy kept pace with two short touchdown throws.
Player of the game: Buffalo QB Drew Willy completed 29-of-42 passes for 348 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 29-42, 348 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon Thermilus, 14-42, 1 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 8-132, 1 TD
Temple - Passing: Adam DiMichele, 24-33, 285 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Adam DiMichele, 12-51. Receiving: Dy'Onne Crudup, 5-41, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... There are games that turn seasons around and games that define programs. This win over Temple might have been both. Drew Willy was in total command of the offense, and while it took a miraculous Hail Mary play to pull out the win, the offense was working before the big touchdown pass. The defense didn't do enough to generate pressure and it was gassed on Temple's final scoring drive, but it did a solid job against the run.
Pitt 27 … Buffalo 16
Pitt survived a second straight tough game against a MAC team thanks to three short LeSean McCoy touchdown runs and two Conor Lee field goals from 21 and 42 yards out. Buffalo held a 17-16 lead in the fourth quarter helped by a 39-yard Brett Hamlin scoring grab, but the Pitt defense stiffened in the fourth quarter and the offense came through with two late scoring drives. Pitt gained 352 yards to UB's 348.
Player of the game: Pitt RB LeSean McCoy ran 20 times for 93 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 21-34, 223 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: James Starks, 20-97 Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 6-65
Pitt - Passing: Bill Stull, 22-33, 241 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: LeSean McCoy, 20-93, 3 TD. Receiving: T.J. Porter, 6-57
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... While Buffalo might have lost to Pitt, it has to be considered a major step forward that it's a legitimate disappointment that this wasn't a win. The offense moved the ball extremely well on the Panther defense, but it couldn't come up with the big drive in the fourth quarter to answer two go-ahead scores. Even so, that the team can be this competitive shows that this is going to be a different season. Yes, Buffalo is good.
Buffalo 42 ... UTEP 17
Drew Willy completed a career-high four touchdown passes including a 68-yarder in the first quarter and a 56-yarder in the third to Naaman Roosevelt as Buffalo won in a surprising laugher. UTEP tied it at 14 in the first half on a one-yard Terrell Jackson run and a two-yard Jonny Moore catch, but couldn't keep up as the Bull offense did everything right. Brandon Thermilus added two fourth quarter touchdown runs for the Bulls.
Player of the game: Buffalo QB Drew Willy completed 10 of 16 passes for 221 yards and four touchdowns
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 20-37, 199 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Terrell Jackson, 18-67, 1 TD. Receiving: Jamar Hunt, 6-86
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 10-16, 221 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 31-179. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 4-154, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Is this really Buffalo? UTEP might not exactly be LSU on defense, but this is still an athletic team that the Bulls cranked out 221 passing yards and 263 rushing yards on. Drew Willy looked and played like a leader who can coolly and calmly lead the attack to big things in the win, while James Starks was a solid workhorse on the ground. Naaman Roosevelt is a home run hitter, and he showed it off with his first touchdown catches. He needs to keep adding that spark on a weekly basis to keep defenses on their heels.
2008 Recruiting Class
Star of the Class
Dalonte Wallace LB 6-2 200 Temple Hills, MD/Eleanor Roosevelt
Physical athlete with a great motor...a two-year team captain for head coach Rick Houchens at Eleanor Roosevelt High School...registered 15 sacks, 14.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and an interception his senior season...named first-team All-County, All-League, All-Extra and second-team All-Met as a senior...named first-team All-League and All-Extra as a junior...chose Buffalo for "a chance to be a part of a rising program."
Potential Instant Impact Players
Jerry Davis QB 6-1 200 Fresno, CA/Edison
Ray Anthony Long LB 6-1 195 Houston,
Great overall athlete who played safety and linebacker at Nimitz High School for head coach David Suggs...as a senior totaled 60 tackles, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries (one for a TD)...named first-team All-District as a senior and second-team All-District as a junior...invited to play in the Space City Classic All-Star Game...chose Buffalo because of the "great coaches and family environment.
Rest of the Class
Isaac Baugh DB 6-1 180 Spring Hill, TN/Independence
Imani Chatman LB 6-3 215 Frederick, MD/Urbana
Jose Cortes OL 6-5 285 El Cajon, CA/Valhalla
Obi Ezemma* LB 6-0 215 Spring Valley, NY/Ramapo
Zach Maynard QB 6-3 185 Greensboro, NC/Grimsley
Steven Means DE 6-3 220 Buffalo, NY/Grover Cleveland
Willie Moseley DE 6-4 225 Sandston, VA/Varina
Gokhan Ozkan OL 6-7 300 Staten Island, NY/Bishop Ford
Scott Pettigrew LB 6-2 210 Thompson's Station, TN/Independence
Mark Richardson LB 6-2 220 Miami, FL/Hialeah
David Skrip OL 6-3 285 Albion, NY/Albion
Richie Smith* DT 6-3 300 Pen Argyl, PA/Pen Argyl
Dustin Tait LB 6-1 225 Knoxville, TN/Knoxville Catholic
Jaleel Verser DE 6-6 225 Lansing, MI/Everett
Graham Whinery OL 6-3 260 Arlington, TX/Martin
Darius Willis LB/QB 6-3 220 Houston, TX/Dwight D. Eisenhower
Joel Wilson DT 6-3 280 Garland, TX/Garland
2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: Everyone returns. The program hasn't exactly had anything to get fired up about, but Turner Gill has everything pointed in the right direction coming off a tremendous stepping-stone season that should lead the way to a possible MAC East title. Ten starters return on offense and eight are back on D, and all that experience should mean more wins in close games, even fewer mistakes, and the best season in the program's history.
Why to be grouchy: Let's ease up the expectations just a wee bit. Yeah, there are several veterans coming back, but it's not like the offense has a ton of top playmakers and if the turnover margin isn't in the team's favor again, there might not be as much overall production. The MAC is much, much better this year, and no one will take the Bulls lightly anymore.
The number one thing to work on is: Get more pop to the offense. The ground game was fine, and James Starks is a great-looking young prospect, but he needs more room to move and there has to be more big plays from the passing game. With so much experience, there's no excuse to not have a more efficient attack.
Biggest offensive loss: C Jamey Richard
Biggest defensive loss: DE Trevor Scott
Best returning offensive player: QB Drew Willy, Jr.
Best returning defensive player: FS Davonte Shannon, Soph.