2022 Buffalo Bulls Preview

by Matt Fargo

Buffalo Bulls

2021-22 Season Record 4-8 (2-6 MAC East) - 3-8-1 ATS - 6-6-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 4
Defense - 6

Overview

Buffalo had a good little run going starting in 2017 where it went 6-6, but no bowl game, and then put up three more solid seasons where it went 24-10 and made three straight bowl appearances. This included an undefeated COVID shortened regular season in 2020 where it lost in the MAC Championship but closed with a bowl win and things were looking up. However, head coach Lance Leipold left the program and took a lot of his staff with him to Kansas and Buffalo made an interesting hire with Maurice Linguist who came in with no coaching experience higher than a defensive backs coach. It showed as following a season opening win against Wagner, the Bulls went 3-8 the rest of the way with two of those wins coming by just one point. There is now a lot to replace on both sides of the ball and a program that was on the upswing now has to look for answers.

Offense

The offense was average last season as it finished No. 63 in the country at 410.6 ypg with a balanced attack but it had its share of inconsistencies in the passing game. Now, the Bulls have to basically start over and it begins with quarterback Matt Myers who brings a rushing aspect but he has to become a more consistent passer as in limited action last year, he completed only 54.4 percent of his passes while throwing four touchdowns and five interceptions. He does inherit two of the top three receivers from last season but getting them the ball could be an issue. Buffalo allowed only 16 sacks last season which was tied for tenth fewest in the country but the offensive line is now in a complete rebuild. The Bulls have always possessed a solid running game but 1,000-yard rusher Dylan McDuffie is gone and while Ron Cook, Jr. has potential, it drops off quick after that.

Defense

Buffalo allowed more than 30 points only five times last season but when it did, it was bad, and the Bulls have enough pieces in place for the unit to improve. They averaged 3.1 sacks per game last season which was No. 16 in the country and they bring a good core back led by nose tackle Daymond Williams, who led the team with 6.5 sacks, and linebacker James Patterson, who led the team with 114 tackles and should be a first team MAC selection. The 4-2-5 scheme does have a lot of depth up front with eight upperclassmen in the two-deep rotation but the backend will have to make significant strides, especially at the corners. Buffalo was decent against the pass only because they were getting gashed in the running game and the Bulls had only three interceptions, tied for second fewest in the nation, and the 11 total takeaways were No. 118 and that has to improve.

2022 Season Outlook

It was not a good start for Linguist in his first season and things are not looking good in year two playing in what looks to be a better conference overall. The Bulls bring back some key veteran players but there are just too many holes to fill for them to make a big jump. The schedule could not set up worse for an inexperienced team as five of the first seven games are on the road and while the Bulls end with a favorable home slate, it will be too late. They have just five home games and four are against teams with winning records from last season. Buffalo opens the season at Maryland where it is an early three-touchdown underdog and then has its home opener against Holy Cross followed by four of the next five on the road, the only winnable game being at UMASS. The Bulls 5.5 O/U win total is a tad lofty considering the four wins from last season and a tougher slate this year. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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