Branden Oliver became the 13th running back in Mid-American Conference history to top 4,000 yards in career rushing during UB’s 49-24 loss to San Diego State Saturday in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Oliver ran 28 times for 114 yards, finishing his career with 4,049. He needed one rushing touchdown to match the school career record of 34 held by James Starks but scored instead on a 10-yard pass from Joe Licata. It was the one and only receiving TD in Oliver’s time with the Bulls.
“What I got here it felt impossible, to tell you the truth, from my freshman year just rushing for 300 yards and averaging like 2 yards a carry until now,” Oliver said. “I didn’t do it by myself. The great offensive line that I have. The defense that gets us the ball back.”
Khalil Mack needed just to share a tackle for loss to take sole possession of the FBS career record in the category. He didn’t get it. Mack was in on six tackles, second best on the team, but none of them came behind the line of scrimmage.
“I wouldn’t say they neutralized him,” UB coach Jeff Quinn said. “I wouldn’t say there’s anything in particular they did to Khalil. You know when 46 is on the field, you have to be aware of him, and I thought he stepped up his game again as he has his whole career.”
The Aztecs had schemes designed to minimize Mack’s disruptiveness. The times he made it to the backfield he was met by fullback Chad Young. The Bulls hadn’t encountered a fullback very often this season.
“We definitely knew who he was,” said SDSU tackle Bryce Quigley. “We made the game plan around him. He’s a great player though.”
Mack finishes his career with 75 career TFL and remains tied for the record Jason Babin of Western Michigan set from 2000-03.
Licata threw three touchdown passes covering 10 yards to Oliver, 23 yards to Alex Neutz and 10 yard to Fred Lee. Licata finished the season with 24 TD throws, one below the school record held by Drew Willy. Neutz’s TD reception extended his own school career record to 31.
Quinn has earned at least $32,500 in performance bonuses this season and could have received another $20,000 with a victory in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Quinn’s contract calls for a $5,000 bonus for achieving six regular-season victories and an additional $2,500 for each subsequent regular-season win. UB went 8-4 during the regular season.
Quinn receives $15,000 if UB gains a postseason bowl berth and an additional $20,000 if UB wins the bowl game. His contract also contains an attendance clause that awards him $7,500 if the Bulls home attendance average is at least 15,000, a figure UB exceeded with ease.
Another $10,000 in bonuses are tied to his team’s academic achievement. It is believed Quinn will earn those as well although that has not been verified. UB had a record team GPA of 2.812 in the spring of 2013. Wideout Alex Neutz (business) and defensive end Colby Way (computer engineering) are both two-time Academic All-MAC selections.
Quinn has a base salary of $250,000 and receives an additional $75,000 in compensation for media and public appearance considerations.
Quinn earned the bonuses although UB beat just one FBS team that finished this season with a winning record (Ohio). He has just two wins over FBS teams that finished with winning records during his four years at the helm of the program.
Quinn received a contract extension at the end of last season from Athletic Director Danny White.
SDSU coach Rocky Long squashed any idea of attempting a field goal during Friday’s press conference. The Aztecs had missed seven straight and hadn’t attempted one in four games. But he sent out kicker Wes Feer for a 44-yard attempt early in the first quarter and it never made it past the line of scrimmage. Mason Schreck was credited with the block although he may never have touched it before the ball hammered an offensive lineman.
Junior center Trevor Sales ditched uniform No. 71 Saturday and instead wore No. 56 in tribute to injured senior guard Jasen Carlson. Carlson suffered a nasty leg fracture that required surgery during the Oct. 19 victory over UMass. He’s making steady progress and is scheduled to have the bone-stabilizing materials removed in early January. ... Adam Redden topped UB with nine tackles, including a strip/sack.