FS Mark Graham

2002 Statistics

Coach: Jim Hofher
4-19, 2 years
2002 Record: 1-11
at Rutgers WON 34-11
at Minnesota LOST 17-41
at Ohio LOST 32-34
at Marshall LOST 21-66
UCF LOST 21-45
at Akron LOST 10-21
at Ball State LOST 21-41

2002 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2003 Outlook

Buffalo is taking steps forward in its slow transition from a mediocre I-AA program to I-A. But when they made the leap in 1999, the entire Mid-American Conference was trying to catch up to Marshall and was forced to upgrade its programs. That, more than anything, is why the Bulls have been hammered since joining the league. This is the most ambitious schedule in school history as the Bulls face the co-Big Ten champion in Iowa, Rutgers of the Big East and a future Big East member in Connecticut. They're also playing the top two teams in the MAC's West Division from a year ago in league favorite Northern Illinois and Toledo, not to mention all the opponents in the arduous East Division. Buffalo is still a young team - only four seniors are penciled in as starters - but a year older and somehow that has to translate into improved preparation and improved execution. "We've got a lot of hungry kids," Hofher said.

The running game should be much improved with Leeper and a young group of quality tailbacks, but unless Secky - or Piskorik - gains a measure of consistency and a playmaking wideout is developed, the offense will struggle once again. Defensively, the front seven returns but there's a lack of depth at linebacker and the solution at cornerback could come from a pair of walk-ons.

Another one-win season would be a mild shock but it could also place Hofher's job in jeopardy because the man who hired him, Bob Arkeilpane, is gone and a new athletic director should be in place sometime by 2004. As a former football player at nearby Canisius, interim athletic director Bill Maher, nevertheless, understands that building a I-A program from the ground floor is a marathon and not a race. Still, this team is still a year away from climbing out of the MAC East cellar and anything more than a three-win season would be gratifying.

Projected 2003 record: 2-10
TB Aaron Leeper
QB - 2.5 DL - 2
RB - 3 LB - 2.5
WR - 1 DB - 2
OL - 1.5 ..

Passing: Randall Secky, 421-204-13, 2015 yds., 12 TD

Rushing: Aaron Leeper, 235 att., 917 yds., 10 TD

Receiving: Aaron Leeper, 27 rec., 132 yds., 0 TD

Scoring: Aaron Leeper, 10 TD, 60 pts.

Punting: Randall Secky, 2 punts, 33.0 avg.

Kicking: Dallas Pelz, 9-13 FG, 8-13 PAT, 35 pts.

Tackles: Mark Graham, 89 tot., 65 solo

Sacks: Rob Schroeder, 4.5 sacks

Interceptions: Mark Graham, 6 for 72 yds.

Kickoff returns: Aaron Leeper, 13 ret., 16.8 avg.

Punt returns: none


OFFENSE: Chad Bartoszek-TE, Andre Forde-WR, Dan Lindsay-WR, Maurice Bradford-WR
DEFENSE: Ryan Buttles-LB, Kevin Concepcion-CB, Mike Lambert-CB, Scott McMahan-P

written by Rodney McKissic

Buffalo shifts from a more pass-oriented attack to more of a ground game to best utilize its talented, but young, fleet of tailbacks. It is a sensible move considering sophomore Aaron Leeper is not only Buffalo's best offensive weapon, but perhaps one of the premier tailbacks in the Mid-American Conference. Leeper, who won MAC freshman of the year honors in 2002, sophomore Dave Dawson, the Bulls' second-leading rusher, and redshirt freshmen Chris McDuffie, Steven King and Jared Patterson will also push Leeper for playing time. They should all enjoy productive seasons behind an offensive line, which returns everyone from last season.

Senior tackle Jeff Mills and junior guard Erik Zeppuhar have started the last 23 games, while junior Eric Weber started 11 games in 2001 before a knee injury sidelined him for all of last season. Sophomore Zach Mills should start at right tackle but will be pressed by a pair of newcomers: junior-college transfer Luke Johnson and 6-7, 308-pound Quenzell Smith, who transferred from Canisius College after the school disbanded its football program.

Where do we start on a program that was statistically one of the worst teams both offensively and defensively in the nation? Randall Secky returns at quarterback but he didn't overshadow anyone in his first season as starter and coach Jim Hofher may employ a two-quarterback system. Secky completed only 48.5 percent of his passes and finished with more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (12), and with Hofher intent on establishing more of a ground attack, look for Secky's 421 pass attempts to be trimmed by as many as 100.

Even Secky's playing time could be trimmed if sophomore P.J. Piskorik displays any of his spring practice promise. Piskorik missed all of last season to concentrate on academics, which may be the reason why Hofher is hesitant to give him that job full time. The logic behind playing two quarterbacks is with Secky being the better passer and Piskorik being the better runner, teams will be caught off-guard. Sophomore Mike Radon figured to be in the quarterback mix as well but felt a two-quarterback system wasn't suited for his talents and transferred to Division I-AA Southwest Missouri State.

Yet the fact remains quarterback is a huge question mark coming into camp because of inconsistency. At wide receiver the versatile Leeper, with 27 receptions, is the leading returning receiver but plays tailback, meaning Hofher must develop a go-to man from a group that includes sophomores Tim Dance and Gabe McClover, junior Matt Knueven, and senior Azzaam Stallsworth who, combined, caught only 47 passes. There is a chance that redshirt freshman Brian Watson could emerge as a playmaker because his size (6-5, 220) can potentially create matchup problems.


OT Zack Love


Returning Starters in bold
QB Randall Secky-Jr P.J. Piskorik-So
FB Ramon Guzman-So Jared Patterson-Fr
TB Aaron Leeper-So Dave Dawson-So
WR Matt Knueven-Jr Brian Watson-Fr
WR Tim Dance-So Gabe McClover-So
TE Tom Shaughnessy-Sr Chad Upshaw-Fr
OT Zack Love-So Luke Johnson-Jr
OG Alex Alvarez-Sr Dan Minocchi-Jr
C Eric Weber-Jr Kevin Dunn-Sr
OG Erik Zeppuhar-Jr Mike Schifano-So
OT Jeff Mills-Sr Terrance Miles-So
K Dallas Pelz-Sr Mike Baker-So



written by Rodney McKissic

Buffalo ranked 75th nationally in pass defense, ahead of such teams as Florida State (85th) and defending national champion Ohio State (95th). But some of the defense's struggles could be traced to the Bulls' inability to contain the run. Yet much like the offensive line, everyone returns here and at least eight players have some experience.

"Now a guy knows, 'I can go because I'm not going to have to play 60 plays,' " Hofher said. " 'I can absolutely explode.' "

Senior Demetrius Austrum will again start at one end and sophomore Phil Jacques, who had 36 tackles and a pair of sacks, will start at the other. Junior Anthony Andriano, who had a unit-best 41 tackles, figures to be in the mix. Sophomores Rob Schroeder and Bill Meholif return at tackle as well as senior Rashad Clark and junior Casey Russell.

At linebacker senior captain Lamar Wilcher, junior Rodney Morris and sophomore Bryan Cummings all return as starters, although senior Chris Clifton and sophomore Rich Sanders played well in the spring and figure to push the starters. Clifton, a hometown product and transfer from Rutgers, may have been the best of the bunch during the spring.

There are serious questions at cornerback. Three-year starter Mike Lambert is gone as is sophomore Kevin Concepcion, who is suspended indefinitely following his arrest stemming from a rape charge. Sophomore Gemara Williams, who started six games at strong safety, moved back to corner this spring, while redshirt freshmen Delando Bradford and Brandon Smith will compete at one corner.

While the line appears to be solid, depth is a problem at linebacker and only senior Obadiah Harris has experience. Overall, it remains to be seen whether this young group lost confidence last season.

Buffalo ranked 103rd in total defense and allowed 34 points or more eight times. During one benevolent five-game stretch the Bulls were outscored 221-87 and Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich threw for over 400 yards in the first half during a 66-21 Thundering Herd rout. That would leave any team's psyche devastated, especially one so young.


LB Lamar Wilcher


Returning Starters in bold
DE Phil Jacques-So Aaron Sanders-So
DT Rob Schroeder-So Casey Russell-Jr
DT Rashad Clark-Sr Bill Meholif-So
DE Demetrius Austrum-Sr Anthony Andriano-Jr
OLB Bryan Cummings-So James Vann-Fr
ILB Lamar Wilcher-Sr Obadiah Harris-Sr
OLB Rodney Morris-Jr Chris Clifton-Sr
CB Angel Baines-So Michael Arroyo-Fr
CB Gemara Williams-So Delando Bradford-Fr
SS J.J. Gibson-Jr Ryan Sherwood-Ericsson-Fr
FS Mark Graham-Sr ..
P Dominic Milano-Jr Dallas Pelz-Sr




Senior Dallas Pelz, who was inconsistent all season, and sophomore Mike Baker will compete through fall camp at kicker. The new punter will be junior college transfer Dominic Milano, who averaged 41.6 yards per punt, and is already considered one of the best in the Mid-American Conference.