Bulls' Osborn has breakout performance against Eastern Michigan

K.J. Osborn adds more to UB's dynamic offense

Jon Simon
September 18, 2018 - 3:06 pm

Photo: Paul Hokanson - UBBulls.com


Before the 2018 season began, there was no question that this year’s UB Bulls football team would have a lot of talent. Throughout the summer, we saw the hype increase with players being added to watch lists and NFL scouts coming out to Bulls’ practices. Much of that attention and hype surrounded three players; quarterback Tyree Jackson, receiver Anthony Johnson and linebacker Khalil Hodge.

While these three guys have all had great starts to 2018, fans and, more importantly, other teams are starting to see this Bulls team has talent outside of the aforementioned trio.

Bulls’ wide receiver K.J. Osborn is probably not the biggest target on most Bulls opponents’ radars, considering there is an All-American receiver they need to worry about in Johnson. However, in last Saturday’s win over Eastern Michigan, Osborn sent a message to MAC defenses that there is plenty more to UB’s offense than Johnson and Jackson.

Osborn tallied three touchdown catches against Eastern, the third one being a 75-yarder that came on a laser throw from Tyree Jackson. Osborn also led the Bulls in catches with seven along with 188 receiving yards, the fourth most in a single game in program history. The junior’s breakout performance earned him the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week award.

“I knew what my role was coming into the season,” Osborn said on Tuesday at UB’s weekly press conference. “I knew I was going to have to step up and I think that’s one thing that [receivers] coach [Rob] Ianello tried to develop in the offseason which is getting depth. Anybody can make a play, especially with Tyree.”

Osborn had a bit of an extra chip on his shoulder in last Saturday’s game. He grew up in Ypsilanti, Mich., the town where Eastern Michigan’s campus is located and played three seasons at Lincoln High School before attending IMG Academy in Florida for his senior year. Despite the geographical connection, Eastern never gave Osborn an offer.

Following the win on Saturday night, Jackson admitted he added fuel to Osborn’s fire throughout the week leading up to the game. Jackson, a native of western Michigan, got under his teammates skin all week. Of course, it was all for motivational purposes and Jackson just wanted to get the best out of his receiver.

“K.J. and Tyree came in at the same time,” Bulls head coach Lance Leipold said on Tuesday. “Tyree’s confidence in K.J.’s abilities has been there since the first fall. I think it’s come out a little bit in the last four days or so but everyone in our program knows what this young man does on a daily basis. Everyone has great confidence in him.”

As far as confidence goes, Jackson most likely has a lot of it when it pertains to him and the UB receiving corps. Jackson’s 12 touchdown passes through the first three games are tied for second-most in the FBS; it also matches the total number of touchdowns Jackson threw in 2017.

Another stat that sticks out is that 12 different Bulls have already caught a pass this year. Osborn and Johnson are tied for the team lead with 16 catches each.

“You just have to pick your poison, I guess,” Osborn said. “We’re just going to go out there and do what we do. It’s good to have a lot of weapons.”

The Bulls next game is on Saturday, September 22 when they take on Rutgers. Kickoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. from Piscataway, N.J. 

Comments ()