University of Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn is in his third season and, while he believes the program is on the right path and its foundation strong, positive results have been few.
The Bulls were 2-10 in 2010, 3-9 a year ago and are 1-5 and on a four-game losing streak this season. Buffalo is coming off a 45-3 thrashing at the hands of fellow Mid-American Conference member Northern Illinois.
Quinn believes things can change quickly, but such a turnaround needs a spark, usually in the form of a big win.
That's why Quinn has pointed to Saturday when the Bulls play host to Pitt (2-4) as an opportunity for his team to get a signature victory and that kind of spark.
"We have shown we are capable of playing much better football than we have, and, once you get that win under your belt, it does bring your confidence to a much higher level," Quinn said.
"But you get that one win ... you look at a lot of previous teams, you look at Kent State for instance, who, up until this time last year, was struggling, then they rattle off four out of five wins and look at where they are today.
"That's what this team needs. We need to do that, but we have to sense of urgency."
Quinn knows it won't be easy to beat the Panthers because they also will be desperate for a win.
He said his team proved they could step up in class and compete twice this year -- against Georgia and Connecticut -- and now it is time for them to show they can win such games.
"I think it is very important for our kids to understand that this is a one week, one day, one play at a time and now our opportunity is Pitt," Quinn said. "But they are a team coming off a tough loss as well and they are an 0-3 football team [in conference play] as we are, so, when you look at both programs, nobody is happy in either place right now ...
"The game is at our place, it is our home turf, we have to go back and demonstrate the kind of football play and kind of intensity and physical toughness to get this thing back on track where we belong, and a big win at home would certainly lift the boys' spirits and our coaches, this ballclub, the program."
Buffalo has played four of its first six games,, including its past three, on the road. Pitt is the first of four consecutive home games.
The Bulls trailed 13th-ranked Georgia, 24-16, at the half and, 31-16, at the end of the third quarter before the Bulldogs scored two late touchdowns to win, 45-16.
Buffalo played Connecticut tough before dropping a 24-17 decision, then had MAC-favorite Ohio tied, 24-24, late in the third quarter before losing, 38-31.
"We know this is a good football team, this team here at the University at Buffalo," Quinn said.
"If you look at what we did against Georgia, against UConn and even the [Ohio] game showed a lot to where we are. But our spirits are still high, and we are excited to get back home the next four weeks and get this thing turned around."
Paul Zeise: email@example.com or Twitter: @paulzeise. First Published October 19, 2012 4:00 AM