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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 12:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Peden Stadium (24,000) -- Athens, Ohio. Television: ESPN Plus, ESPN3. Home Record: Buffalo 1-1, Ohio 2-0. Away Record: Buffalo 0-2, Ohio 3-0. Neutral Record: Buffalo 0-0, Ohio 0-0. Conference Record: Buffalo 0-1, Ohio 1-0. Series Record: Ohio leads, 11-8.
GAME NOTES: Frank Solich and the Ohio University Bobcats continue their quest for perfection as they host the Buffalo Bulls at Peden Stadium for Mid- American Conference action.
Buffalo comes into its first conference road game of the season with a 1-3 overall record after a 24-17 loss to the Connecticut Huskies last week. It was the second loss in a row for the Bulls, as they also fell, 23-7, to Kent State in their MAC opener in their prior outing. Coach Jeff Quinn has failed to lead his team to a road victory or a triumph over an FBS squad, as UB's only win came over Morgan State on Sept. 8.
Although it wasn't pretty, Ohio remained undefeated and improved to 5-0 last week with a come-from-behind, 37-34 victory over the Massachusetts Minutemen. The Bobcats were expected to cruise past UMass after posting impressive wins over Penn State (24-14), New Mexico State (51-24), Marshall (27-24), and Norfolk State (44-10). Solich will need a much better performance out of his team this week if it wants to stay unbeaten and become one of the first bowl eligible programs in the nation.
This will be the 20th meeting in history between these conference foes. The Bobcats own the all-time series lead at 11-8. The Bulls were able to take down Ohio, 38-37, in last season's encounter in New York.
The Bulls are ranked ninth in the MAC in total offense and scoring offense with averages of 386 yards and 25.8 points per game. Buffalo has been forced to rely on its rushing attack due to a tremendously poor efficiency passing.
Over his last two outings, quarterback Alex Zordich has completed only 17- of-52 passes for 312 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The most positive aspect of Buffalo's passing game has been junior wideout Alex Neutz, who has a conference leading six touchdown grabs. In his career, Neutz has 90 receptions for 1,409 yards and 14 scores.
Buffalo's is capable of playing with anyone due to the big play ability of its running backs. Branden Oliver is one of the most talented in the MAC once again this season. After gaining 1,395 yards last season, Oliver picked up 467 in the first three games of the season before going down with an injury. He is listed as questionable for Saturday, and his presence or lack thereof will make a big impact.
If Oliver is unable to go, Brandon Murie will get the bulk of the carries. In last week's loss, Murie gained over 50 yards rushing, receiving, and returning to become the first player in school history to achieve that.
The Bulls like to gamble often defensively, which has led to an average of 4.3 sacks per game, but a less spectacular scoring defense average of 31.5 points per contest.
Khalil Mack was named the MAC East Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after terrorizing UConn. He has recorded 11 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks in just three games this season.
Ohio's offense is ranked third in the MAC with an average of 472.6 yards per contest. Junior quarterback Tyler Tettleton returned after missing the prior game to throw for 229 yards and two scores on 15-of-27 passing last week. Tettleton has thrown for 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns, which makes him one of just six players in the FBS with 1,000 passing yards and no interceptions. The junior needs just two touchdown passes to become the school's all-time career leader.
Although it has arguably the best quarterback in the conference under center, Ohio has an even more dangerous player in junior running back Beau Blankenship this season. Blankenship ran for a career-high 269 yards on 43 carries, resulting in two touchdowns as he delivered his fifth straight 100-yard effort last time out. His total of 757 rushing yards is the third highest in the FBS.
The Bobcats are the best in the MAC at both rush defense (62.5 ypg) and scoring defense (21.2 ppg).
Junior linebacker Keith Moore has been the heart and soul of the defense and has recorded a team-best 36 total tackles.
Ohio was able to get away with coming out flat last week against the transitioning Minutemen. However, the Bobcats have plenty of motivation in this one as they seek revenge for last season's close loss. Buffalo needs Zordich to take advantage of Ohio's weak secondary or the Bobcats will easily remain unbeaten.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio University 38, Buffalo 24
10/03 10:46:03 ET
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