11 factors to decide the game.
1) NIU Offense vs Buffalo Defense:
NIU has the #2 runner in the conference, it's their quarterback. This game features the 2 best running QB's in the MAC. Unlike Zordich, Lynch has thrown well, completing 60% of his passes and averaging 13 yards per completion. Theoretically, Buffalo should have the edge, pressuring Lynch into run mode instead of pass mode and shutting him down. In practice, it seems we are more likely to sit back in QB spy, limit his running game, but allow him to pick us apart via the pass 13 yards at a time.
As I assumed, we sat back allowing Lynch to pick us appart with 62% completion rate and 18 yards per completion. He also ran for 129 yards.
3) Buffalo Offense vs Ohio Defense:
NIU is tied with Buffalo allowing 4.12 yards per attempt on the ground. The good news for Buffalo, we've ran over the #3 and #4 running defenses in Ohio and Kent. The bad news, NIU is still good at #5 and we lost those two games.
NIU holds their opponents to a MAC best 54.5% passing percentage. We will have to run to win, is Oliver ready yet?
Bo is still day-to-day. NIU shut down the run holding Zordich to 3.6 yards per carry and Campbell to 1.6 yards per carry. Zordich completed 60% of his passes, Licata just under 50% But Buffalo isn't built to beat you with the pass. Mr. Tepper this is coaching, take what your opponent does best and stop it.
5) Key Player:
The QB runs and throws and scores TDs, stop him and you win. Last week he had 52 passes and runs and averaged 7.7 yards per play. That means once the ball was snapped to him and he didn't hand it off, NIU on average gained 8 yards.
This week Lynch 36 runs and passes and averaged 10 yards per play. He had 4 TDs.
If UB is going to win, Zordich will have to keep up with Lynch. In a game with running QB's fatigue is important, if we can batter the NIU defense and keep them tired and on the field we limit the damage NIU's offense can do and increase our effectiveness. We have been outscored 38-17 in the 4th quarter this year against FBS teams, so we have to commit to the run game, extend drives and ensure the NIU defense is more tired than ours when the game is on the line.
Buffalo averaged 7 plays per drive, but 11 of 13 drives were shorter than 3:17.
7) Key Situation: 3rd down again
4th down ended up being key, NIU going 4-5 with 2 Jordan Lynch touchdown runs, a fake punt that led to a 4th down Akeem Daniels TD run.
9) Key Quarter: 2nd Quarter
Buffalo outscored 21-0 in the 2nd Quarter.
11) Game Score brought to you by: Science
Buffalo 2011: 38-37 win over Ohio. Buffalo 2012 31-38 loss to Ohio
Therefore: The defense is 1 points worse and the Offense 7 points worse than last year.
Buffalo/NIU 2011: 31-30 NIU.
Buffalo/NIU 2012: 23 - 32 NIU.
UB loses 45-3
Overall 11 Factors Pregame Meal Score: NIU with the near perfect sweep NIU 9, Buffalo 0, Push 2
Buffalo finally hits rock bottom.
Feels like Rock Bottom.