Game Preview: Ohio versus the Buffalo Bulls

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

With their biggest game of the season upcoming against Ohio, Buffalo looks to take control of the MAC East in a primetime showdown.

When the Buffalo Bulls take on Ohio Tuesday night at UB Stadium, they'll be playing for much more than a seven-game winning streak.

While a win against the Bobcats would almost certainly clinch themselves a bowl game, Buffalo has much bigger goals on their minds.

Their top goal of winning the MAC East and playing for a MAC Championship in Detroit is still alive and becomes even more attainable with a win over Ohio.

However, defeating Frank Solich’s Bobcats won't be an easy task.

Ohio enters at 6-2 (3-1), having won two straight after a disappointing 26-23 loss to Central Michigan during the school's annual homecoming game.

A Travis Carrie muffed fair catch led to a late Chippewa's touchdown with less than 30 seconds, leading to Ohio's only MAC loss of the season.

Ohio is solid on both sides of the ball, displaying units that rank amongst the best in the MAC in both points for and points against.

Led by Tyler Tettleton, the Bobcats enter averaging 33.6 points per game while defensively; Ohio allows only 21.8 points per contest.

The Cats have a few impressive wins on their resume, having defeated two solid Conference USA teams in Marshall and North Texas.

Looking at their offense, Buffalo will have to find a way to limit Tyler Tettleton. The senior captain in his third year as the Bobcats starting quarterback is in the midst of another great season.

Tettleton has 2,029 passing yards for 17 touchdowns and has stepped up while Ohio's running game has struggled.

His go-to target is senior Donte Foster who has emerged as one of the top receivers in the MAC. Through eight games, Foster has 50 receptions for 718 yards and six touchdowns.

Another target Tettleton looks for is Chase Cochran who has 25 receptions and serves as the Bobcats deep threat.

When running the ball, Ohio splits carries between Beau Blankenship and Ryan Boykin.

Blankenship has had a down year so far, rushing for only 550 yards and four touchdowns, a year after running for 1,604 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior in 2012.

The Bulls must also account for Boykin who has six touchdowns backing up Blankenship.

Defensively, Ohio has had a solid year. Ranked second in the MAC in points allowed, the Bobcats actually rank ahead of Buffalo’s stout defensive unit.

But unlike Buffalo where it’s the Khalil Mack show, the Bobcats have a rounded unit with no big time standouts.

That’s not to say that they don't have solid players, they do but they don't have as much top end talent.

Ty Branz who was a big contributor to Ohio's league leading total of 28 sacks on the year is out but the Bobcats will continue to bring the heat.

Keith Moore, a former walk-on is an impact player at linebacker while Travis Carrie is a standout senior in their secondary.

Xavier Hughes leads the Bobcats with three interceptions while Thad Ingol has made an impact as well, being named MAC East Defensive Player of the Week after his play against Akron week six.

Ohio will present many challenges for Buffalo but ultimately, this game will probably be decided by the lines.

Both teams like to run the ball despite the fact that Ohio has struggled with their running attack.

If Buffalo can wear down the Bobcats defense, Ohio may be in for a long day.

Ohio is thinking the same thing though but with their passing attack. The Bulls struggle against solid passing teams, something they haven’t faced during their winning streak.

If Tettleton finds his comfort zone, Buffalo could be in for its biggest defensive challenge since opening their season at Ohio State and Baylor.

It certainly has the makings of a very interesting game in which either team can win.

Prediction: Ohio 27-24



(Sorry about flipping the pick...had week of reflection and change of thought)

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