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Buffalo Bulls Football Game Preview: Ball State Cardinals

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Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Game day. That one day a week were we as Buffalo Bulls fans get to experience the roller coaster that is this team together. Once again, I'm coming in to this game against the Ball State Cardinals with cautious optimism. I would like to believe that if the team performs up to their potential, we might be celebrating a win today. However, I'm just not that optimistic yet. Here's what to watch for in today's game.

Players to Watch

Riley Neal - Finally we get to face a team that likes to air the ball out a little. No more triple option, run it down our throats until we're worn down offense. That being said, it's not vital that we put pressure on Neal and don't let him get comfortable. I'm interested to see Boise Ross finally be able to get in coverage a little during this game and maybe pick one off of Neal who does have 6 TD's to 6 INTs.

James Gilbert - At 6'3, this running back might be a lot to handle. Yes Ball State will pass the ball, but that doesn't mean the team can slack off on the run. Gilbert is averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season and will be a tough task. Stopping him early and often will force the pass and hopefully lead to a breakout game from the defense.

Zack Ryan - A somewhat undersized linebacker at 5'10, don't take him lightly. He's already accounted for 45 tackles this season including 5.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks. He could continue to be disruptive getting in to the back field against our weaker line. I'm looking for the line to step up today and open the run to limit production from guys like Ryan.

Final Thoughts

I want us to win. I really do. That being said, I don't know if we have any reason to believe we should. Last week, against Kent State in front of a full house, the team came out as flat as ever. I just don't know what it will take for the team to get going yet. The crowd can only give so much energy when the on field product just looks like they're going through the motions. I think the offense needs to get going early. A three and out on the first drive will ultimately kill what little confidence this unit appears to have at the moment. I'd like to see more intermediate routes and safer passes on early downs. Enough with looking for the home run on first and 10 from your own 20. If the team comes out and executes, maybe that'll be what it takes. Hopefully we get to find out.

Win Probability

At this point in the season, I can only give this team a 20% chance to come away with the win. I just feel like it's going to require too many pieces coming together that haven't seemed close to occurring yet. I hope I'm not starting to fall in to the trap of Buffalo pessimism, but this team needs to give me something to cheer about. That being said, I'll still be front row, banging on the metal railings giving all my energy today. If you're able to, you should make the trip out and give the team some energy. Enjoy the game today Bulls fans. Horns up.