UB is ready to play their last home game of the season, tonight, when the Kent State golden flashes come to Amherst to take on the Bulls.
Kent is just 2-7 after beating Howard in week two and scratching out a close win over hapless Bowling Green last week.
Buffalo is 8-1, with a lone loss to Army and out gunnned the Miami RedHawks last wek.
UB is one game ahead of Ohio, who hosts the Bulls next week.
If any game on the schedule looks like a “trap” game, this is it.
It would be so easy to look past Kent because of their record and focus on Ohio who always gives UB fits when the teams meet in Athens.
Kent’s record belies the fact they have played a lot of teams to really close losses.
- Opened the season with a 7 point loss to Illinois, after leading a good portion of the game
- Lost to Ohio by a single point not two weeks ago
- Tied with Ole’ Miss at the half and stayed within a score of the SEC squad until the 4th quarter
- Lost to Akron in Overtime when they tried a two point conversion to win the game.
They could easily be 5-4 right now if they got just a bounce or two throughout this season.
The Kent state offense ranks 28th in the nation in first downs, Kent has been able to move the ball this season pretty well. But the Flahses have been turnover prone, if they get a hold of that in any particular game they can put some points up on the board.
If they don’t get into the endzone Kicker Matthew Trickett ranks 19th in the nation in field goal percentage.
Their defense has been very good in the first half of their games this season. Like Buffalo, they are an opportunistic lot when it comes to generating turnovers. Kent ranks 22nd in the nation in turnovers gained, and 18th in fumbles recovered.
The Bulls are riding one of, if not the best season in School history. Outside of some play at the division III level in the 1980’s, you would have to go back to the 1958 or 1959 season to find anything comparable to what UB is doing this year.
Going back to last season UB has won 11 of their last 12 games.
The offense is led by Junior Tyree Jackson. After starting the season strong he had a brief lull in production but roared back last week against Miami with six touchdowns. His next touchdown pass will the 45th of his career, moving him into third place in school history in career touchdown passes. It will also tie Joe Licata’s 2013 campaign which was the third most TD passes in a season by a Buffalo quarterback.
On defense Khalil Hodge leads the team, but will have to sit out the first half due to a targeting call against the RedHawks.
The real concern for Buffalo is special teams. The Bulls have had two punts blocked this season and have missed multiple field goals and extra point attempts.
Buffalo leads the all-time series, 12-11. But at the same time Kent has won five of the last six games at UB stadium, including the finale of UB’s 2008 MAC championship season.
With Hodge out for 30 minutes, and facing a high take away defense it will be incumbent on UB’s offense to play well in the first two quarters. No sloppy mistakes and eat up some clock and/or put points on the board.
I think Leipold keeps UB focused on Kent, as they should be.