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Bulls look to kickoff the 2020 season with a win

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MAC Championship - Buffalo v Northern Illinois Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The one team UB has not defeated since they joined the Mid American Conference are the Northern Illinois Huskies. The came dang close in the 2019 MAC Championship game and by most accounts this may be the best shot the Bulls have had at defeating the Huskies during their MAC history.

Last season brought Buffalo’s first Bowl win and the team is returning most of the talent which brought that hardware home. UB returns both of their quarterbacks, six of seven players that had a carry and 12 of 14 players that recorded a reception in 2019.

Biggest returning players would be Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks. Patterson smashed UB records during his sophomore season and is widely considered one of the best running backs in the nation.

Marks rushed for over 100 yards five different times last season en route to more than 1,000 yards on the ground.

Both Marks and Patterson are on the Doak Walker Award watch list.

The Bulls have some big pieces to replace on defense but the unit does return seven starters to a squad that was amazing last season.

Across the field NIU is in a totally different position.

The Huskies’ 2020 roster includes 57 newcomers and 66 underclassmen. The only returning tailback, Rondarius Gregory, carried just nine times for 43 yards in three games of action last season.

They are also only returning five starters on defense, a unit that really struggled last season.

Buffalo’s big question is how does it deal with the losses of both offensive guards and stout left tackle Evin Ksiezarczyk. The line was a big part of the Patterson/Marks success and did a great job helping protect Kyle Vantrease who stepped in mid season due to injury.

If the line can come together quickly and give Patterson / Marks some room the Bulls should be able to get the Husky off their back.