Fank Solich came and stayed a long while, and went. During that time he turned Ohio into a solid post-season contender every year, a regular bowl team, and won a good number of division titles.
But he could not end Ohio’s MAC championship drought which stands at 54 years (last won in 1968).
Year one under Tim Albin didn’t go too well. The bobcats got off to a terrible start, losing their first four including to FCS Duquesne, but by the time the season was over their three wins included two over MAC teams that went Bowling (Miami and Eastern Michigan).
To compare, Buffalo didn’t beat a single FBS team that had a winning record on the year.
But we did beat Ohio which is one of three things a UB football season needs to call it a success.
So what about the rematch this year, in Ohio?
They should be better than last year. Albin’s been at Ohio for 17 years under Solich and last season was more a product of massive changes in the teams chemistry than Albin not being able to coach. Albin should have the tools in place to bring Ohio up a bit.
The Bobcats are retuning most of their offensive line, which was not bad, and the bulk of their skill players are also back.
O’Shaan Allison is a good veteran back will lead their rushing attack, he did well in a secondary role last season and has a decent line in front.
The question for Ohio’s offense is will Kurtis Rourke coe into his own as a passer. He has the running part of the dual threat down, but through the air he was not nearly as intimidating as his big brother was when he played for the Bobcats.
Ohio’s real problem last year was their defense. This season they return a lot of players but coming off of a year where those same players let MAC quarterbacks feel very comfortable in the pocket.
Last season the Bobcats managed just 17 sacks, and they are losing their top pass rusher in Will Evans. They are hoping that Purdue’s Dontay Hunter will fill that void and put some pressure on so their young secondary does not get picked apart.
Overall this is a scary game for Buffalo. Ohio in Athens is always a big ask, even in a solid year for the Bulls, but Buffalo is itself rebuilding under a second year coach.