AMHERST, N.Y. — Ohio is back on the road in search of its second Mid-American Conference victory when it travels to play Buffalo on Saturday.
The Bobcats (1-5, 1-1 MAC) are coming off a 30-27 Homecoming loss to Central Michigan. They kept close with the Chippewas for much of the game until both their offense and defense were halted late in the fourth quarter. The Bulls (2-4, 0-2 MAC) are still searching for their first conference win after falling to both Western Michigan and Kent State.
Kickoff is set for noon at UB Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.
Below is a guide to game day with how to follow along, depth charts, what to watch for, who has the edge, a reading guide and our predictions.
How to watch: The game will be broadcast on ESPN+. Doug Sherman and Tyoka Jackson will have the call.
How to listen: The game can be listened to via Learfield’s Ohio Sports Network. Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will be behind the mic.
How to find stats: Stats are provided here.
Provided from each team’s game notes:
Three things to watch for
Containing a triple-threat
Buffalo boasts three running backs with over 300 yards this season. Kevin Marks, Dylan McDuffie and Ron Cook have helped the Bulls craft the third-best rushing offense in the MAC with a conference-high 18 rushing touchdowns.
Ohio’s run defense had a mixed performance against Central Michigan. While it allowed 186 yards and a touchdown from running back Lew Nichols, 116 of those yards came in the first half. The defense managed to hold Nichols to 70 yards after halftime and didn’t allow more than 13 rushing yards from any other Central Michigan player all game.
The Bulls run game is one of their strongest assets. If the Bobcats manage to shut down even one of their top-three running backs, the Bulls would suffer on offense.
Ohio’s performance in the final 15 minutes against Central Michigan is what cost it a win on Homecoming. The Bobcats let the Chippewas score on two of their final three drives of the night, and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty forced Ohio to punt on a do-or-die drive.
The Bobcats have been outscored in the fourth quarter 66-47 this season, and have trailed after three quarters in five of its six games. The only exception was in their win over Akron, when they entered the final 15 minutes with a tie.
If Ohio wants to claim its second win of the season, it has to follow through in the fourth quarter.
The Bulls rank 10th in the MAC for total defense, allowing an average of 431.8 yards per game. An average of 179 allowed rushing yards per game — ranking sixth in the conference — doesn’t help their case either.
Against Kent State, Buffalo allowed a season-high 633 total yards, including 407 passing yards from quarterback Dustin Crum.
Buffalo does have talent, especially in its linebackers room. Senior James Patterson has started in 37 games since 2018 and is the definitive defender on Buffalo’s roster. Not to mention fellow linebacker Kadofi Wright has recorded 38 total tackles this season, second only to Patterson’s 59.
When Ohio has the ball: Following his first start for Ohio against Central Michigan, quarterback Armani Rogers is bound to see further time on the field compared to his scaled back role during nonconference play. Rogers led the offense with 190 passing yards and let the running backs take control over a strong rushing attack. Ohio’s made a lot of headway on offense since MAC play began, and Buffalo’s defense hasn’t performed well this season.
The edge: Ohio
When Buffalo has the ball: When Ohio finally contained Nichols in the second half in Week 6, it gained a new problem. Quarterback Daniel Richardson threw for 157 second-half yards and the game-winning touchdown with under four minutes remaining in regulation. Buffalo quarterback Kyle Vantrease has already thrown for 1180 yards through six games. Even if the Bobcats contain the dangerous trio of running backs Saturday, they may still be given problems from the Bulls’ passing game.
The edge: Buffalo
- Tim Albin’s weekly press conference
- Stock watch following Ohio’s loss to Central Michigan
- MAC Data Roundup after Week 6
- Buffalo scouting report
Sports Editor Jack Gleckler: Ohio’s made incremental progress since it began its conference slate. The run game has improved, Rogers’ first start gave Ohio’s offense further stability and the defense has halted big drives from its opponents early on. Buffalo’s defense is nothing to write home about; however, its running backs room will take tremendous effort to stop. Ohio may have an offense that’s growing every week, but it won’t be able to stop Buffalo’s. Buffalo wins 28-24.
Assistant Sports Editor Eli Feazell: Ohio and Buffalo are both in desperate situations just three games into MAC play. The Bobcats offense has been mostly effective to start out conference play, putting up at least 27 points in each of their first two weeks. Their success Saturday will depend on how well they can contain Vantrease and the opposing rushing corps. Even if Ohio contains one threat on offense, it might get heckled by another. Buffalo wins 34-31.