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UB football looking to clinch MAC East against Ohio

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PISCATAWAY, NJ – SEPTEMBER 22: Buffalo Bulls quarterback Tyree Jackson (3) during the College Football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Buffalo Bulls on September 22, 2018 at HighPoint.com Stadium in Piscataway, NJ. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

This game was supposed to be for all the marbles!

Buffalo versus Ohio.

A battle between the first and second place teams in the MAC East.

It sounds great on paper BUT that all went out the window last week after Ohio was upset by their rival, Miami.

While it took the luster out of this matchup, Bulls fans enjoyed every second of it as UB’s MAC East title chances drastically improved without even taking the field.

Buffalo is in a commanding position entering Wednesday’s matchup. To put it simply, all UB needs to do in order to clinch the MAC East is to win one of their final two games or have Ohio lose one of their final two games.

That being said, the Bulls would prefer to finish things off against the Bobcats.

There’s plenty of reasons why:

  • It clinches Buffalo’s first trip to the MAC Championship Game in 10 years.
  • It keeps UB from needing to win final game vs. Bowling Green.
  • Puts Bulls in a great position to be ranked at 10-1.
  • Gives coaching staff an additional week to prepare for MAC Championship.

Those are all great reasons but winning in Athens will be easier said than done. According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, Ohio has a 62.4% chance of defeating Buffalo on Wednesday evening.

HADLEY, MA – SEPTEMBER 30: Nathan Rourke #12 of the Ohio Bobcats celebrates with Joe Lowery #65 after scoring a touchdown during the second quarter against the Massachusetts Minutemen at Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Hadley, Massachusetts. (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

Despite their 6-4 record, the Bobcats are one of the most talented teams in the MAC. They enter averaging 39.3 points per game thanks to their ultra-talented quarterback Nathan Rourke. The junior QB from Canada is one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country (27 total TD’s).

Rourke has plenty of weapons to work with. Papi White is one of the top playmakers in the MAC with 750 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. A.J. Ouellette is their leading rusher on a Bobcats offense that has run for over 2,300 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Despite their offensive explosiveness, Ohio has been prone to several letdown performances.

They blew a 21-point lead against Cincinnati before losing a heartbreaker (Bearcats now ranked #24). Ohio also failed to hold onto a 12-point, 4th quarter lead against Northern Illinois as they went on to lose 24-21.

This is a matchup that has LOTS OF POINTS written all over it!

Ohio has a vulnerable defense that allows 27.5 points per game. Tyree Jackson and Anthony Johnson gave the Bobcats tons of issues last year in a WINDY game at UB Stadium.

I expect that combo to go off once again on Wednesday night. What makes Buffalo especially dangerous is their balance on offense.

The Bulls might have the most playmakers in the MAC.

Tyree Jackson is a legitimate NFL Prospect at 6-7, 245. He’s thrown for 2,338 yards, 24 touchdowns and eight interceptions but can also run when needed.

Defending Anthony Johnson and K.J. Osborn is a nearly impossible task for most MAC secondaries with the two combining for 80 receptions, 1,460 yards and 15 touchdowns this season.

But it’s the Bulls running game that allows them to flourish even more so. The emergence of freshmen Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks has been deadly. The two have received nearly identical workloads with Patterson gaining an edge in carries in recent weeks.

They have combined for 1,379 rushing yards and 18 touchdowns as one of the top running back duo’s in the MAC.

And while I don’t expect a ton of great defense to be played on Wednesday, if there is one player to lookout for, it’s UB senior linebacker Khalil Hodge. He’s a tackling machine who will be playing on Sunday’s in the future.

Prediction:

I’m expecting a ton of points… a TON!!! Ohio has a deadly running attack but UB has a more rounded team. This one will go down to the wire but Buffalo will find a way to pull it out.

Buffalo 41, Ohio 38

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