By the Numbers:
Buffalo enters this game 7-2 (5-0 MAC) with their loses coming to a couple of nationally ranked opponents. The Bulls first loss came in week one to then ranked No. 2 in the country, Ohio State, 40-20. After that, the Bulls were blown out by the then ranked No. 23 Baylor Bears, 70-13. Since then, the Bulls are on a seven game winning streak behind their dominating defensive performances. Toledo enters at 6-3 (4-1 MAC) and on a hot four game winning streak of their own. The Rocket losses came in week one to No. 10 Florida and a week later to Missouri. The lone Toledo conference loss came from the Ball State Cardinals, who defeated the Rockets 31-24 in Week 5.
Toledo's rushing offense currently ranks fifteenth in the country with a 239 yard average per game. However, that number could be tested this week against Khalil Mack and the Bulls defense, especially if senior running back, David Fluellen remains out with a lower leg injury. On the Buffalo side of things, they'll enter ranked 55th overall in rushing offense but the Bulls also average 31 points per contest, which ranks them 53rd in the nation. Toledo enters with the nation's 86th ranked passing attack with 207 yards of pass offense per game. That Rocket passing attack is led by senior quarterback, Terrance Owens who has been playing fantastically in the previous weeks. Buffalo's passing game is led by sophomore quarterback, Joe Licata. The Bulls pass offense is ranked just a few yards behind the Toledo pass offense as Buffalo averages 89th in the country with 204 passing yards per contest.
Defensively, the Toledo Rockets are tied for fifteenth in the country in sacks on the season with 27 sacks as a team, which could cause havoc if the Bulls offensive line fails to protect Licata. Buffalo, led by senior linebacker Khalil Mack ranks eleventh in the country with 28 sacks. Sacks could dominate tonight's game if the offensive lines fail to protect both Owens and Licata, so that's something to watch out for when the Bulls stampede into the Glass Bowl tonight.
FOUR NAMES TO KNOW:
David Fluellen: It's a name you'll be hearing a lot tonight, whether or not he plays is up for discussion. Fluellen was sidelined against Eastern Michigan due to a lower leg injury. Fluellen has rushed for 1,067 yards this season with ten touchdowns and is averaging seven yards per carry. He'll be a big name to watch against a tough front seven of the Buffalo Bulls. If Fluellen is unable to play, it will be true freshman Kareem Hunt taking Fluellen's place. Hunt has rushed for 100 yards in three consecutive games while handling the carries for the Rockets during Fluellen's absence. Fluellen's status for Tuesday night's game is unknown.
Brandon Oliver: Countering David Fluellen will be the leading rusher in the MAC, Brandon Oliver. Oliver has rushed for 1,123 yards and eleven touchdowns and is maintaining a 5.2 yard average. Last week against Ohio, Oliver broke out for 249 yards on the ground along with two touchdowns on 34 carries. You have to imagine the Buffalo coaching staff will ride Oliver to victory or defeat on Tuesday night.
Khalil Mack: Mack is being scouted as a potential first round NFL Draft Pick following this season and he anchors the Buffalo defense. Through nine games, Mack has recorded 59 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for a loss, and three interceptions. It's a big name that the Toledo offense line will need to keep away from quarterback Terrance Owens tonight. Not only is Mack a terrorizing rusher off of the edge, but he also plays extremely well in the running game and could play a huge factor in the outcome of Tuesday night's contest.
Junior Sylvestre: The Toledo defense has to be anchored by Junior Sylvestre against the Buffalo rushing attack. The junior (no pun intended) linebacker needs to step up in a big way now that sophomore linebacker, Trent Voss is out for the season with a broken arm. Sylvestre has recorded 92 tackles this season through nine games along with five sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Against a tough Buffalo running attack, Sylvestre will play a big part in the Toledo front seven.
How to Witness:
TV: ESPNU or ESPN3, 7:30 p.m. ET.
Can't Watch? Listen Live:
Toledo Fans: You can stream the official Rockets' broadcast online at UTRockets.com.
Buffalo Fans: You can listen to the official Bulls' broadcast online at BuffaloBulls.com