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2020 MAC Football Game Preview: Miami RedHawks at Buffalo Bulls

The premier matchup of the week in the MAC features the league’s best RB against the defending conference champions.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 26 Central Michigan at Buffalo Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

It’s the second week of the #MACtion season, and we might have the the game that will decide the MAC East race as the Buffalo Bulls (1-0) host the defending MAC champion Miami RedHawks (1-0). Buffalo defeated a rebuilding NIU team 49-30 while Miami emerged victorious in a wild 38-31 finish against Ball State.


Game Info

When: November 10 (Tuesday) at 8 p.m. EST

Where: UB Stadium in Buffalo, New York

Watch: ESPN

Weather: Clear with a high of 72 degrees and a low of 61 degrees

Odds: Buffalo is a nine to a 9.5-point favorite, and the over/under ranges from 56.5-57 points, per OddShark.com.


Series History

Miami currently leads the series 15-7.

Largest Margin of Victory: Miami defeated Buffalo 59-3 in 2003.

Longest Win Streak: The RedHawks won ten straight games over the Bulls from 1951 to 2007.

Current Streak: Miami beat Buffalo 34-20 last season after the Bulls won 51-42 in 2018.


The Bulls

Quick Facts:

Points per game: 49

Points allowed per game: 30

Yards gained per game: 357

Yards allowed per game: 397

Buffalo did Buffalo things on offense against NIU as Jaret Patterson had 20 carries for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while Kyle VanTrease did enough through the air as he went 11-17 for 175 yards, a touchdown, an interception, and added a four-yard rushing touchdown. Antonio Nunn had himself a day with six receptions for 102 yards and a score, as the offense went 3/9 on third down.

The story of the game against the Huskies was the three defensive TDs by the Bulls in the game. Kadofi Wright took an interception back 65 yards for a score, plus a pair of scoop-and-score touchdowns by Isaiah King and Tim Terry. The defense registered six TFLs and three sacks, and held NIU to 5/14 on third down and 1/2 on fourth down.

The special teams for the Bulls proved to be solid as well with Evan Finegan pinning NIU inside the 20-yard line twice on punts while Alex McNulty registered three touchbacks on eight kickoffs.


The RedHawks

Quick Facts:

Points per game: 38

Points allowed per game: 31

Yards gained per game: 422

Yards allowed per game: 478

The big story coming out of the Redbird Rivalry game was the play of AJ Mayer as Brett Gabbert suffered a head injury in the first half. Mayer played well as he went 16/24 for 212 yards and three touchdowns, while Jack Sorenson helped out his QB with his seven catches for 139 yards.

Although it gave up a ton of yards, the RedHawks made just enough plays on defense to come up with the win as it had seven TFLs, five sacks, and a Ryan McWood interception that set up the game-winning touchdown. The third phase was sharp for Miami as Dom Dzioban averaged 43.2 yards per punts on five punts while Henry Beckett went 5/5 on PATs and knocked in a 37-yard field goal.


Predictions

This such a weird game to pick due to all the unknowns that are in play. Whether Gabbert or Mayer gets the call on Tuesday doesn’t really matter because Miami will do what it tried to do last week: establish the run with Davion Johnson and/or Zach Kahn and create opportune matchup for receivers like Sorenson. The big thing for the ‘Hawks will be containing Patterson (big if) and forcing VanTrease to put the ball in the air a lot.

Buffalo will probably not have three defensive touchdowns on Tuesday, so it needs to be able to disrupt the RedHawk running game to force a team that’s not great on third down to adverse situations. If VanTrease is able to keep the offense on the field, the Bulls will have a great chance to knock off the defending MAC champions.

35-30 Buffalo. I don’t see the OL of the ‘Hawks handling the UB pressure well when they struggled at times against Ball State’s defense. Miami also gave up a lot of big plays last week, and doing that against good teams usually gets you beat. The Red and White will make things tough, but UB will make enough plays on offense and defense in the end.