Wednesday will be a night of madness in Athens, Ohio. Madness because of the preseason basketball hype event happening right before the football game that is just a short walk away. Madness because just a year ago these two teams were fighting for MAC East supremacy, whereas now they fight to stay out of the East cellar.
The Bulls are coming off a hard-fought 20-14 loss in Buffalo where Head Coach Alex Wood's team ran for only 38 yards on the night. Joe Licata will likely have a lot thrown upon his shoulders in this matchup.
Ohio probably heaved a huge sigh of relief after last year's game, knowing that the defense would not have to face Branden Oliver (now with the San Diego Chargers) again.
Buffalo standout safety Adam Redden comes into this Wednesday night game surely riding a high after being named MAC East defensive player of the week after his performance last week against Central Michigan where he posted 10 tackles, 3.5-tackles for loss, two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Redden also "leads the conference in tackles for loss with 12 and ranks second in the league with three forced fumbles. He has 55 tackles and a team-high five sacks on the season, " All noted by this press release from UB athletics.
The 30-3 Ohio loss to Buffalo last year marked the beginning of the downward spiral that has marked Ohio's season the last couple of Novembers. The worst call by an official in college football history happened in that game as well.
And though Ohio is coming off losses in three of its last four games, it showed some fight last week against Western Michigan, a team that has surprised many. Chase Cochran was finally able to haul in a deep ball (Ohio fans thought it to be a foregone conclusion that it would be a regularity this year) while hauling in four balls for 110 yards. Derrius Vick should be creeping towards full health, that is, if the beleaguered Ohio offensive line doesn't allow him to get sacked six times again like last week.
Ohio Head Coach Frank Solich noted in a press conference on Sunday that feature back A.J. Ouellette is still battling an ankle injury (Daz Patterson started in the backfield last week). So with Buffalo allowing 183 yards on the ground per game, Wednesday evening might be the day to get the ground game a rumblin'. The Bulls, who have averaged 244 yards on the ground in these two teams last three matchups, will look to pound the rock between the tackles. Anthone Taylor would surely salivate after viewing those shocking numbers.
Stay on the lookout for Licata breaking a school touchdown record as well, as the senior QB has 49 touchdown passes, two short of the school record-holder, Drew Willy.