Buffalo Bulls (3-7 SU, 3-6 ATS) vs. Miami (OH) RedHawks (1-10 SU, 5-6 ATS), 6:00 p.m. EST, Wednesday, November 18, 2009, Yager Stadium, Charlotte, N.C. TV: ESPNU
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Buffalo -2/Miami (OH) +2
Buffalo and Miami of Ohio both essentially have nothing left to play for, but the two MAC schools will face off Wednesday night on ESPNU.
Neither team can reach a bowl game, so these teams will be basically playing for bragging rights and just to earn a rare victory. Both teams have just one conference win this season, so the winner will double its MAC win total for the year.
One month ago, Buffalo looked like it could turn its season around and possibly finish over .500. The Bulls were 3-4 and coming off two straight wins. But since then, they have lost three straight games by a combined seven points. Last week, they lost 27-24 to Ohio. The week before that, they lost 30-29 to Bowling Green. And three weeks ago, they lost 34-31 in overtime at Western Michigan. This is Buffalo’s third straight weekday game and third straight game on the ESPN family of networks.
Against Ohio last week, Bulls quarterback Zach Maynard threw for 230 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw two interceptions. He also ran for 39 yards. Against Bowling Green, Maynard completed less than 50 percent of his passes and had just 149 passing yards, but running back Jeffvon Gill ran for 172 yards. Against Western Michigan, it was running back Ike Nduka who had 172 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Every week, it’s been a different offensive player stepping up for the Bulls. They’ve been scoring points, but they just couldn’t close out any of the last three games. The Western Michigan loss was in overtime, and the last two losses were last minute come-from-behind losses.
For the season, Maynard has 2,377 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions, plus 227 rushing yards. Nduka leads the team in rushing with 598 yards and six touchdowns. Brandon Thermilus has 311 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Mario Henry has 246 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Nduka is out this week with an ankle injury, so Thermilus, Henry and Gill will have to carry the load. Naaman Roosevelt is Buffalo’s leading receiver with 70 receptions for 954 yards and nine touchdowns. Brett Hamlin is right behind him with 58 receptions for 795 yards, and Jesse Jack has six receiving touchdowns.
While Buffalo could easily be one of the top teams in the MAC right now if things went the right way in its last three fourth quarters, but it’s not nearly the same story for Miami of Ohio. The RedHawks have just one win this season, a 31-24 win over Toledo three weeks ago. Before that, they lost by five points to Northern Illinois, and two weeks ago they were leading Temple, a team that is undefeated in conference play, late in the fourth quarter before Temple kicked a game-winning field goal. But last week, the wheels fell off with a 35-14 loss at home to Bowling Green. Now, the RedHawks will be playing their last game of the season against Buffalo.
The RedHawks have picked up most of their offensive yardage through the air this season. Quarterback Zac Dysert has 2,417 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, but the 15 interceptions he’s thrown have been crucial. Armand Robinson is the team’s leading receiver with 67 receptions for 788 yards and four touchdowns. The team’s leading rusher is Thomas Merriweather, who has 280 yards and three touchdowns, but he’s only averaging 2.9 yards per carry. Miami’s only chance of winning this game is if it can throw the ball well and not commit turnovers.
Buffalo is 0-3 ATS this season as a favorite. The Bulls are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 road games. The total has gone over in seven of their last nine road games. The RedHawks are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games, despite only winning one of them. The total has gone under in five of their last seven games.
Ryno’s Pick: Buffalo is a much better football team than Miami of Ohio. There is no way possible to spin this and say that the RedHawks are the better team. Buffalo should have won its last three games. Miami hasn’t had a chance to win many games at all this season. Buffalo won this game last season, 37-17. Sure, the game is at Miami but the RedHawks have nothing to play for and by the looks of things in their loss last week, they just want the season to end. Buffalo should dominate this game in all facets and win by at least a couple touchdowns. Take Buffalo -2.