Ohio Bobcats (6-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bulls (3-6 SU, 3-5 ATS), 7:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, November 10, 2009, UB Stadium, Buffalo, N.Y. TV: ESPN2
by Ryno of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Ohio +1/Buffalo -1
Over/Under: OFF (as of Monday night)
The Ohio Bobcats are just one game back from first place in the MAC East, so every game is important down the stretch if they want to reach the MAC Championship. Buffalo, the defending MAC champion, is not having a season like it had last year. The Bulls have just one MAC win and will try to finish strong in their last home game of the season, as they host Ohio in a Tuesday night ESPN2 battle.
Buffalo is playing on ESPN2 on a Tuesday night for the second straight week. Last week, Buffalo lost to Bowling Green, 30-29. The Bulls had the lead the whole way through until Bowling Green quarterback Tyler Sheehan threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Freddie Barnes with 39 seconds left. Buffalo established the lead via the ground game, as Jeffvon Gill carried the ball 23 times for 172 yards. The passing game was not as successful, as Zach Maynard was 13-for-27 for 149 yards.
It was the second tough loss in a row for Buffalo. The Bulls lost the previous game 34-31 in overtime to Western Michigan. It was the ground game that was working for the Bulls in that game as well. Ike Nduka had 18 carries for 172 yards. Maynard threw for 327 yards, but he threw two interceptions and barely completed over 50 percent of his pass attempts.
Ohio is coming off a near loss to a 1-8 Ball State team, but the Bobcats pulled out a come-from-behind 20-17 victory when Theo Scott threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Terrence McCrae with just over three minutes remaining. Ohio’s offense has not been very good, but the Bobcats have been winning games on defense. They held Ball State to 247 total yards of offense. They allowed 169 rushing yards, but Ball State had only 78 passing yards. The Bobcats ran for 155 yards on the ground. Ohio QB Theo Scott was 17-for-27 for 161 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
Ohio is averaging less than 20 points per game in its last four games, but the Bobcats have allowed less than 13 points per game in those four games.
Ohio is allowing 182.3 passing yards per game. The Bobcats have given up 10 passing touchdowns and they have 13 interceptions. Buffalo is allowing 215.1 passing yards per game. The Bulls have given up nine passing touchdowns and have five interceptions. Both of these teams give up a lot on the ground. The Bulls have allowed 138.7 rushing yards per game, 17 rushing touchdowns and a 4.3 yards-per-carry average. Ohio has allowed 150.3 rushing yards per game, nine rushing touchdowns and a 3.8 yards-per-carry average.
Ohio’s defense has been very good lately and it should be no different against an inferior Buffalo team on Tuesday. The Bobcats have to win to remain just a game back from first place Temple in the standings. A loss would essentially eliminate Ohio from a chance at reaching the MAC Championship. Buffalo is coming off two tough losses in a row, so the Bulls could be emotionally drained. If Buffalo is going to win this game, it must run the ball extremely well. Nduka is questionable with an ankle injury, but whether it’s him or Gill getting the carries, the Bulls have to dominate on the ground. It’s the same key for Ohio. The Bobcats must stop the Buffalo running game to get the win.
Buffalo is 6-3 ATS in its last nine games against Ohio. The Bobcats are 4-2 ATS in their last six road games. The total has gone under in four of Ohio’s last five games. Buffalo is 0-2 ATS this season as a favorite.
Ryno’s Pick: Ohio is the better team in this matchup, yet the Bobcats are the underdog. They need this win to keep pace at the top of the MAC standings and their defense has been getting the job done lately, but their offense has been weak. Buffalo has played fairly well the last two weeks but hasn’t won either game. The Bulls don’t have much to play for now, except for the fact that it’s their last home game of the season. Neither of these offenses is great and both teams will be playing hard, so expect a low-scoring game with a lot of pounding the ball with the run game. Take the under when it comes out.