FACTS & STATS: Site: University at Buffalo Stadium (31,000) — Buffalo, New
York. Television: None. Home Record: Miami-Ohio 0-2, Buffalo 2-1. Away
Record: Miami-Ohio 0-2, Buffalo 0-1. Neutral Record: Miami-Ohio 0-0, Buffalo
0-0. Conference Record: Miami-Ohio 0-0, Buffalo 0-0. Series Record: Miami-Ohio
GAME NOTES: The Miami-Ohio RedHawks have been contenders in their last two
non-conference games, but still enter Saturday’s contest against the Buffalo
Bulls searching for their first win of the season. They travel to western New
York for their first Mid-American Conference matchup of the season.
The RedHawks were down by just seven points to Michigan at the half over two
weeks ago, but ended up falling to the Wolverines, 34-10. Then last weekend,
Miami and Cincinnati battled back and forth before the Bearcats eventually
took a 31-24 win.
Buffalo has an even 2-2 record this season, but the team’s two wins have come
against FCS opposition. The Bulls have taken down both Duquesne and Norfolk
State with relative ease, but have losses to Army and Baylor sandwiched in
between their wins.
The two sides have met 16 times in their histories, and will clash once more
as conference rivals. Miami-Ohio owns a 12-4 all-time series lead over the
Offense has been a concern for the RedHawks through four games this season,
considering the team is averaging just 17.8 ppg. The 24 points Miami scored
this past weekend against Cincinnati was the most since the team’s season-
opening loss to Marshall (27 points scored). Notre Dame transfer Andrew
Hendrix has been up and down as Miami’s starter, and he seemed to struggle at
times in the loss to the Bearcats. He completed 50 percent of his passes for
262 yards, two touchdowns with an interception – the sixth interception for
the RedHawks as a unit in four games.
The passing offense doesn’t generate productivity like coach Chuck Martin
would like (276 ypg), but the running game has been relatively non-existent.
The RedHawks are averaging just 73.8 rushing ypg, and have scored one
touchdown on the ground this year. Spencer McInnis is the team’s leader with
114 rushing yards in four games played.
Part of the problem for Hendrix is that there is a shortage of serious weapons
to which he can throw. David Frazier leads the team with 22 receptions and 429
yards (162 came last weekend against Cincinnati), adding two touchdowns to his
resume. Rokeem Williams, Jared Murphy, Dawan Scott and Alex Welch all have 10
receptions through four games.
The RedHawks’ defense hasn’t exactly been the saving grace for the team in the
absence of a cohesive offensive unit. Miami is allowing opponents to score 31
ppg through four contests, and surrenders 157 rushing ypg, and 385.5 total
offensive ypg. The RedHawks did a good job limiting the Bearcats to just 99
rushing yards in the loss, but still gave up four touchdowns through the air.
Linebacker Kent Kern leads the team with 39 tackles this season, adding five
tackles for loss, two sacks and a fumble recovery to a loaded stat line. The
defensive backfield has been spotty, but has still helped the team notch four
interceptions through four games. Defensive back Jarrell Jones is second on
the team with 31 stops.
Although Buffalo lost its biggest factor on offense from last year (running
back Branden Oliver), the team has been able to post some strong scoring
numbers through the first four games. The 21 points the team scored against
Baylor is the lowest scoring total so far for the Bulls, who are led by
quarterback Joe Licata. Against Norfolk State in the team’s last outing,
Licata threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
Licata has helped the offense reach a 462.8 total ypg average, contributing
304 passing ypg to that statistic. He has 12 passing scores through the first
four weeks – eight have gone to receivers Ron Willoughby and Devon Hughes
(four TDs apiece). Willoughby has hauled in a team-high 20 receptions for 286
yards, with Hughes not too far behind in either category.
The running game has lacked a bit in Oliver’s absence, but Anthone Taylor has
still been able to provide 357 rushing yards and three ground scores through
the first third of the slate. Buffalo’s running game has generated 158.8 ypg
Now that conference play is starting up for the Bulls, the defensive parody
through the first four weeks will start to become a clear picture. In the
team’s two wins, Buffalo has allowed a combined 35 points. In the team’s two
losses, the Bulls have given up 110 points. Overall, Buffalo is allowing 36.2
ppg and 430.8 total offensive ypg to opponents.
Last weekend, Norfolk State managed just 10 first downs and 215 yards of
combined offense. Linebacker/defensive back Adam Redden notched a team-high
six tackles for Buffalo, adding 1.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble to
his effort. His 25 stops on the season is two behind team leader Lee Skinner’s
27 tackles, but Redden’s two sacks is a team best. He and the defense should
be busy once again disrupting the RedHawks’ backfield.
Both squads have faced some difficulty staying consistent this season,
especially on the defensive side of the football. But Miami hasn’t really
found much of a rhythm on offense, although the team has been able to stay in
its last two contests for a large part of the game. Given that Buffalo has the
home advantage and steady production from the quarterback spot, the Bulls
should be able to hand Miami its fifth loss this season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Buffalo 31, Miami-Ohio 23