Following a disheartening performance last week on the road against Toledo, Miami (2-5, 1-2) returns home to Oxford to face the Buffalo Bulls (2-6, 1-3) on Saturday for Homecoming. Miami is 59-39-4 all-time in homecoming games, and is 11-2 all-time against the Bulls. In last season’s meeting, Miami was victorious by a 21-9 score.
This is a matchup between two of the MAC East division’s middling teams, as neither has been all too impressive thus far. Buffalo is ranked 10th in the conference in points for (19.6), while the RedHawks are right behind them at 11th (17.7). On the other side of the ball, Miami is 7th in the conference in points allowed (27.1), while the Bulls are 9th (28.8).
The Bulls have a very balanced offense, and are able to run or throw the ball with similar efficiency. In last week’s 31-30 loss to Northern Illinois, QB Chazz Anderson threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 56 yards and one more score. Meanwhile, RB Brandon Oliver is having a breakout sophomore season, running for 853 yards and eight TDs this season.
However the Bulls have not been the same team this month on the road that they are at home. On the road (losses to Tennessee and Temple) they have scored just 10 total points and averaged 209.5 yards of total offense. When they hosted Ohio and Northern Illinois, they scored 68 combined points and averaged 514 yards of total offense. If not for a missed extra point in the game’s closing seconds, who is to say the Bulls wouldn’t have completed their furious comeback (they were down 31-10 in the fourth quarter) against the Huskies and stolen the win in overtime? If the RedHawks can strike quickly Saturday (which admittedly, hasn’t happened often this season), perhaps they can gain the upper hand against a team still reeling from a deflating loss.
Make sure to hold your breath when these two teams line up for field goal tries. Miami and Buffalo are tied for last place in the conference in field goal efficiency: 50%. Miami’s K Mason Krysinski has only attempted two field goals this season, but he’s missed two of them. For the Bulls, K Peter Fardon is sitting at 8-for-16 on the year. He’s missed on 5-of-8 attempts from 30 yards or further and may lose some kicks to freshman K Patrick Clarke.
The RedHawks have their backs up against the wall now. Despite what has been an obviously uneven first half of the season, Miami still has a slim chance of defending last year’s conference title. Each team in the MAC East has at least two losses, meaning the ‘Hawks must win all five games remaining on the schedule. That includes games at Temple and Ohio, both of whom currently lead Miami in the standings. It has to start with a win over Buffalo.
Kickoff at Yager Stadium is set for 3:30 p.m. (EST) and will be televised on SportsTimeOhio with internet coverage on ESPN3.