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MAC East leaders Ohio and Buffalo clash Tuesday
By: Freddy Wander - StatFox
Published: 11/5/2013  at  4:06:00 AM
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OHIO BOBCATS (6-2)
at BUFFALO BULLS (6-2)

Kickoff: Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Buffalo -3.5, Total: 56

Ohio travels to Buffalo Tuesday night in a matchup of the top two schools in the Mid-American Conference’s East division.

Both schools hold 6-2 records on the year, but the Bulls have gone undefeated (4-0) so far in the MAC while the Bobcats hold a 3-1 SU record in conference. Ohio could very easily be 4-0 as well, but lost a nail-biter against Central Michigan on Oct. 12 when the Chippewas scored a touchdown with just 22 seconds left on the clock. Ohio has raised its offensive game during conference play, averaging 40.7 PPG and 471 total YPG versus MAC opponents. It beat up on 0-8 Miami-Ohio in the last game, winning 41-16 with 535 yards of total offense. Buffalo has not had any close calls thus far in the conference and has defeated its MAC opponents by an average of 27.5 PPG this season without a turnover in four games. The closest game came in the most recent contest, a 41-21 win on the road against Kent State on Oct 26 when it outrushed the Golden Flashes 206 to 103. These two programs have split their past two meetings, with the Bulls going 2-0 ATS in that time. In the most recent meeting last season, the Bobcats won 38-31 at home as 14.5-point favorites even though they were outgained on offense 501 to 333. The Bobcats were able to prevail by forcing three turnovers in that game. Since 1997, Ohio holds the 10-5 SU edge in the series, but is only 6-8 ATS in those matchups.

Can Buffalo stay unbeaten in the MAC? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The four experts are a combined 55.3% ATS (94-76-7) in college football Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Dave who is 59% ATS (30-21-2) in Best Bets this season, including 71% ATS (17-7-1) during a run of six straight weeks of .500 or better. StatFox Brian is 57% ATS (24-18-1) in college football Best Bets this year, while StatFox Gary is 56% ATS (15-12-1) for yearly CFB Best Bets.

Ohio has leaned on its passing game this season to earn victories. The school has averaged 275.1 passing YPG this year (32nd in FBS) and has outgained its opponent through the air in each of the past five games. QB Tyler Tettleton had done well over the previous two seasons for the Bobcats (6,150 pass yards, 46 TD, 14 INT) and is once again impressing under center this year with a 68% completion percentage, 2,029 passing yards, 17 touchdowns and six interceptions. Tettleton has thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of his past five games and has eclipsed the 300-yard mark in each of his past three contests. He has seemed to form a strong connection with fellow senior, WR Donte Foster, who has 718 yards on 50 catches (14.4 avg.) and six touchdowns this season. Foster has really turned it on in the past three games, with 28 total catches, 383 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Splitting time in the backfield have been HB Beau Blankenship (550 rush yards, 4.7 YPC, 4 TD) and HB Ryan Boykin (364 rush yards, 3.9 YPC, 6 TD). Blankenship put up his best rushing numbers of the season in Ohio’s last game with 172 yards rushing on just 20 attempts (8.6 YPC). NFL hopeful CB Travis Carrie (27 tackles, one interception) and the Ohio defense have held opponents to only 21.8 PPG (29th in FBS) on the season.

Buffalo has used a balanced offensive attack (208 pass YPG, 173 rush YPG) to go undefeated on the year in the MAC. QB Joe Licata has performed well this season with 1,569 passing yards, 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions, but has not really blown anybody away with his play. He has thrown at least one touchdown in each game this season and has not thrown an interception in four straight games since Sept. 28, but has eclipsed 200 passing yards only three times. The real standout on the offense has been HB Branden Oliver, who has 874 rushing yards on 180 attempts (4.9 YPC) with nine touchdowns. Oliver has been running all over opposing defenses all year, but has really shined in his past two games with 401 rushing yards and five touchdowns. He has 125+ yards in each of the Bulls' four conference games, averaging 170 rushing YPG in MAC play. While there has not been a huge emphasis on the Buffalo passing game, WR Alex Neutz has done very well with 39 catches for 628 yards (16.1 avg.) and seven touchdowns. He has caught a touchdown pass in all but one game this season. Senior LB Khalil Mack is widely considered an early first-round NFL draft pick, and has performed as expected this season (54 tackles, 7 sacks, 4 PD, 3 INT and 2 touchdowns). Mack has an interception and a sack in each of his past two games. The Bulls' defense as a whole has not seemed to be too impressive, allowing 380 YPG of offense, but holds a 19-5 advantage over their opponents in turnovers, including 12-0 in conference play.

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