Bulls travel to Athens to take on undefeated foe

By JON GAGNON and JOE KONZE JR.
On October 4, 2012

  • Buffalo travels to Athens, Ohio to take on standout running back Beau Blankenship (22) in a Mid-American Conference game. Courtesy of University of Ohio

 

Last season, the Bulls stomped on the Bobcats' hearts when they came to UB stadium.

It was a game Ohio was supposed to win.

But the exasperating offense of the Bulls (1-3, 0-1 Mid-American Conference) proved to be too much for the Bobcats, as Buffalo pushed to a 38-37 victory.

The Bulls are in a similar situation this year as they travel to Athens, Ohio, looking for a much-needed win to help generate some momentum to keep them in the race for a MAC championship.

The Bobcats (5-0, 1-0 MAC) couldn't have gotten off to a better start in 2012; the last time they started a season 5-0 was in 1968. They're the only team remaining in the MAC with an undefeated record and have a notable win against Penn State in their season opener. But that's not to say there aren't a few blemishes to point out.

Last week, they opened up their conference schedule against UMass (0-5, 0-2 MAC), a new member of the MAC who transferred from the lower-level FCS, and were only able to defeat the Minutemen by three points, 37-34. Not the start they were looking for in their opener against the clear-cut worst team in the conference, but nonetheless a win.

 

Players to watch for: Running back Beau Blankenship: In his first year as the premier back for the Bobcats, Blankenship, a transfer from the Big 12's Iowa State, is currently third in all of the NCAA in rushing yards. Last week against UMass, Blankenship set a career high with 269 yards, boosting his total to 757 rushing yards on the season, which is on pace to beat former Bobcat Kalvin McRae's rushing record of 1,434 yards.

Quarterback Tyler Tettleton: In his junior year, Tettleton is often referred to as one of the best passers in the country. With more than a season and a half left to play in his career, he is only two touchdown passes away from becoming the school's all-time leader. Tettleton was listed to four preseason award watch lists, notably the Davey O'Brien Award, which is given to the best quarterback in the nation. He is currently second in the MAC in passing efficiency and is one of only six quarterbacks in the country to have thrown for at least eight touchdowns and zero interceptions.

 

Key Matchup: Beau Blankenship vs. Bulls' front seven: The Bulls are giving up 200 yards a game on the ground. That doesn't bode well for a defense matched up with the nations third-leading rusher in Blankenship. If the Bulls put their focus on Tettleton and the Bobcats' passing attack, it could leave plenty of holes for Blankenship to continue his streak of at least 100 yards rushing in every game this season. 

 

He said it: "Buffalo comes out swinging, but can't bring down running back Beau Blankenship and the rest of Ohio's offense. The Bobcats stay perfect, escaping with a 24-17 win."- Jim Ryan, Asst. Sports Editor at The Post, Ohio University's student newspaper.

 

Number to watch: +2.2, Ohio's turnover margin, which currently ranks fifth in the nation. The Bulls, on the other hand, have failed to complete a game thus far with a positive margin. The Bulls are currently -6 in turnovers through four games.

 

Prediction:  The Bulls should be able to move the ball a considerable amount. However, the status of junior running back Branden Oliver is unknown. Junior Brandon Murie and freshman Devin Campbell have filled in well, but it could be tough against an Ohio defense that ranks No. 1 in the MAC in rushing defense.

Ohio 31, Bulls 21

 

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com


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