The Edge: Buffalo vs. Kent State

A position-to-position breakdown for a key divisional matchup

edge

The Bulls look to continue their four-game win streak this week at home against the Kent State Golden Flashes. 

Last week, the Bulls struggled to stop the Miami (OH) defense, but won their fourth straight game by putting on an offensive show. Buffalo (8-1, 5-0 Mid-American Conference) is to make it five-straight against Kent State (2-7, 1-4 MAC), who has struggled to win in MAC games this season. Buffalo is playing on Tuesday night for the second time and looks strong heading into the matchup. The Bulls are mostly healthy going into the game so expect big stats from Buffalo. 

Quarterback - Bulls

Last week junior quarterback Tyree Jackson continued his impressive year by accounting for 6 touchdowns overall. He scored three through the air and three rushing. Buffalo is averaging 248 passing yards per game versus Kent State's sophomore quarterback Woody Barretts 212 yards per. Tyree Jackson also has 23 passing touchdowns compared to Barretts’ 10. They both have 8 interceptions, but Jackson has put up bigger numbers more consistently. Jackson’s efficiency throwing the ball will make all the difference as the Bulls have had more success on their attempts. Barrett makes use of his legs and has 455 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns compared to Jackson's 87 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jackson has the edge overall this week, but it should be an interesting quarterback matchup.

Running Back - Pick ‘Em

Both teams have had similar rushing seasons so far. Kent State has 1,598 total rushing yards whereas Buffalo has 1,557. The Bulls do have 20 rushing touchdowns to the Flashes’ 16. The Flashes have more of a committee running attack, with 3 rushers each with over 70 attempts. The Bulls are a two-horned attack, with both freshmen running backs Kevin Marks and Jaret Patterson splitting the load with 113 attempts each and 7 touchdowns for Marks and 8 for Patterson. Both teams excel in the rushing game, with the Flashes using it more in their offense with their quarterback over 100 attempts.

Wide Receiver - Bulls 

The Bulls take this matchup with star senior receiver Anthony Johnson coming off his best performance of the season with 8 receptions for 238 yards and 3 touchdowns. Johnson along with junior receiver KJ Osborn, are averaging over 16 yards per catch to form a deadly pairing that worries opposing defenses. Both Johnson and Osborn have over 650 receiving yards, whereas the Flashes don’t have a single receiver over 500 yards. The Flashes leading receiver junior Mike Carrigan, leads his team with 417 yards. The Bulls have the edge in this matchup with a healthy Johnson against the Flashes.

Coaches – Bulls

Head coach Lance Leipold looks to continue the team’s win streak against an opponent that has struggled this year from the start. The Bulls are looking dominant since their loss to the Army Black Knights (7-2) at the end of September. Buffalo has scored over 30 points in 3 of the past 4 games. Kent State's coach Sean Lewis has struggled to lead his team to many wins going 2-7 in his first year as head coach. His team has struggled to score the ball and against a good defense, something Buffalo has shown despite last week’s performance. With the Bulls offense looking in top form, it may be an ugly affair on Tuesday night for Lewis.

Defense - Bulls 

The Bulls have looked solid this season on defense, ranking second in the MAC in total defense. The Bulls defense is led by senior linebacker Khalil Hodge who has 111 tackles this season ranking fifth in the nation and 2 sacks this season. The Flashes are a below-average defense, ranking 11th in the MAC, allowing 34.2 points per game. The Flashes have struggled to stop offenses and have a long day awaiting them against the Bulls.

Andrew Rasimas is a staff writer and can be reached at sports@ubspectrum.com