Ohio faced a scare last week in Amherst when they barely squeaked out a win against Mid-American Conference newcomer Massachusetts. This week, the ‘Cats return home to take on Buffalo looking to get a bad taste out of their mouths and reverse the outcome of last year’s contest.
“We don’t try to work on getting revenge from last year,” Ohio head coach Frank Solich said.” We lost the turnover battle, we lost the sack battle, we lost the big and explosive play battle, we lost the redzone battle and we lost the third down conversion battle. That’s losing a lot of battles, so we want to do much better than that.”
For the first time in what seems like forever, the Ohio secondary gets a bit of a break. Buffalo is only averaging, 186. 5 passing yards per game. Instead, the ‘Cats front will be have the challenge of stopping Branden Oliver, if he’s healthy. Oliver leads the Bulls in rushing and had a field day in last year’s victory rushing for 179 yards and three touchdowns.
“Every team in the MAC has an identity and Buffalo’s is toughness and they like to run the ball from the offensive standpoint,” Solich said.
Ohio has had a pretty strong run game, too. Redshirt junior running back Beau Blankenship has hit the century mark in each of Ohio’s first five games. Last week Massachusetts, Blankenship toted the rock 43 times for a career-high 269 yards and two touchdowns.
Ohio needs to jump out against Buffalo the way they did against Norfolk State. Get an early turnover and
About the Opponent
Location: Buffalo, N.Y.
Nickname: Buffalo Bulls
Colors: Blue and White
Players Currently in the NFL: Packers RB James Stark, Bills WR Namaan Roosevelt
Notable Alumni: Wolf Blitzer, CNN journalist
Keys to the Game
1. Don’t Let the Run Open Up the Pass- If Branden Oliver can get going, Bulls quarterback Alex Zordich might be able to start working the Bobcats’ secondary through play action. That’s not good news. Last week at Massachusetts, the ‘Cats gave up 373 yards through the air.
2. Make Khalil Mack a Non-factor- Ohio can utilize the play action, too. If the read fake can draw reigning MAC Defensive Player of the Year up to the line of scrimmage, look for Ohio’s tight ends to have room to run over the middle of the field.
3. Control the Game- Two weeks ago, Ohio needed a dominant game against Norfolk State, and they got it. After last week’s performance in Massachusetts, they need another convincing win in-conference. What a better way than getting back at a team that took them down last year.
Bobcats to Watch
Offensively: Ryan Boykin- He’s expected to be 100 percent. Will he take carries from Beau? Is that a good thing? It’ll be interesting to see how Tim Albin utilizes him in the run game.
Defensively: Neal Huynh- He’s the man in the middle that will need to get a big push in order for the ‘Cats to hold back Oliver. After how dominant he was in the early season last year, it’s time for Huynh to have a monstrous game.
Quote of the Week
“It’s in the back of our mind. But it’s just another another game. A big opponent coming in here knowing they won last year, we’re just trying to go 1-0.”- Linebacker Jelani Woseley on whether the idea of revenge is in their heads.