Buffalo Bulls at Kent State Golden Flashes
Thursday, November 14, 2019 at 7:00 PM (Dix Stadium)
Buffalo -1.5; Total 54.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
Buffalo (5-4, 3-2 MAC) is a team still looking to earn a spot in the Mid-American Conference championship game but will likely need to win out and get some help to do so. The next team trying to stop the Bulls’ championship run will be the Kent State (3-6, 2-3 MAC) when the Golden Flashes host Buffalo at Dix Stadium on Thursday night.
Buffalo sits just one game behind MAC East Division leaders Miami (Ohio), but the RedHawks hold the head-to-head advantage over the Bulls. In fact, Buffalo is tied for second in the East Division but Ohio also holds the tie-breaker over the Bulls. Miami (Ohio) also only has games left against Bowling Green, Akron, and Ball State, making things even more difficult for Buffalo, but as of now, there is still a chance.
The Bulls have been great after losing 34-20 to Miami (Ohio) 34-20 and Ohio in overtime, 21-20. Buffalo knocked off Akron 21-0 before big wins over Central Michigan 43-20 and Eastern Michigan 43-14. While the overtime loss to Ohio probably knocked MAC title game hopes out for Buffalo, it still holds an impressive 38-22 win over Temple.
Much of Buffalo’s offensive success has come since sophomore Kyle Vantrease took over as starting quarterback after freshman Matt Myers was injured. Vantrease passed for 179 yards and two touchdowns in the win over Central Michigan and 208 yards and a touchdown against Eastern Michigan. But the Bulls will always look to run first and will count on sophomore Jaret Patterson to get that job done. Patterson is five yards short of 1,000 this season and averages 5.2 yards per carry to go along with seven touchdowns. Sophomore Kevin Marks has added 730 yards and five touchdowns on the ground this year.
That rushing attack spells trouble for Kent State. The Golden Flashes rank 127th out of 130 FBS teams in rushing defense, allowing 254.9 yards per game. Kent State has lost three in a row and four out of five and has given up big rushing yards along the way. Toledo used 289 yards on the ground on the way to a 35-33 win over Kent State, and Miami (Ohio) put up an identical 289 yards rushing in its 23-16 win over the Golden Flashes.
Kent State is a pass-first team and has only had two 100-yard rushers all season. Junior Dustin Crum has been impressive at quarterback this season throwing for 1,602 yards on 67.9 percent completions and 13 touchdowns against just one interception. To show how much Kent State will look to pass first, Crum is also the team’s leading rusher with 414 yards. Sophomore Isaiah McKoy leads a stable of impressive receivers with 525 yards receiving and four touchdowns.
While Buffalo’s strength of rushing the ball falls into Kent State’s weakness defensively, the Golden Flashes’ strength of passing the ball is also a strength for the Bulls’ defense. Buffalo ranks No. 41 in FBS allowing just 208.8 yards passing per game. That information alone makes this pick fairly simple. The scenario is easy to imagine: Buffalo controls the ball on the ground and Kent State’s defense spends 40 minutes on the field, tiring in the end as the Bulls pull away. Take Buffalo for a two-touchdown win as it tries to keep its conference title game hopes alive.