Buffalo Bulls vs. Baylor Bears: Preview And Prediction

Buffalo Bulls Wide Receiver Alex Nuetz

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Not many prognosticators gave the Buffalo Bulls a chance to win the game on Saturday. The Bulls were facing the second-ranked  Ohio State Buckeyes on the road in Columbus. However, with over four minutes remaining in the third quarter, the Bulls were playing toe to toe with the mighty Buckeyes before losing 40-20.

This week, the Bulls must travel to Waco, TX to take on a Big 12 Conference opponent in the Baylor Bears. The Bulls are 0-2 against the Bears, with both losses coming in 2007 and 2010.

Buffalo Offense:

In the loss to Ohio State, the Bulls have many positive signs heading into this game. The offense was able to accumulate 185 passing yards against a very tough Buckeyes secondary. Starting quarterback Joe Licata stood in the pocket and completed 19 of 32 passes for 185 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

Of those 19 completions, nine were to his favorite receiver Alez Nuetz. On Saturday, Nuetz led the team with 98 receiving yards and constantly forced the Buckeyes cornerbacks to play off of the line of scrimmage.

Neutz will be a key factor against the Bears. If he can continue to stretch the field for Buffalo, that will open up the running game led by Branden Oliver, who struggled against Ohio State,  but did manage 73 yards on 26 carries.

In order for the Bulls to get the victory on Saturday, they must control the game clock against Baylor. The Bulls offense is not built to play catch-up against a high-octane offense. The Bulls must utilize Oliver against the Bears’ defense that surrendered 173 rushing yards to Wofford.

Buffalo Defense:

The Bulls’ defense was able to create two turnovers against Ohio State. They will need to continue to play aggressively facing a very good running back in Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk. The Bulls’ defense was able to penetrate the Buckeyes offensive line for four sacks on Saturday.

If they are able to create pressure against Baylor, they have a chance to pull off the upset. Linebacker Kahlil Mack will be key to the Bulls’ defense. The senior accounted for nine tackles , three sacks and one interception against Ohio State. His presence can create mismatches with the Bears’ offensive line and force quarterback Bryce Petty into poor decisions.

Baylor Offense:

The Bears racked up a total of 692 yards in a 69-3 victory over Wofford. Quarterback Bryce Petty completed 19 of 24 passes on Saturday for 312 yards and two touchdowns. As a team, they completed 23 of 28 passes for 411 passing yards and averaged 6.4 rushing yards.

The Bears and head coach Art Briles love to play fast and wear down defenses. The Bears were able to record 32 first downs and scored on their first three offensive possessions to take a 28-0 first-quarter lead against Wofford.

Look for the Bears to utilize running back Lache Seastrunk against the Bulls’ smaller defensive line. Seastrunk is very quick and can go the distance every time he touches the football. Seastrunk rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns against Wofford.

If the Bears get into a rhythm on offense early in the game against Buffalo, it can be a long day for the Bulls’ defense.

Baylor Defense:

The Bears defense played very well on Saturday and only allowed Wofford to gain 60 yards through the air. They were very opportunistic and created three turnovers in the victory.

Linebackers Bryce Hager and Eddie Lackey were all over the field in the victory against Wofford. Hager led the team with 12 tackles, and Lackey added nine tackles for the game. The Bears will need to stop the run against the Bulls and force the game into quarterback Joe Licata’s hands.

Although Licata performed well against Ohio State, the Bulls would like to run the football as their first option. The Bears’ secondary is quick and experienced. The Bears will need to double cover Alex Neutz to force the Licata to find another big-play wide receiver.

Prediction:

This is the Bulls’ second road game against a very tough opponent. The Big 12 Conference did not perform well in Week 1 of the college football season. Kansas State and Iowa State were both knocked off by opponents from the FCS. While the Bulls should be able to move the football on the Bears defense, they do not have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Bears.

Baylor 48 — Buffalo 29

Joseph Lisi is MAC writer for Rantsports.com, follow him on Twitter @GoForthe2, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google

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