The Buffalo Bulls are coming off of an impressive 41-12 victory over the UCONN Huskies and have an opportunity to have their best start since the 2008 season. The Bulls will be looking to pick up a conference win when their MAC season opens this Saturday against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.
Buffalo was able to move the ball against a stingy UCONN defense last Saturday. The Bulls had a very balanced attack and managed 330 total yards of offense. Quarterback Joe Licata threw for three touchdowns, and the Bulls passing attack stretched the field against the Huskies’ secondary. The offensive line played very well and opened up running lanes for running back Branden Oliver. Oliver finished with 90 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Entering this week’s matchup, the Bulls will need to continue to run the football. The Bulls are 106th in the nation, averaging 110.5 rushing yards per game. The Bulls will be facing an Eastern Michigan defense that is allowing 208.7 rushing yards per game. If the running game can continue to develop over the coming weeks, this will open up the play-action passing game for Licata and company.
The Bulls are 85th in the nation, averaging 214.5 passing yards per game. However, the offensive line has played very well this season in protecting the quarterback. The Bulls have only allowed six sacks through four games and will need to protect Licata against an undersized Eagles defensive line on Saturday. The Eagles have allowed 37 points per game, and Licata should test a vulnerable Eagles secondary this Saturday.
Defensively, the Bulls have been very aggressive in creating turnovers. Last week against UCONN, the Bulls forced four turnovers en route to the convincing win. On the season, the Bulls are a +3 in turnover margin and have been able to sack opposing passers (13 team sacks). Linebacker Khalil Mack continues to lead the team in sacks with 3.5 and is followed by defensive back Adam Redden with three sacks on the year.
Buffalo has been solid at home in stuffing the running game. The Bulls have surrendered 83.5 rushing yards per game and will look to step up on Saturday against the Eagles. The Bulls will be looking to challenge an Eastern Michigan offense that is 117th in the nation in scoring points (17.8 points per game).