The Buffalo Bulls (2-3, 0-1) will try to get back to the .500 mark as they travel to face the Central Michigan Chippewas (2-4, 1-1) in a Mid-American Conference matchup Saturday afternoon. Central Michigan has won four straight and six of the last seven meetings, including a 20-14 win on the road as a 3.5 point favorite on October 25, 2014 in the most recent matchup.
Buffalo is coming off a bye last week; they were dropped 28-22 by Bowling Green at home two weeks ago. Central Michigan battled but ended up falling 41-39 to Western Michigan in a battle of Michigan schools. Kickoff from Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Michigan is scheduled for 1:00 pm ET and can be seen on ESPN3. Central Michigan is currently a 7.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 54.5 points in this contest.
Buffalo battled hard against Bowling Green in their last game but couldn’t come up with the key stops needed against a high octane passing game. The Bulls were down 28-9 early in the fourth quarter and tried to come back before falling short. Buffalo put up an impressive offensive showing but was outgained 536-500 in the game while committing the only turnover of the contest. Having drives that covered 78 and 79 yards end up with field goals in the red zone doomed Buffalo in this one.
The Bulls are averaging 250.2 yards (44th in the nation) per game through the air and 153.4 yards (89th in the nation) in rushing offense. Buffalo averages 28 points per game and is tied for 44th in scoring defense by allowing 21.6 points per game. Senior Joe Licata runs the offense for the Bulls and he’s been pretty good as he’s completed 117 of 186 throws for 1,242 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions. Anthone Taylor is the lead back in the ground game with 97 carries for 484 yards plus two scores while Jordan Johnson adds 58 carries for 282 yards and three touchdowns. Ron Willoughby is the team’s leading receiver with 30 receptions for 342 yards and two scores; Matt Weiser, an athletic tight end, has 25 grabs for 266 yards and a score while Collin Lisa contributes 16 catches for 188 yards plus a touchdown. Adam Mitcheson has booted 16 of 18 extra points and seven of nine field goal attempts this season.
Central Michigan found themselves in a 34-16 hole with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter and rallied with 20 fourth quarter points but fell shy in their loss to Western Michigan. The Chippewas outgained the Broncos 482-477 in the game and recorded a safety but turned the ball over twice. Both teams had plenty of success through the air as Cooper Rush hit 23 of 32 passes for 321 yards with four touchdowns and one pick for Central Michigan while Zach Terrell hit 15 of 22 passes for 262 yards and four scores.
The Chippewas have a prolific offensive attack, especially through the air as they are putting up 301.8 yards (21st in the nation) while they struggle to run the ball (125th in the nation) with 91.8 yards per game. Central Michigan averages 25 points a game while they stand tied for 66th in the nation in scoring defense by giving up 25.7 points per game. Rush has hit on 155 of his 230 pass attempts for 1,771 yards with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions this season. The run game has been weak as the Chippewas average only 2.9 yards per carry; Jahray Hayes leads the team with 59 carries for 228 yards and two scores while Devon Spalding chips in 52 carries for 182 yards and a score. Six players have caught at least 14 passes for Central Michigan; Jesse Kroll leads the team with 32 grabs for 389 yards and two touchdowns. Anthony Rice (26 receptions, 299 yards, TD) and Ben McCord (22 grabs, 273 yards, 4 TD) are very good targets for Rush as well. Brian Eavey has hit all 15 extra points and 10 of 14 field goal attempts this season.
The Bulls are 5-0 ATS in their last five on the road against teams with a winning home record, 6-1 ATS in their last seven overall, 12-3 ATS in their last 15 against teams with a losing record and 4-1 ATS in their last five in fieldturf.
Both teams have fared well against the spread this season as Buffalo is 4-1 ATS while Central Michigan is 6-0 ATS on the year. The Bulls have had time to plan and strategize for Central Michigan with their bye last week but the question will be if their offensive line can handle a strong defensive front seven like the Chippewas boast. This will be a tight game all the way, take the points and Buffalo in this contest.