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The Buffalo Bulls will look to reach bowl eligibility Wednesday night as they host the Toledo Rockets in a Mid-American Conference affair. Buffalo saw its three-game winning streak come to an end last Thursday with a 30-27 road loss to Kent St. Leading 27-6 with 11:18 to play, Buffalo allowed the Flashes to score 24 points in under eight minutes including a game-winning field goal as time expired. The loss all but eliminated Buffalo from competing for a MAC East division title.
Toledo suffered a close loss of its own last Wednesday night, falling to Northern Illinois 31-28. The Rockets trailed 28-7 entering the fourth quarter, then scored three consecutive touchdowns to tie the game only to watch NIU take the lead on a last-minute field goal. With starting quarterback Mitchell Guadagni out with an undisclosed injury, Toledo turned to backup Eli Peters who threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns. Peters is expected to start again Wednesday.
Toledo hopes to improve bowl standingThe Toledo Rockets haven't been the same since starting quarterback Mitchell Guadagni went down with an injury in a loss to Bowling Green last month. Including that game, the Rockets have lost three of five with the two wins coming at home. Eli Patters, Guadagni's backup at quarterback, does seem to be getting more comfortable with his role. His 300 yards and three touchdowns against Northern Illinois were both season highs. Unfortunately for Toledo, the offense came up just short of mounting an incredible comeback.
Toledo is the MAC's top rushing team with 249.6 yards per game on the ground. The Rockets will likely be without top rusher Bryant Koback who was taken out of the NIU game with a lower leg injury. Koback was responsible for over 1,000 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns. Junior back Shakif Seymour has another 693 yards on the ground to go with four scores. He's tallied 308 yards in the last two games.
Defensively, the Rockets allow 29.2 points per game which ranks sixth in the conference. The unit gives up a league-worst 264.5 passing yards on average. Their road defense allows 7.47 yards per play, which is near the bottom of the FBS. Senior linebacker Jordan Fisher leads the team with 74 tackles and also has one interception.
Buffalo goes for bowl eligibilityThe Buffalo Bulls will have to forget about their disappointing loss to Kent St. last week and turn their focus squarely on Toledo if they want to come out on top Wednesday night. Buffalo appeared to have a win its grasps before it let the Falcons scored 24 unanswered points in a dramatic comeback. Buffalo's defense had to be kicking itself for holding Kent St. to six points through three quarters before letting the opposing offense go on four straight scoring drives.
The Bulls offense, which ranks sixth in the league with 28 points per game, relies heavily on its rushing attack. Buffalo wasn't expected to be such a run-heavy team, but when freshman starting quarterback Matt Myers went down with an injury in a late September loss to Miami (OH), the Bulls had to adapt. Sophomore running back Jaret Patterson has over 1,100 yards on the ground including 140 or more in each of his last three games. Behind center, Buffalo has turned to sophomore quarterback Kyle Vantrease. He completed nine of 22 passes against Kent St. for one touchdown.
Buffalo has the top scoring defense in the MAC (23.1 points per game) which made the group's fourth quarter letdown against Kent St. all the more stunning. The Bulls are particularly strong at stopping the run, as they allow just 88.4 yards on the ground per game. Three of the MAC's four top sack leaders play for Buffalo, including Taylor Riggins and Malcolm Koonce who each have seven.
- Bulls are 7-1 ATS in their last eight home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games.
- Bulls are 4-1 ATS in their last four games overall.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on covers.com, are:
- Rockets are 1-4 ATS in their last five games on fieldturf.
- Rockets are 0-6 ATS in their last six games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last four road games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Buffalo Bulls have the best run defense in the MAC which should serve them well against a run-first Toledo opponent. The Rokcets are also missing their top rusher, Bryant Koback, who joins starting quarterback Mitchell Guadagni on the sideline. Without its top two offensive playmakers, it's hard to see Toledo compete against a Buffalo team that leads the conference in scoring defense. Go with the Bulls at home.
Prediction: Buffalo Bulls -7.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Toledo is without a starting quarterback and a starting running back and gets to face off against the top defense in the MAC on the road. I don't know about you but to me that smells like a recipe for a low scoring side. Buffalo's offense is good but not great. Don't expect the Bulls to drive this one over without much help from the Rockets. And as was just noted, Toledo's not in a great spot.
Prediction: Under 54