UB Stadium, Buffalo NY
It will be a high-flying offense versus one of the Mid-American Conferences’s better defenses Saturday when Bowling Green meets Buffalo.
The Bowling Green Falcon have already accomplished a rarity for MAC teams. They finished non-conference play with wins over two Big Ten teams – Maryland (48-27) and Purdue (35-28).
Buffalo, meanwhile, also enters with a 2-2 record. The wins came in weeks one and three, with victories over Albany (51-14) and Florida Atlantice (33-15, respectively.
Bowling Green pulled out a thrilling 36-35 home win almost one year ago to the day (Oct. 4, actually), so the Bulls would like to turn the tables on home turf.
While Bowling Green owned a 508-368 advantage in total yardage, it committed three turnovers to just one for UB. The Bulls took the lead midway through the final period on an Anthone Taylor TD but could not hold on. Fred Coppet tallied the game winner with 2:19 remaining to give BG a key MAC East victory.Both Taylor and Coppet will be back for the 2015 meeting.
One player who couldn’t play in last year’s matchup is BG quarterback. Injured in Week One, he missed virtually all of last season. His return this year has been nothing short of spectacular as he leads the nation in passing yardage (1,760). He has thrown for over 400 yards in each of his four games this season.
Senior Roger Lewis is also enjoying a big year as he is currently ranked second in the nation in receiving yards.. He caught seven passes for a career-high 261 yards and three TDs against Memphis. That was his second straight 200-yard receiving performance. He is averaging 18.6 ypc and has five touchdowns thus far. Ronnie Moore has nearly as many receptions. His 29 grabs is just one short of Lewis.
Not to be overlooked is the Falcons running game. BG has rushed on over 40 percent of its snaps this season and four of five touchdowns against Purdue came via the rush. The Falcons totaled four rushing scores in the first three weeks.
Coppet is averaging 5.7 ypg with 224 rushing yards. Travis Green, meanwhile, has a team-high 49 carries and 2322 yards (with three touchdowns).
Defensively, sophomore Austin Valdez is just a shade off the top rung for MAC tackling. He has 11.8 per game, while Jaylen Coleman of Toledo is averaging 12.0. Senior Trent Green, another BG linebacker, is fourth with 10.5 stops per contest.
Turnovers undermined Buffalo’s efforts in a 24-21 loss to Nevada last week. The Bulls outgained UN 487-379 and had a 23-15 advantage in first downs. The Wolfpack, however, had no turnovers, while UB committed three. Nevada was also able to run for 289 yards.
Buffalo got 149 yards out of its own ground game, with Jordan Johnson and Taylor combining for 29 carries and 147 yards.
Quarterback Joe Licata completed 28 of 46 for 338 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Matt Weisner (131 yards, 1 TD) and Ron Willoughby (122 yards) both caught 10 passes to lead receivers.
Defensively, linebackers Okezie Alozie and Nick Gilbo have combined for 65 tackles, 7.5 TFL and 4.5 sacks. Defensive back Boise Ross has two interceptions.
-- Bowling Green tops the MAC in scoring (38.5 ppg). Buffalo is third in scoring defense (20. ppg).
-- While they score a bunch, the Falcons give up a bunch, as well. They are tied with Miami for next to last (39.5 ppg) in scoring defense.
-- UB’s Taylor ranks third (MAC) in rushing with a 95.2 ypg average. His 76 carries tops the entire league.