Bulls Come Off Bye to Face Eastern Michigan
BUFFALO, NY - The UB Bulls are travelling to Eastern Michigan Saturday to take on the Eagles in a cross divisional Mid-American Conference match-up. The Bulls (2-7, 1-4) are coming off of a bye week and look to rediscover the offensive success it had in the weeks prior to the bye week. Buffalo committed just five turnovers through seven games, but have lost four fumbles and threw four interceptions in the previous two games alone.
Eastern Michigan (5-4, 3-2) will pose another tough match-up for the Bulls, who have never beaten a MAC West Division opponent on the road. Eastern Michigan is 4-0 all-time against Buffalo and enters the game with the 15th best ground attack in the nation. The Eagles have rushed for over 2,100 yards on 430 carries this season, including 15 rushing touchdowns. Most recently, EMU lost 33-31 to Ball State on a Cardinal field goal with nine seconds remaining in the game.
"We need to get the ball taken away from their offense," head coach Jeff Quinn said. "It's going to be tough to do because Eastern Michigan has the mentality to run the ball. They had over 500 yards of total offense last week (against Ball State)."
The Eagle offense offers two running backs with well over 500 yards rushing and its quarterback, Alex Gillett, is one of the conference's top dual-threat quarterbacks. Despite passing for just around 115 yards per game, Gillett leads the team in rushing with 565 yards (62.8 per game). The Buffalo defense will need to draw on its past success against fellow dual threat QB Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois in order to contain Gillett.
Quinn acknowledged the fact that Buffalo has not given themselves enough opportunities this season on defense. On the other side of the ball, the UB offense is plagued by two key season-ending injuries to wide receivers Alex Neutz and Terrell Jackson. The high-profile injuries will allow freshman Devon Hughes, sophomore Fred Lee and junior Saron Hood an opportunity to prove themselves in a critical game.
The Buffalo run-game was slowed basically for the first time all season two weeks ago at Miami (OH), going for just 77 yards on 34 attempts as a team. Sophomore Branden Oliver sits at 900 yards for the season and will look to crack the century mark against a very stout Eastern Michigan defense.
"It's about guys winning the battles up front – one on one confrontations - and I've spent a lot of time with our offensive line," coach Quinn said.
Quinn said he reminded his team they still have a lot to play for. Winning out on the season will give the Bulls a .500 record in the conference and will hold the second most wins in school history since becoming Division I-A.
Kickoff is at 1:00 pm and fans can catch a live webstream of the game at mac-sports.com or listen on 1230 WECK in Buffalo or 1280/107.3 WHTK in Rochester.