Bowling Green/Buffalo Football Preview
Two of the best offenses in the Mid-American Conference will be on display tonight (8 PM on ESPN2) when the Bowling Green Falcons (3-5, 2-2) visit the Buffalo Bulls (3-5, 1-3) in a game that doesn't have as much riding on it as anticipated when the season began. Buffalo lost starting RB James Starks before the season began and his absence has had an effect despite Turner Gill's team having the conference's second-best offense. Turnovers have been a problem for the Bulls, who rank eleventh out of thirteen teams in turnover margin. The key for the Bowling Green defense will be to pressure QB Zach Maynard, foricing him to make bad decisions.
But the best player on the field tonight will be wearing the road whites. WR Freddie Barnes has 99 receptions through eight games and leads the nation in receptions (12.38) and yards per game (131.75), and going up against a pass defense that ranks seventh in the conference there should be opportunities for Barnes to go to work. QB Tyler Sheehan leads the conference in total offense and passing yards per game, another example of the effect that first-year head coach Dave Clawson has had on the Bowling Green attack.
One key to watch is how well the Falcons do in the red zone. They've converted just 68% of their red-zone opportunities, ranking eleventh in the conference in that category. Buffalo is eleventh in the MAC in red-zone defense so there will likely be opportunities on both sides to make plays. It will be fun to watch receivers Barnes and Buffalo's Naaman Roosevelt go to work in this one; Bowling Green wins it with a late field goal.