Week 4 Begins with MACtion
The fourth week of the NCAA college football schedule opens up with the spotlight on the Mid-American Conference. The Kent State Golden Flashes and Buffalo Bulls head into this one with identical 1-1 records straight up and against the spread. Both teams beat up on an FCS school, lost to an SEC foe, and have been idle since Sept. 9. The Bulls are pegged as 3.5-point favourites with a 52-point total.
The Mid-Week Spotlight
The national stage can be daunting for some young players. Kent State, which has lost seven of its last eight road games, will be looking to avenge an ugly 9-6 loss it suffered the last time these teams met in 2009. “This is my third year here and it’s our first Wednesday game, so it’s different,” Golden Flashes junior safety Luke Wollet told reporters. “It’s something none of us have been through. But it’s given us a couple extra days to prepare and get healthy, things that are pretty important.” The Golden Flashes have 16 returning starters in the lineup this season.
Bulls Offence Opens Up
Last year Buffalo relied heavily on tailback Branden Oliver as he rumbled for 1,395 yards and 4.6 yards per carry. Oliver is off to another great this season, averaging more than 175 yards per game, but the Bulls hope to boast a more balanced attack moving forward. Junior quarterback Alex Zordich has already thrown for 385 yards and five TDs in two games, completing 30 of 45 attempts.
Injuries of Note
Kent State is a bit banged up. Starting senior wide receiver Tyshon Goode is practicing but is listed as questionable with a hamstring issue that has kept him out of the first two games. He ranks fourth in school history with 136 catches and 1,814 receiving yards. Senior cornerback Norman Wolfe broke his arm last week and will be replaced in the starting lineup by junior Darius Polk. The Flashes also have some concerns with their running game. Leading rusher Trayion Durham is questionable with an arm injury. He has 141 rushing yards and chipped in five grabs for 29 yards in the first two games of the year.
Buffalo is terrible against the run and gave up more than 200 yards on the ground in last week’s blowout of Morgan State. However, the Golden Flashes will look to move the ball through the air more than they’ll run it – especially if Durham is out or limited. With the way Oliver and Zordich have started the year for the Bulls, it’s hard not to like the home team here.
Final score: Buffalo 34, Kent State 24