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Illini Fight Off Huskies

The #25 Illinois defense stifled Washington's star QB Jake Davis as Illinois won a more defensive game 19-17, although QB Jordan Harrison did help with over 300 yards in the air.

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Panthers QB Christian Skaggs throws for 506 yards on 49 attempts, adding 6 TD to 0 INT, as the Panthers rout the Bucs at home 42-12.

Hokie-Pokey Defense Turns Game Around

In a game that was 0-0 at the half, Virginia Tech managed to pull the upset of #12 Ohio State through a stifling defense that held OSU to just 3 field goals.

Sustainable Bills Sneak Past Saints

The Bills scored in every quarter, putting up 35; they nearly lost anyway as the Saints scored 27 in the 4th quarter in a close 35-33 game.
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[2023] Week 4 Preview - TNF

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Match-Up: Buffalo (0-2) at Ohio (1-1)

 

Coach @Jordan and the Bulls travel to Athens to take on Coach @bbates728 and the Bobcats. This game could very well determine who wins the East this season. Buffalo's offense features a heavy focus on running and the unwillingness (and inability) to throw. QB Levi Thompson, in his 2nd year as a starter, is really struggling as a passer. He's completed just 56% of his passes for 187 Yards. The only positive note you can take away from that is he hasn't thrown an Interception yet. The Bulls are continuing a trend from 2022. They were 4-0 in games in which they ran for 200+ Yards, but 2-6 when they didn't. Buffalo comes in 0-2, and has rushed for 157 Yards and 123 Yards respectively. Making the Bulls 2-8 over the past two seasons when they can't rush for 200. RB Alec Self has to be the man this week. He has 239 Yards on 4.88 YPC and just one TD so far. Self isn't alone in the ground game, Thompson is a good runner, but hasn't really shown that yet. He has 41 Yards on 11 Carries, Buffalo needs him to be more efficient running the ball. Buffalo has played some solid teams, BYU and Stanford, but they're hardly great Defensive teams. Ohio's defense has holes for sure, Buffalo has to take advantage of those holes and maintain possession. So far, Buffalo is 6-23 on 3rd Downs, just barely above 25% Conversion. That will not work against the Bobcats Offense. If Buffalo doesn't keep the ball and rack up the yards, their defense will suffer. The Bulls Passing Game is a complete non-factor (187 Yards in 2 Games). The Offensive Line has the worst Rating in the Conference at this point with a 2.8, and they've given up 6 Sacks. Thompson has thrown it 30 times, but has been sacked 6 Times, that's a yikes from me. Moving to the Ohio Defense, the big Star is DE Nicholas Blackwell, who has 4 Tackles with 1 TFL and 1 Sack. Blackwell has to be huge this week. The LBs behind the DL is mediocre at best. Blackwell along with DTs Aaden Prince and Chad Stevenson (neither of which have made a stat-sheet) have to lead the way this week. Buffalo is going to run, then run some more, and then after that, run some more. This trio must keep Self and Thompson contained, if they allow the Bulls Duo to get away from them, Ohio's defense will be on the field a lot. The Bobcats haven't played a run focused team yet, Arkansas has been pass heavy early and CSU has consistently been a passing team for the past 5+ seasons. They haven't been tested on the ground yet, and their 65.5 RYPG given up is 100% misleading. Where Buffalo can exploit is the 2nd Line of the Defense. ILB Declan Albright is the best of the group, but he's a Will playing in a 4-3. He prefers to drop back in coverage than come up and stuff the run. OLB Paul Boykin is a pure edge rusher, and he may be used to keep Self and Thompson contained. Although, Self is 226 Pounds and Thompson is 6-5, 212. Neither guy wants to bounce it outside. OLB Adriel Frias is a coverage LB, and may be uncomfortable coming up and defend the run so heavily. Ohio has a good 1-2 Punch at Corner, who will mostly be bored this game. Buffalo may throw it 15 times, but if they can create a Turnover on one of those passes, this game could be decided. The Safeties will have to play in the Box, I imagine Ohio is going to stuff 8/9 guys in the box on every play. And again, Buffalo rights to run right the hell at you. They're not going to bounce outside too often. For Ohio's Offense, it all revolves around QB Austin Lowe. After a good Week 1 performance, he was super shaky against the Rams. So far, he has completed 62% of his passes for 508 Yards with 3 TDs and 2 Picks. Not a great start for the Junior. Ohio's offense is one in transition. For the past two seasons, Lowe had Jeffrey Flowers to rely on when games were close and he needed help. Flowers rushed for over 1,100 Yards last year. But his replacement, Mike Cazares, is nowhere near as good. MIke has 127 Yards and 1 TD on 4.38 YPC. Ohio's offense was very balanced the last two years, but now has to truly rely on Lowe. Even then, one of the Bobcats top targets from last few seasons is now in the Pros, TE Aaron Thibodeaux is gone (and so is his sidekick TE Caleb Holman). WR Jordan Barnes is back, and the Bobcats added WR Dontae Hicks-Lundy through JUCO, plus Freshman TE Miles Hooker looks to take up the legacy of Thibs and Holman. Lowe still has good targets, just not one of his favorite in Thibs. The Left Side of the OL is stout, and the right side is solid. The main weakness on the OL is the Center, but that hasn't been a huge issue for Ohio has they have the 3rd highest OL Rating and have given up just 2 Sacks. For Buffalo Defensively, the key player is CB Laquon Boston. Boston has 2 Picks so far, and Buffalo needs all the turnovers he can create. I doubt the Ohio running game will be much of a factor this week, which means the Front-7 needs to worry about getting pressure on Lowe. Which is a problem, the Bulls have just 1 Sack in 2 games (the lowest in the Conference currently). Who of this group is the one who breaks through the solid Ohio OL and gets to Lowe? I just don't see it. OLB Alexander Moffett is a top Coverage LB in this draft class, but he's not a pass rusher. He'll cover Miles Hooker very well. But, I don't see Lowe being rushed into poor throws or being forced to throw it away. I fear for Buffalo, that he will just sit back there all day and pick you apart. CB Sean Floyd will be matched against Hicks-Lundy, and that's a match-up I like for Ohio. But, if Moffett can take away Hooker and Boston can take away Barnes, then Buffalo can double cover Hicks-Lundy and suddently Lowe has no one to throw to. FS Reginald Blakely is not highly rated, but the guy just goes out and balls. SS Dominique Walker will likely be playing over top Floyd. Hicks-Lundy is a burner, and Floyd will need Safety help.

The Offensive Strength on Defensive Strength that I like the most is Buffalo's Running Game against the Ohio Rush Defense. But, Ohio is a much more talented team overall, and I think the Ohio Passing Game will get over early road bumps and put up just enough points to win. This game being in Athens certainly helps the Bobcats.

 

My Prediction: Ohio 27 Buffalo 20

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