Week 2 of MACtion features a rare Tuesday night matchup with the Buffalo Bulls (1-0, 1-0 MAC) hosting the Miami (OH) RedHawks (1-0, 1-0 MAC). Both teams are expected to finish near the top of the Mid-American Conference East division, so a win for either would be huge for positioning in the standings. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. EST at UB Stadium in Buffalo, N.Y.
The Bulls are 9.5-point favorites at home, according to oddsmakers.
What to Know – Miami RedHawks
The RedHawks opened their 2020 season last week with a 38-31 victory over Ball State. Miami trailed in the contest in the second half but scored with 10 seconds left to escape with the win.
Starting quarterback Brett Gabbert, who was named MAC Freshman of the Year last season, exited the game last week with a head injury and is questionable for the bout against the Bulls. A.J. Mayer stepped in his place and led the RedHawks comeback finishing 16-for-24 for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
Junior running back Davion Johnson (11 carries, 58 yards) and senior Zach Kahn (nine carries, 42 yards, two touchdowns) shared the workload out of the backfield for Miami. Senior wide receiver Jack Sorenson caught a team-high seven passes for 139 yards in the winning effort.
Miami returns six starters from last season’s defensive unit that surrendered 28.2 points per game. The RedHawks sacked Ball State’s quarterback six times and forced a late interception to lead to the opening victory.
What to Know – Buffalo Bulls
Buffalo, the preseason selection to win the division, began its 2020 season with a 49-30 victory on the road against Northern Illinois. The Bulls outscored the Huskies 21-0 in the third quarter to pull away for the victory.
Junior quarterback Kyle Vantrease completed 11-of-17 passes for 175 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. The signal-caller’s only carry of the night was a four-yard rush for a score.
Running back Jaret Patterson carried the ball 20 times for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It was the junior’s seventh consecutive game with more than 100 yards rushing, a streak which dates back to last season. Senior wide receiver Antonio Nunn hauled in six of Vantrease’s 11 passes for 102 yards and Buffalo’s lone receiving touchdown.
The Buffalo defense was one of the top units in the MAC last season, leading the league in scoring defense (21.3 points per game). Buffalo racked up three defensive touchdowns in last week’s win over the Huskies.
The Pick is In
The RedHawks took care of the Bulls last season, 34-20 en route to the division crown. Miami has some key players whose status is up in the air for Tuesday’s contest, so it will be something to monitor closely as the game nears.
Gabbert not suiting up will hurt, but Mayer came in off the bench and performed well enough that the RedHawks should feel confident with the backup under center. We like the Bulls at home, but Miami should keep it within single-digits.
The Pick: Miami (OH) Redhawks +9.5