Ohio-Buffalo: Who Will Win the Upcoming MAC East Showdown?

Peter RCorrespondent IOctober 9, 2008

Friends and former colleagues facing off

Just before Halloween, in what could be a frightening game, the Buffalo Bulls football team travels to Athens, Ohio to face off against conference foe the Ohio Bobcats. The spooks and goblins are sure to be out in force. With temperatures potentially plunging, conference divisional rivalries could heat things up.

Will Ohio quarterback Boo Jackson be scary? Will Buffalo Drew Willy knock 'em dead or draw a blank?

History from Huskerland

Tom Osborne hired former Husker standout fullback and state high school championship coach Frank Solich to coach his freshman team. Osborne recruited eventual Heisman finalist quarterback Turner Gill. After a Canadian CFL career cut short when Gill followed medical advice, and a brief stint in minor league baseball, Turner joined the Huskers on the sidelines.

Two former Husker assistants: a former running backs coach and later head coach versus a former quarterbacks coach, assistant head coach, and later receivers coach. Both are Mid-American Conference Eastern Division (MAC) head coaches now. After 152 weeks on the same sidelines, now they face off annually.

Meet the coaches

Frank Solich is in his fourth year leading the Bobcats of Ohio. Solich was an Ohio standout running back before setting records at Nebraska.

Third-year Buffalo Bulls head coach Turner Gill is looking up and being mentioned for other openings. The Mid-American Conference would hate to lose him.

Rushing Keys

Both had 1,000-yard rushers last year. Solich's Kevin McRae rushed for 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Gill's James Starks became the Bulls’ first 1,000-yard rusher since jumping to the I-A division.

McRae graduated, and Starks is a junior with a chance to match McRae's feat. Bobcat's Dante Hardin is not on pace through six games to reach that goal this year.

Passing Keys

Junior Boo Jackson leads the Bobcats with over 1,100 yards passing and another 129 on the ground. His favorite targets are Taylor Prince, Lavon Brazill, and Andrew Mooney. The Bobcats have connected with redshirt freshman Hardin coming out of the backfield to keep defenses honest.

Drew Willy has all of the Bulls' passes thrown this year. Naaman Roosevelt is his favorite target, and he has connected with wide receivers Hamlin and Jackson as well as tight end Rack 10 or more times so far. Bulls rushing leader James Starks has slipped out of the backfield for eight catches as well.

Special Teams

Both Ohio and Buffalo have one kickoff return for a touchdown this year.


The Bobcats’ eight interceptions this year are twice as many as the Buffalo Bulls' four.


As of today the Bobcats have a 1-5 record with losses to two ranked opponents (Northwestern and Ohio State). The Bulls are 2-3 with a loss to top five Missouri.

Each has two more games before they face off. Buffalo could win against Western Michigan and Army to be 4-3 at kickoff. Ohio may be able to dispatch Kent State and Temple to own a 3-5 record by October 28.

Ohio's 42-21 loss to Western Michigan was filled with miscues. Comparing this week's Buffalo's results to them may not show the likely outcome.