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UB football gameday: Bulls at Ball State

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Thursday.

TV: CBS Sports Network.

Radio: ESPN 1520.

Records: Buffalo 4-6 (2-4 in MAC), Ball State 2-8 (0-6).

Last time out: The Bulls snapped a four-game losing streak last Tuesday, downing Bowling Green 38-28. Quarterback Tyree Jackson was prolific, throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns, while running back Theo Anderson ran for 133 yards and a score. Ball State gave up more than 50 points for the fifth time in six games in its 63-17 loss to Northern Illinois.

History: The Bulls are 1-9 all-time against Ball State, with the only victory coming in the 2008 MAC Championship. Ball State won last year's matchup, as running back James Gilbert ran for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' 31-21 victory. Buffalo hasn't traveled to Scheumann Stadium since 2011.

What they're playing for: UB has a shot at bowl eligibility with two games remaining. Buffalo needs to win both this week and next Friday against Ohio to get to the necessary six-win mark.

The gunslinger: Jackson has broken his personal best for passing yards in each of the last two games. He's got an opportunity against Ball State to become the first UB quarterback in program history to surpass 300 yards in three straight games.

Moving into the spotlight: Anderson, a redshirt freshman, had his best performance of his career against Bowling Green. Normally behind starting running back Emmanuel Reed, Anderson hadn't run for more than 50 yards since Sept. 23 against Florida International. His high was 23 yards in the three weeks prior to his explosive outing against the Falcons. UB coach Lance Leipold said he's earned a longer look going forward.

Tackle watch: Khalil Hodge now owns the FBS-era UB record for tackles in a season with 129. He has four players to pass on UB's all-time list, starting with Craig Guest. Hodge is eight tackles away from Guest, who played for the Bulls from 1993 to 1996.

UB's Khalil Hodge goes from JUCO transfer to one of nation's top tacklers

For the foes: Ball State has lost seven games in a row dating back to the middle of September. Like UB, the Cardinals have dealt with compiling injuries. Ball State is without Gilbert, its most effective player against the Bulls last year, and quarterback Riley Neal. Both are out for the rest of the season. Zack Blair, the backup quarterback, is also injured.

Quarterback Drew Plitt started last week's game against NIU, but after going 9 for 14 for 89 yards and a touchdown at the half, Ball State coach Mike Neu opted to bench him for Jack Milas. He didn't fare much better, completing 10 of his 16 attempts for 73 yards and an interception. Milas has seven picks and no touchdowns this season.

No matter who is under center, the Cardinals use wide receiver Justin Hall frequently. He leads the conference in catches per game (6.5) and is sixth in the MAC in receiving yards per game (65.3). Defensively, Anthony Winbush is third in Division I football with 1.05 sacks per game. He's a sack away from Ball State's career record.

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