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UB football gameday: Bulls at Miami (Ohio)

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Yager Stadium, Oxford, Ohio


Radio: ESPN 1520.

Records: UB 2-2, Miami (Ohio) 1-3

Last time out: UB defeated Temple, 38-22, last Saturday at UB Stadium. Bulls running back Jaret Patterson ran for 133 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, and UB’s defense had three interceptions, including safety Joey Banks’ 46-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Ohio State defeated Miami, 76-5, last Saturday in Columbus. Defensive back Cecil Singleton had eight tackles, including five solo tackles, for the RedHawks.

History: Miami leads the all-time series, 14-7, but UB has won five of the last seven meetings, including a 51-42 win Oct. 30, 2018 at UB Stadium.

On the run: UB has rushed for 892 yards in its first four games, and the Bulls have rushed for at least 200 yards in three of their first four games. The Bulls lead the MAC in rushing yards and are second in rushing yards per game (223 yards per game in four games), behind Toledo (269 yards per game in three games).

Patterson is tied for second with Toledo's Bryant Koback in the MAC in rushing yards (363), ahead of UB teammate Kevin Marks (fourth, 319). Patterson has three touchdowns in the first four games, and he has 17 touchdowns in 17 games at UB. His next touchdown will move him into the top 10 in school history in career rushing touchdowns; he will tie Steven King and Anthone Taylor for ninth (18 touchdowns).

James Starks holds the school record for career rushing touchdowns (34). Starks and Lee Jones hold the school record for rushing touchdowns in a season (16).

Holding on: UB is eighth in the nation in time of possession, averaging 34 minutes, 30 seconds per game. UB’s longest drive was 9:25 in a 35-17 loss at Liberty and last week against Temple, the Bulls held the ball for 37:09, including its longest drive of 7:07, which resulted in Jackson Baltar’s 52-yard field goal.

Turn to the pass: While UB’s run game has been robust, the Bulls need to find a balance between the run and the pass, and more production from quarterback Matt Myers. The Bulls are last in the MAC in passing offense (543 yards, and 135.8 yards per game), and have thrown for only five touchdowns. Four of those have been to tight ends, including two to Zac Lefebvre in UB’s season opener Aug. 29 against Robert Morris.

For the foes: The Bulls aren’t expecting Miami to be a slouch, especially after a 71-point loss at No. 5 Ohio State last week. But the RedHawks might be hobbled as they enter the MAC East Division matchup. Miami coach Chuck Martin said earlier this week that at least six players are either questionable or doubtful due to injuries,  including quarterback Brett Gabbert.

Gabbert, a true freshman, has thrown for 529 yards and two touchdowns on 42 of 77 passing, with two interceptions in four starts. But in a game in which the RedHawks were sorely outmatched, Gabbert only threw for 48 yards on 5-of-15 passing, and was intercepted once by the Buckeyes.

The RedHawks had one of the more challenging nonconference schedules, with losses at Iowa, at Cincinnati and at Ohio State, and a win against Tennessee Tech. In that stretch, the Miami defense has given up an average of 442 yards per game, including an average of 255 yards passing. Miami is also last in the MAC in total offense, accruing just 931 yards, and has allowed 11 sacks.

“The schedule hasn’t done us any favors,” Martin said. “The combination of early season physicality of the games, and then you’ve got to transition to Buffalo, who’s coming into the season as one of the top title contenders based on what they did a year ago and who they have back. We’d love to have a little more time to get some more healthy bodies out there, but we’ve got to play with who we have and move forward.”

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