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UB football gameday: Bulls at Ball State

UB football gameday: Bulls at Ball State

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Buffalo Bulls vs Northern Illinois Huskies in MAC football

Buffalo Bulls running back Dylan McDuffie (8) scores a touchdown against Northern Illinois Huskies linebacker Makhi Nelson-Douglas (45) in the second quarter at UB Stadium on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. 

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Tuesday, Scheumann Stadium, Muncie, Ind.

TV: ESPN Plus

Radio: ESPN 1520-AM

Records: UB 4-7, 2-5 Mid-American Conference; Ball State 5-6, 3-4

Odds: Ball State by 6.5 (per Fanduel.com)

Last time out: Northern Illinois defeated UB, 33-27, in overtime at UB Stadium. Bulls running back Dylan McDuffie ran for 125 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries, and quarterback Matt Myers threw for 162 yards and a touchdown on 16 of 23 passing.

Central Michigan defeated Ball State, 37-17, at Scheumann Stadium. Cardinals quarterback Drew Plitt threw for 170 yards and a touchdown on 21 of 39 passing and was intercepted once.

A chance to be the spoiler: Northern Illinois’ win at UB eliminated the Bulls from bowl eligibility, but the Bulls have the chance to end Ball State’s season in Muncie in the regular-season finale for both teams. The Cardinals are tied with Western Michigan (6-5, 3-4) for fifth in the MAC West Division and need one win to reach the six-win threshold for bowl eligibility.

They’ve met before: UB is making only its fifth visit to Muncie since joining the MAC in 1999, but the Bulls and Cardinals have faced each other twice in the MAC championship game. UB defeated Ball State for the 2008 MAC championship, 42-24, and the Cardinals defeated the Bulls, 38-28, for the 2020 MAC title. Ball State leads the all-time series, 10-2.

One last rush: McDuffie needs 18 rushing yards to reach the 1,000-yard mark. He is third in the MAC in rushing yards (982) and would be the third UB player in four seasons to top 1,000, joining Jaret Patterson (1,072 yards in 2020; 1,799 in 2019; 1,013 in 2018) and Kevin Marks Jr. (1,035 in 2019).

On the fly: Bulls wide receiver Quian Williams needs three catches to move into a tie for ninth in program history for catches in a single season. Williams has 60 catches for 790 yards in 11 games; Naaman Roosevelt (2007) and Matt Weiser (2015) are tied for ninth, each with 63 catches in one season.

Just for kicks: UB kicker Alex McNulty made a program-best 55-yard field goal last week against Northern Illinois, and he has yet to miss a point-after kick this season. McNulty is 37 for 37 on extra points this season, and has made 104 consecutive extra points, dating to November 2019.

The Cardinals, at a glance: Ball State is 10th in total offense (345.5 yards per game) in the 12-team MAC, averaging 142.8 rushing yards and 202.7 passing yards, but running back Carson Steele is seventh in the MAC in rushing yards (782).

On defense, the Cardinals have three players in the top 10 in the conference in total tackles: safety Bryce Cosby (fifth with 97), linebacker Jaylin Thomas (seventh with 92) and linebacker Clayton Coll (ninth with 85). The Cardinals are fifth in the MAC in rushing defense, allowing opponents 171.45 yards per game.

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College/high school sports enterprise reporter

I'm a college/high school sports enterprise reporter at The Buffalo News. I've worked in sports journalism since 1997 and I have covered everything from college football to the Stanley Cup playoffs, high school sports and the NCAA Tournament.

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