Entering tonight with a 3-5 record, the Buffalo Bulls currently sit in second place in the MAC East division, and before you say that sounds crazy, that’s just MACtion at its finest. The midweek spectacle that is MAC conference play resumes tonight, with Buffalo heading on the road to Toledo to play a 7-1 Rockets team.
With snow expected to be falling on this special edition of Halloween Maction, I’ll break down why the weather and matchup will likely result in a low-scoring affair.
Toledo has not found the loss column since week one, as their reign of terror on the MAC continues after winning the conference last season. Returning an elite quarterback in the MAC is a recipe for success, and the Rockets were able to do that with DeQuan Finn. In eight games, Finn has thrown for 14 touchdowns and five interceptions while helping the Rockets offense rank 17th in offensive success rate.
Finn has proven he can expose defenses through the air, but the basis of the Toledo offense revolves around their run game. The Rockets are 10th in run play percentage this season, which has resulted in them averaging 242.3 rush yards per game and 5.7 yards per carry. While Finn is a big reason for their success on the ground, running back Peny Boone deserves a lot of the credit, as he enters tonight with 865 yards and eight touchdowns.
Toledo’s offense gets a lot of the shine on this team, but their defense has certainly done their job this season as well. With a defensive success rate that ranks 49th, the Rockets rank 40th in the country in points allowed per game and 36th in yards allowed. This sets up a rough matchup for a Buffalo offense averaging 24.3 points per game and ranked 121st in offensive EPA.
When these teams met last season, the Bulls used a 24-point 4th quarter to mount a comeback and pick up a 34-27 win. However, that scoring ability has seemingly disappeared despite the Bulls also returning their starting quarterback from last season, Cole Snyder. After throwing eight interceptions all of last season, Snyder already has thrown seven this year in eight games, and he has the Bulls ranked 120th in EPA per pass play.
The point total for this game is currently set at 51.5, and I’ll be taking the under for my play. Before we get into the game aspect, it is supposed to start snowing in Toledo at 5:00 PM EST and could continue into the first quarter of the game. Even if it doesn’t snow, the temperatures are expected to be below freezing, which has more of an effect on Buffalo since they are ranked 25th in passing attempts per game.
Buffalo is already averaging just 5.1 yards per pass, resulting in them ranking 39th in time of possession. The Bulls are not an explosive offense, so their methodical nature is already good for the under, but what’s even better is that Toledo is 32nd in defensive success rate on pass plays. The Rockets have also held opponents to a 56.5% completion percentage, so I don’t see them allowing a 20+ point quarter like they did in last year’s matchup.
For the Rocket’s offense, their preference of establishing the run will undoubtedly have positive benefits tonight against a Buffalo defense that is 86th in EPA on rush plays. Even if they do find success on the ground, though, I’m still comfortable backing the under, as a run-heavy offense mixed with a stingy defense should still keep this game under 50 points.
Under 51.5 (-110)