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October 12, 2013

Staff Predictions: Buffalo

Western Michigan returns to Waldo Stadium for their Homecoming today, and they're still searching for their first win. Buffalo may be the best matchup for WMU so far in Mid-American Conference play, but the Bulls are still a 3-2 team with plenty of talent on both sides of the ball.

David James: I actually kind of like this matchup for WMU, at least as compared to most this year. Buffalo is certainly a bit up and down, although it's hard to hold a score like 70-13 against them too much when it came against a high-octane team like Baylor.

Sure, Branden Oliver could be a load for the Broncos to handle, but the Bulls' running game hasn't been as productive as expected even against teams like Stony Brook. The passing attack lacks a lot of options, as well. Fact is, though 3-2, Buffalo has won against an FCS team and perhaps two of the worst teams in all of FBS in Connecticut and Eastern Michigan.

Granted, WMU hasn't proven much compared to those teams either, which is why I'm not picking a win. But with home field advantage and what should be a decent Homecoming crowd, this'll be competitive.

Buffalo 21, Western Michigan 17

D.J. Duckett: The winless Broncos will look to change their luck this week as they play host to Buffalo. With it being homecoming this weekend, I see no reason that PJ Fleck won't have his team fired up and ready to go. Does that mean Zach Terrell will be ready to take the reigns of a patchwork Bronco offense? Only time will tell…

I see this game starting off close, with a chance for the Broncos to pull out the win, but getting pretty lopsided at the end. I expect Khalil Mack will have a big day against a struggling WMU offensive line, as well as Branden Oliver to get his act together on the ground. In the end, I think the Broncos will drop yet another contest, to continue this dreadful season.

Buffalo 27, Western Michigan 14

Brian Persky: After a couple of tough non-conference road games on the schedule, Buffalo is finally beginning to look like the Buffalo a lot of people expected to see. Quarterback Joe Licata looks to be playing well, and seniors Alex Neutz and Branden Oliver give the Bulls a balanced attack offensively. However Buffalo has yet to win a road game this year, and nothing about the Bulls screams "unbeatable" to me.

Both the offense and defense for the Bulls statistically rank in the middle of the pack in the Mid-American Conference and the run defense in particular seems to be somewhat vulnerable, allowing 181 yards per game on the ground. Coincidentally, that happens to be a strength -- albeit a marginal one -- for a Western Michigan group that is desperate for answers offensively.

I really liked what I saw out of redshirt freshman quarterback Zach Terrell in the second half of last weeks Toledo game. If this is the Zach Terrell we are seeing on the road, then I am interested to see what kind of spark he can provide the Broncos in front of what should be a decent home crowd on Homecoming at Waldo Stadium this Saturday. To me, this has the recipe for an upset and I'm calling it how I see it.

Western Michigan 31, Buffalo 28

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