Oct. 16, 2006
ATHENS, Ohio - The Bobcat football team (4-3, 2-1) will go for its third straight victory when it hosts Buffalo on Saturday, Oct. 21 at Peden Stadium. Kickoff for this year's Homecoming contest is set for 2 p.m.
A win against the Bulls would give the Bobcats their first 5-3 start since the 2000 season and their first 3-1 start in MAC play since 2002. It would als mark Ohio's first three-game winning streak since 2000.
Ohio earned its second straight victory last week with a 20-17 win at Illinois. The Bobcats have won back-to-back games twice this season. A win in Saturday's game versus Buffalo would mark the Bobcats first three-game winning streak since the 2000 campaign.
Senior kicker Matt Lasher (Copley, Ohio) hit his first collegiate game-winning field goal when he drilled a 32-yard attempt with five seconds remaining to give the Bobcats a 20-17 win at Illinois. Lasher's second field goal of the game was set up by the Illini's fifth turnover. Senior cornerback T.J. Wright (Beaumont, Texas) stripped the ball from Illinois receiver Kyle Hudson, and senior linebacker Tyler Russ (Stetsonville, Wis.) recovered to give Ohio a first down at the Illinois 16-yard line.
Junir running back Kalvin McRae (Decatur, Ga.) had his second consecutive 100-yard game with 108 yards and two scores in the win versus the Illini. McRae now has nine career 100-yard games, taking over sole possession of sixth place on the Ohio career ledger. McRae's longest streak of 100-yard games is four set last season.
McRae leads the rushing attack with 470 yards and seven touchdowns. He is also the team's top receiver with 18 catches. Senior Scott Mayle (Philippi, W.Va.) has 17 catches for a team-best 222 yards. Senior tight end Rudy Sylvan (Suisan City, Calif.) has 15 catches and is tied with fellow tight end Thomas Christy (South Euclid, Ohio) for the team lead with two touchdown receptions.
Senior quarterback Austen Everson has thrown for 908 yards and five touchdowns through the first seven games. He is completing passes at a career-best 57.4-percent clip. Everson also ranks second on the Bobcats' rushing ledger with 152 yards.
Defensively, Russ paces the squad with 60 tackles. He also is tied for the team lead with two interceptions. Senior Matt Muncy (Miamisburg, Ohio) had a team-high 10 tackles to run his seaosn total to 49. Muncy leads the Bobcats with 7.5 tackles for loss. Sophomore corner Mark Parson (Richmond, Va.) recorded three tackles, five pass break-ups and and his first career interception in the win against Illinois. he leads the team with eight break-ups and nine passes defended this season.
The Bobcats' kickoff coverage unit is ranked 13th in the nation, allowing 16.59 yards per return. The punt coverage team is ranked 24th in the nation, giving up an average of 4.55 yards per retrun. Ohio is one of only six teams -- Florida, North Carolina, Minnesota, Penn State, Ohio and Buffalo -- to be ranked among the nation's top 25 in both kick coverage categories.
On 71 kickoffs and punts through the first six games, Bobcat opponents have an average starting field position of their own 23-yard line. Ohio has pinned its foes at-or-inside the 20-yard line on 38 of 71 opportunities, including at-or-inside the 10-yard line nine times. The Bobcats' punt team rank fourth in the MAC and 16th in the nation in net punting, averaging 38.21 per kick.
Buffalo enters Saturday's game with a 1-5 overall mark and an 0-4 MAC record under first-year head coach Turner Gill. Saturday's contest is the first of back-to-back road games for the Bulls. They play at Boston College on Oct. 28.
The Bulls are coming off a 38-31 loss at home to Miami on Oct. 15. The game was originally scheduled for Oct. 14, but a winter storm forced the game to be postponed. Buffalo led 21-14 in the third quarter, but an interception and blocked punt set up back-to-back Miami scores that gave the RedHawks a 28-21 advantatge they wouldn't relinquish. Miami led by as many as 17 points, but the Bulls scored a touchdown and a field goal in a 44-second span to cut the lead to 38-31 with 1:06 to go. Buffalo's on-side kick attempt was unsuccessful and the RedHawks were able to run out the clock. James Starks ran for 113 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while Drew Willy was 13-for-23 for 174 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions for the Bulls offense. Starks also paced the squad with five receptions for 68 yards. Ramon Guzman led the defense with 11 tackles. James Judge scored a touchdown for the Buffalo defense on a five-yard fumble return with 40 seconds left in the first half.
Willy, a sophomore, is throwing for 197.0 yards per game while completing 61.3 percent of his passes (111-for-181). He entered the Miami game with only one interception in 148 attempts, but was picked off three times against the RedHawks. Willy has six touchdown passes on the season. Starks is the squad's leading rusher with 405 yards (67.5/game). he and Steven King have both run for a pair of scores. Terrance Breaux leads the team wiht 293 yards and 20 catches. Naaman Roosevelt has a team-high two touchdown receptions. Tight end Chad Upshaw has caught 18 passes for 232 yards. As a team, the Bulls are averaging 204.2 yards per game through the air and 100.8 yards on the ground.
Guzman leads the Bulls' defense with 60 tackles, including a team-high 8.0 for loss. Trevor Scott has registered 4.0 sacks among his 23 stops. Mike Newton has picked off two passes. Buffalo is giving up 227.7 yards per game on the ground and 175.8 yards per contest in the passing game.
Ohio leads the all-time series with Buffalo, 8-4.The Bobcats have won the last two meetings in the series and five of the seven meetings since the Bulls joined the MAC in 1999. Buffalo's last win was a 26-17 victory in 2003. Ohio has won the last five meetings at Peden Stadium. The Bobcats earned a 34-0 win in the Bulls' last visit to Athens in 2004.
Saturday's game is sponsored by 105.5 WXTQ FM. For ticket information, call the Ohio Athletics Ticket Office at 1-800-575-CATS.