Akron (1-4, 1-4 MAC) at No. 24 Buffalo (4-0, 4-0), Saturday at 2:30 p.m. EST (CBS Sports Network).
Line: Buffalo by 32 1/2.
Series record: Akron leads 11-8.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Buffalo has already clinched the East Division title and a berth in the MAC championship game at Detroit on Dec. 18. A misstep, however, would make the Bulls’ first entry in the national rankings in program history a very short one. Akron snapped a 21-game skid by beating Bowling Green, and has a chance to close its season winning two straight for the first time since 2018.
Buffalo’s relentless Jaret Patterson-led running game against Akron’s defense. The Bulls are averaging a whopping 324.5 yards per outing, and coming off a 70-41 win over Kent State in which Patterson had 409 yards rushing and an FBS-record matching eight touchdowns. The Zips have allowed opponents 150-plus yards rushing four times, and giving up little over 212 yards rushing per game.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Akron: Under-sized inside linebacker Bubba Arslanian, who at 5-foot-9 and 205 pounds, ranks fifth in the NCAA in averaging 7.4 solo tackles per game, and had 16 in a 31-3 win over Bowling Green last weekend.
Buffalo: Patterson has become must-see-TV after joining former Texas standout Ricky Williams in becoming just the second college player to top 300 yards rushing in consecutive games. Patterson had 301 yards rushing in a 42-17 win at Bowling Green.
FACTS & FIGURES
Akron won the first eight meetings against Buffalo, but is 3-8 in the past 11. ... With 3,732 yards rushing in 31 career games, Patterson is 317 shy of tying the school record set by Branden “Bo” Oliver. ... With 16 TDs rushing in just four games, Patterson is three shy of matching the single-season school record he set in 13 games last year. ... Coach Lance Leipold is 35-32 in his sixth season at Buffalo, and 22-9 in his past three years with the Bulls in position to earn a third consecutive bowl invitation. ... Akron coach Tom Arth won his 50th career game and first since taking over the Zips last year. The former NFL backup QB is 50-37 after a four-year stint at Division III John Carroll (40-8) followed by two seasons at UT Chattanooga (9-13). ... The Zips swept the MAC’s three player of the week awards. Arslanian earned defensive honors, junior RB Teon Dollard earned offensive honors with a 185-yards rushing outing, and WR Gavin Blunt picked up special teams honors for recovering a blocked punt for a TD.
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