1. Mismatch. Not only are the RedHawks one of three winless teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), they’ve yet to total 100 points on the season. They’ve failed to find the end zone in two straight games. Head coach Don Treadwell was fired Oct. 6 and replaced by assistant Mike Bath, an alum. Their starting quarterback, senior Austin Boucher, suffered a season-ending knee injury Oct. 26. The team completion percentage is under .500. The RedHawks have 13 sacks while allowing 37. Opponents have 20 rushing touchdowns to their three. A “Cradle of Coaches” program steeped in tradition has lost 10 straight in conference.
2. Guessing game. Miami has utilized two quarterbacks, redshirt freshman Austin Gearing and Drew Kummer, since Boucher was lost for the season. Gearing goes 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, and is more of a run threat. He has attempted just 21 passes, completing 12, with a long of 13 yards. But he’s also the team’s leading rusher with 381 net yards. The RedHawks will run some funky formations with him at the helm. Kummer’s more the passer but he’s raw, having completed just 14 of 34. And now the pair has to deal with a formidable UB defense out to make amends for last week’s 51-point meltdown at Toledo.
3. Mack watch. Senior linebacker Khalil Mack is coming off a 15-tackle game that tied his career high. He’s one forced fumble away from No. 14 career, which would place him in a six-way tie for first in FBS history. He’s also six tackles for loss shy of overtaking Western Michigan’s Justin Babin for first all-time. Mack has 69.5 TFL for his career. He ranks first in the MAC in sacks (nine), first in TFL (13.5), fourth in interceptions (three) and 10th in passes defended (nine). Mack’s motor just doesn’t stop.
4. On the offensive. The second half that UB unloaded on Toledo was fantasy game stuff: 41 points, 470 total yards and 382 passing yards. And it all came despite the defense’s rare failure to force a turnover. A number of standards are within reach today. Branden Oliver needs 171 yards to top his own school single-season rushing mark of 1,395. Alex Neutz needs two catches for 186, which would place him third all-time on the career list behind Naaman Roosevelt and Drew Haddad.
5. Extra points. Bulls looking to become the first UB team to win six MAC games in a season and only the second to score a victory at Yager Stadium. Bulls were spanked, 41-13, in 2011 visit here . … Oliver’s six-straight 100-yard games are a school record. … Miami leads the all-time series, 12-3. … Miami has a serious weapon in punter Zac Murphy, who ranks second nationally at 47.2 yards a kick. … Bulls LB Adam Redden (knee) could be a game-time decision.
Outlook: Less mature team might be prone to an ambush. Senior-laden Bulls have too much on the line. UB, 38-6.