Famous Idaho Potato Bowl preview: Buffalo vs. San Diego State
Buffalo (8-4, 6-2 MAC) vs. San Diego State (7-5, 6-2 MWC)
December 21, 5:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Buffalo Players to Watch:
Khalil Mack, LB—Mack is the second-ranked outside linebacker and is projected as an early first-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, according to CBS Sports. If you’re looking for a resume, just check out his highlights when he single-handedly kept Buffalo in the game against Ohio State in the season opener.
Branden Oliver, RB—The biggest source of the Bulls’ offense, Oliver comes in with 1,421 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns off 5.0 yards per carry.
San Diego State Players to Watch:
Nat Berhe, SS—An absolute ballhawk and fun player to watch, Berhe (94 tackles) is arguably the best defensive player on the team and flat out flies around the field.
Quinn Kaehler, QB—Former walk-on Quinn Kaehler stepped in and took control of the offense in Week 2. He’s not the most athletic or talented quarterback and has proven to be inconsistent at times, but does a nice job spreading the ball around.
Buffalo Key to Victory:
Get Branden Oliver going early. In games where he rushed for over 125 yards, Buffalo is 7-0. The Bulls are 1-4 otherwise, so it’s important that they utilize his power run abilities against what is a lacking San Diego State front seven.
San Diego State Key to Victory:
Win the turnover margin. SDSU has a clear disadvantage here, entering the bowl game with the fourth-worst turnover margin in the nation—Buffalo on the other hand is the fourth-best when it comes to handling the football. If the Aztec offense can avoid coughing the ball up and putting its defense in uncomfortable positions, it will have a great chance to come out victorious.
Line: Buffalo (-3.5)
Prediction: San Diego State is king when it comes to winning close games. The Aztecs are 6-2 in games decided by a touchdown or less and lead the nation in overtime appearances (3-1). If they can play clean football on offense and contain Khalil Mack from wreaking too much havoc in the backfield, I like their chances to keep Buffalo from winning its first postseason game in school history.
San Diego State 30, Buffalo 24
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