Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#201 Buffalo -6.5 vs.
#202 Charlotte 56.5
Friday, December 20, 2019 at 2:00pm EST
Written by Blake V.

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#201 State University of New York at Buffalo
#202 University of North Carolina at Charlotte
7-5
7-5
7-5
6-6
8-4
8-4
31
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22
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The 2019 college football bowl season will officially kick-off when Buffalo and Charlotte meet in the Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl at Thomas Robinson Stadium. The Bulls finished second in the MAC East, while the 49ers were fourth in the Conference USA East. Buffalo enters the Bahamas Bowl having won five of its last six, while Charlotte finished the season on a five-game winning streak.

Buffalo seeking school's first bowl win

Buffalo is looking for its first-ever bowl win. The Bulls are 0-3 in its three previous postseason games, but this will be the second straight year that they have appeared in a bowl game. Buffalo got off to a rough start this season, losing four of its first six games. However, they won five of their last seven games to finish 7-5 (5-3 MAC). The Bulls led the MAC in rushing offense, tallying 254.2 yards per game. They also led the league in total defense, only giving up 293.1 yards per contest. The Bahamas Bowl will mark Buffalo’s first-ever meeting against Charlotte on the football field. A school-record 12 Bulls’ players were named to the All-Mid-American Conference on Wednesday, which eclipses the 10 selections from last year.

The Bulls are led by All-MAC First Team running back Jaret Patterson, who carried the ball 280 times for a school-record 1,626 yards and 17 touchdowns this season. Patterson set the school-record with 298 rushing yards against Bowling Green in the final game of the regular season, and he also set the MAC record with six touchdowns in that game. Sophomore running back Kevin Marks added 215 carries for 1,008 yards and eight scores. The Bulls could be without redshirt-freshman running back Dylan McDuffie in the Bahamas Bowl, as he has been suspended indefinitely due to an arrest over a domestic violence charge. He played in 10 games this year, rushing for 151 yards on 6.5 yards per carry. Junior wide receiver Antonio Nunn leads Buffalo with 44 catches for 634 yards and five touchdowns.

Charlotte hoping for bowl win in inaugural appearance

Charlotte also had a rough start to the season, losing five of its first seven games to open the year. However, the 49ers responded with a school-record five-game winning streak to finish the regular season. This will be the school’s first-ever appearance in a bowl game, as the program is only in its seventh year. Charlotte set school records for wins, conference wins and home wins. The 49ers also had a school-record three players named to the All-Conference USA First Team. First-year head coach Will Healy has attracted national attention for turning the program around in his first season, bringing the 49ers their first winning season in their short existence. Charlotte athletic director Mike Hill told the Charlotte Observer that they would “take care of Will Healy.”

The 49ers are led by sophomore quarterback Chris Reynolds, who threw for 2,366 yards and 21 touchdowns this season. He was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 139 attempts for 757 yards and six touchdowns. All-Conference USA First Team running back Benny LeMay carried the ball 180 times for 1,027 yards and nine touchdowns this season. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry. Junior running back Aaron McAllister rushed the ball 80 times for 377 yards and five scores, while freshman Ishod Finger tallied 299 yards on 60 attempts. Sophomore wide receiver Victor Tucker caught 49 passes for 848 yards and six touchdowns. Cameron Dollar added 37 receptions for 551 yards and two scores.

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Buffalo’s early-season struggles were to be expected. The Bulls lost their quarterback and leading receiver to the NFL, and their second-leading receiver transferred out of the program. Despite those losses, they found their form at the end of this season and are peaking at the right time. Charlotte comes into this game fresh off the first winning season in school history. Sure, the 49ers will be motivated, but how will the players respond to a bowl game? Buffalo has the edge on the line of scrimmage and in the preparation department, as the Bulls just played in a bowl game last season. They will also be motivated to pick up the first bowl win in school history. I am rolling with Buffalo in this one.

Prediction: Buffalo -6

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Charlotte does not match-up well defensively in this game. The defense ranks No. 99 in yards per play, and they are worse at stopping the run than the pass. Buffalo brings a pair of 1,000-plus yard rushers into this game, which is one of the best rushing attacks in the country. The Bulls also boast a strong offensive line. They are good on the defensive side of the ball as well, but Charlotte will score enough points in this game to push it over the total. The 49ers’ offense ranks No. 22 in the country in explosiveness and have an offensive line that is top 20 in the country. I think Buffalo scores at will in this game, while Charlotte does enough to get this one over the number.

Prediction: Over 57
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Written By Blake V.

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.