ATHENS, Ohio -With a struggling 1-3 Buffalo providing the opposition today, a casual observer might think Frank Solich, the coach of 5-0 Ohio, would have a tough time motivating his Bobcats.
But that isn't the case. It isn't the case because of last year's game, when Ohio went to Buffalo and was stunned by the underdog Bulls, 38-37.
As if that isn't motivation enough, throw in the fact it nearly happened to Ohio again last week when the Cats struggled to beat winless Massachusetts, 37-34.
Although it was a sloppy performance, it did allow the Bobcats to remain unbeaten as Ohio is 5-0 for the first time since 1968.
Ohio is the only unbeaten Mid American Conference team and one of just 22 major college teams who haven't tasted defeat in 2012. The Cats continue to receive some support in both major national polls, but have yet to crack the Top 25 in either.
What would a win today mean? Several things:
Who: Buffalo (1-3) at Ohio (5-0)
What: Mid-American Conference
When: Noon today
Where: Peden Stadium, Athens, Ohio
TV: ESPN Plus, ESPN GamePlan, ESPN3
This represents Ohio's 20th meeting against the Bulls, with the Cats leading the series 11 victories to eight.
Buffalo is coming off an inspired effort last week at Big East member Connecticut, falling 24-17. The Bulls' only triumph came in their home opener against Morgan State. The Bulls love to run the football and the guy who does most of the running is Brandon Oliver, who has accounted for 426 yards and a 6.0 yards per carry average. The Cats are quite familiar with Oliver, as he rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns in last year's upset.
Defensively, Buffalo has struggled, allowing at least 23 points in each of its four games. It is led by all-MAC linebacker Khalil Mack, who led the league in tackles for loss a year ago with 20.5. He already has 11 this season as well as 4.5 sacks.
This is the first of two straight home games for Ohio, as Akron will visit Peden Stadium for a 2 p.m. game next Saturday.