MAC East lead on the line

BUFFALO -Ohio University’s football team won’t be traveling to Pamplona, but it will face the running of the Bulls tonight.

The Bobcats of coach Frank Solich will make a rare national TV appearance when they visit the University of Buffalo for an 8 p.m. game that will go a long way toward determining the championship of the Mid American Conference’s East Division.

Heading into tonight’s showdown, Buffalo sits atop the East with a 4-0 mark while Ohio is 3-1. A Bobcats win not only would create a tie at the top of the standings, but would give Ohio the advantage due to winning the head-to-head matchup. A Buffalo win and the Bulls clearly would be in the driver’s seat to represent the East Division in the Marathon MAC Championship Game on Friday, Dec. 6.

If tonight’s contest is anything like last year’s meeting between the two squads -which took place on Oct. 6 in Athens -it will be well worth watching. Thanks to a 183-yard passing performance by quarterback Tyler Tettleton, Ohio managed a 38-31 win that made the Bobcats bowl eligible. Tonight’s game will mark the 20th meeting between the Bobcats and the Bulls, with Ohio owning a 12-7 advantage in the series.

Buffalo enters the game on a roll. After losing its first two games of the season to national powers Ohio State (40-20) and Baylor (70-13) -both of whom still are undefeated -the Bulls have rolled to six straight wins. After beating non-conference foes Stony Brook (26-23) and Connecticut (41-12), Buffalo scored league wins over Eastern Michigan (42-14), Western Michigan (33-0), Massachusetts (32-3) and Kent State (41-21). Thus, its closest MAC game was a 20-point win.

Meanwhile, Ohio opened the season with a 49-7 loss to Louisville, before recording three straight non-conference wins over North Texas (27-21), Marshall (34-31) and Austin Peay (38-0). Entering MAC play, the Bobcats rolled to a 43-3 win over Akron before becoming the victim of a stunning 26-23 upset inflicted by Central Michigan. Ohio has since rebounded with dominating victories over Eastern Michigan (56-28) and Miami (41-16).

This will mark the first of three straight Tuesday night games for Ohio, which will travel to Bowling Green next week before playing host to Kent State the following Tuesday.

OU will close out the regular season on Nov. 29 vs. Massachusetts at Peden Stadium.

Both Ohio and Buffalo already are bowl eligible. The Bobcats are led by Tettleton, who has a 24-10 record as Ohio’s starting quarterback while Buffalo top offensive threat is running back Branden Oliver, who is averaging 170 yards per contest.