2013 Idaho Bowl: Getting to know Buffalo

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Spor

Bull Run helps us to get to know more about Buffalo as they take on San Diego State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

San Diego State and Buffalo meet up in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl this Saturday, so to get prepared for that game we reached out to Bull Run to answer a few of more of the pressing questions about Buffalo. So, read on.

Q: What makes linebacker Khalil Mack such a good player, and who else do the Bulls have on defense?

A: When your talking linebackers i like to see fast action...at LB even if you make a wrong read of you do it fast you may still disrupt the play. Mack is the fastest LB I've seen since Derrick Johnson at Texas.

His forte is stopping a play behind the line and QB sacks and when the season ends Mack will likely be the new NCAA career TFL leader.

Q: How excited is this team/fanbase for heading to just there second ever bowl game?

A: I'd say it's subdued. If before the season you said UB would be 8-4 and headed to the Potato bowl we would've been ecstatic.

Our path to 8-4 has dampened some of the enthusiasm. UB is 1-4 against FBS teams with winning records. The season finale was disappointing loss at home with the division on the line. It is also bittersweet because UB is losing a lot of talent after Saturday.

The game is less a celebration and more of a must win to validate the season.

Q: The MAC is known for their offense, so how does Buffalo's offense stand up to the rest of the league and who are their key players?

A: Buffalo is not MACtion. They win when they run the ball a lot and the defense is making plays.

The key is senior RB Branden Oliver, a workhorse who has power and speed. Senior Alex Neutz is a dependable WR who basically scores every game. Sophomore Joe Licata is a pocket passer who is at his best exploiting one on one coverage, which is why Oliver is the engine to the offense.

Q: San Diego State's 3-3-5 defense is quite different then what most teams run and that formation disguises their coverages. Will this different defense cause any issues in what Buffalo normally tries to do?

A: The best way to beat Buffalo is by stopping the run in your base formation without blitzing. I don't think the 3-3-5 will be able to accomplish that. In addition UB's defense is similar to the 3-3-5 so it won't shock the UB offense.

Q: What would a win for Buffalo over San Diego State do for the program going forward?

A: It will be great for the seniors who were recruited to a conference champion school only to win 9 games in their first 3 years.

It will help coach Quinn who despite his 17-31 record vs Turner Gill's 20-30 record has not yet won over the UB fanbase. Gill won the conference. Quinn needs the school's first ever bowl win on his resume to help his standing with the fans.

Q: How do you think the game will play out?

A: First team to 150 rushing yards wins. If UB focuses on running UB wins easily. UB loses if Quinn gets pass happy. Down 10-7 against BGSU, UB threw the ball 20 or so consecutive times and found themselves down 24-7.

The cold weather will help the old school trench war that I think this game will be. Casual fans on ESPN won't like it, but the winning school will have a win to be proud of.

Prediction: Buffalo 30 - SDSU 19

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