Welcome and Marry Christmas to everyone as the college football bowl season rolls with the Camellia Bowl on Christmas Eve at Cramton Bowl Stadium in Montgomery features an interesting match up between Buffalo and Marshall. Buffalo looks to rebound and finish 2020 strong with its second bowl win in program history. Marshall, Buffalo both made it to their conference championship games.
Both teams finished as runner-up in their respective conferences, with Marshall losing to UAB in the Conference USA Championship, and Buffalo falling to Ball State in the MAC Championship. It will not be the first time these teams have met, because they were once conference mates.
Marshall vs Buffalo Viewing Details
Date: Thursday, December 24
Time: 2:30 P.M. EST
Location: Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: WATCH FREE HERE
Buffalo joined the MAC in 1999 and has been there ever since. Marshall has had two stints in the MAC, most recently joining the conference in 1997 and spending eight seasons there before leaving for Conference USA. It was during those eight years when these teams met six times. Marshall won all six games by an average of 33 points per game. As a new returnee to the FBS level at the time, Buffalo’s program wasn’t at the same standard it’s been at of late.
Marshall: The Thundering Herd weren’t thundering down the stretch. Marshall enters this game on a two-game losing streak, and like so many programs, has seen its season start and stop repeatedly. Marshall opened the season in early September, but after a 2-0 start, the program had to wait nearly a month between games.
That did not stop it from getting off to a 7-0 start, but after another long layoff in mid-November, the Herd lost 20-0 to Rice in early December. Freshman quarterback Grant Wells, who had been having a spectacular season, threw five interceptions in the loss.
The Herd offense would struggle again against UAB in the conference title game, managing only 268 yards and 13 points. If looking for a silver lining, it’s that had Marshall win the C-USA championship, it wouldn’t have a bowl to play. UAB went to the Gasparilla Bowl, which was canceled after South Carolina had to pull out of the game due to COVID issues.
Buffalo: The Bulls joined the party later than most as the MAC didn’t start its season until November. To put that in perspective, Marshall was already 5-0 and had three games postponed before the Bulls kicked off their season. While they were late, they didn’t waste time getting to work, laying waste to their first five opponents of the season.
The Bulls won their division with ease and entered the MAC Championship with a 5-0 record, winning by an average of 30.8 points per game. This was primarily due to running back Jaret Patterson, who has rushed for 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns in only six games. Patterson suffered an injury during Buffalo’s 38-28 loss to Ball State in the MAC Championship, but the team is hopeful he’ll be able to go against Marshall.
Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Camellia Bowl
– No matter what, Buffalo is going to bring the running game. Forget the massive disappointment in the MAC Championship loss to Ball State, the Bulls have one of the most fun and dynamic backfields in all of college football. Jaret Patterson ran for 1,072 yards and 19 touchdowns in just six games, but he hurt his foot in the conference title game. He’s a go – even if he’s banged up – and Kevin Marks is another dangerous back who can make the offense work.
– No matter what, Marshall is going to bring the defense. Forget the massive disappointment in the Conference USA loss to UAB, the Thundering Herd are still No. 1 in the nation in scoring defense and No. 3 overall in total D.
– Buffalo won its first bowl game in the program’s history last season, and Marshall head coach Doc Holliday lost his first after going 6-0. Both of these teams should’ve been conference champs, they both have a few NFL talents, and they’re both going to bring the energy in what should be a low-scoring, but tough battle.
Why Buffalo Will Win
– The Marshall offense has gone bye-bye. It’s been just fine against the mediocre teams – it blew up just fine against UMass and Middle Tennessee – but it stopped against Rice and never got going in the Conference USA Championship loss to UAB. The Thundering Herd O hasn’t hit 270 yards in either of the last two games, and …
– The Buffalo D can at least get into the backfield. It’s not a rock, but it’s good enough on third downs to get off the field, and it has enough of pass rush to be a bother. The offensive side doesn’t turn the ball over on a regular basis, and this is the game for the defense to come up with a slew of big takeaways. Marshall turned it over five times against Rice, and has given it up multiple times in three of the last six games.
– The Buffalo offensive line is terrific. The running game stalled against Ball State, but it still leads the nation averaging 310 yards per game helped by an offensive front that doesn’t allow a thing behind the line. UB leads the nation in fewest sacks allowed – partly because it doesn’t throw a lot – and it also leads the way in fewest tackles for loss allowed.
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Why Marshall Will Win
– The run defense has to take over. The Appalachian State running game that set records in the Myrtle Beach Bowl against North Texas was held to 96 yards. No one was able to get to 100 yards on the ground until Rice did it, and it only came up with 127 yards. Even after the last two games, the Herd still lead the nation in scoring defense and are third in total D.
– The offense really is better than it showed over the last two weeks. It hit a bit of a wall against Rice and UAB, but the passing game has the weapons to do a whole lot more, and the offensive line is great against decent pass rushes. Buffalo can throw a little bit, but if it has to, it’s getting away from what works.
– The Bull secondary isn’t all that great. It didn’t face a whole lot of high-octane passing games, but it still gave up over 200 yards through the air in four of the six games. Marshall freshman Grant Wells had a rough run over the last two games – completing just 26-of-58 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns with five picks – but when he’s on, the offense can do just enough to do enough to let the defensive side take care of the rest.
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What’s Going To Happen
As a program, Marshall went on a 12-1 bowl run before losing last year to UCF in the Gasparilla Bowl. However, under Doc Holliday, Marshall lost the game game before winning the bowl four times. The team has been able to make adjustments.
Buffalo should’ve won the 2018 MAC Championship – just like it should’ve this year – didn’t, and then struggled in a loss to Troy in the Dollar General.
Does history actually matter at all? Not really, but the Marshall coaching staff knows how to get a team ready.
Both of these teams should’ve been respective conference champions, and both have the playmakers to take over if the other team doesn’t have its game.
Marshall might be struggling offensively, but the defense has still been a rock. It’s not going to slow down UB to a dead stop, but it’ll do just enough to not get gouged, and the offensive side will pick it up the production just enough to get by in a battle.