Expert Cappers Picks
College Football
Preview
Buffalo vs Troy
When: 7:00 PM ET, Saturday, December 22, 2018
Where: Ladd-Peebles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama



DOLLAR GENERAL BOWL STORYLINES

1. The talented freshman duo of Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks will lead Buffalo into its first bowl game appearance in five seasons when it takes on Troy on Dec. 22 in the Dollar General Bowl in Mobile, Ala. Patterson and Marks have rushed for more than 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns for the Bulls, who dropped their previous two bowl games in 2008 and 2013. The Trojans, who are making their third straight bowl appearance and second at the Dollar General Bowl, will counter with junior B.J. Smith, who set a school record with five consecutive 100-yard rushing games while churning out 1,093 yards and 12 touchdowns.

2. Patterson ran for 72 yards in a 30-29 loss to Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game Nov. 30 to break the freshman rushing record of 917 yards previously set by Aaron Leeper in 2002. The Maryland native has 946 yards and 13 touchdowns while Marks has amassed 805 yards and 12 scores on the ground for the Bulls, whose 10 wins are the most in school history. Junior Emmanuel Reed, who was the team's leading rusher last season with 840 yards, has contributed 371 yards and one touchdown to help Buffalo break the school's single-season rushing record of 2,463 yards set in 1998.

3. The Trojans, who are 1-1 in bowl games played in Mobile, which is located roughly three hours from their campus, opened the season with a 5-1 record before losing starting quarterback Kaleb Barker for the season due to a knee injury. Sophomore Sawyer Smith stepped in and lost the first game he started to Liberty but then led the Trojans to four straight wins before they missed out on a chance to qualify for the Sun Belt Conference championship game with a 21-10 loss to Appalachian State. Smith has completed 61.1 percent of his passes for 1,349 yards with 10 touchdowns against six interceptions.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Buffalo -2.5

ABOUT BUFFALO (10-3, 7-1 MAC): The month of November was not kind to junior quarterback Tyree Jackson as he broke the 200-yard barrier just once while the Bulls posted a 2-2 record. In the first nine games, the MAC Offensive Player of the Year averaged 247 yards while throwing 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions, but those numbers dropped to 158 yards per game with four touchdowns and three interceptions in four games in November, which culminated with the Bulls allowing a 29-10 lead to slip away in the MAC championship game defeat. Jackson, who needs two touchdown passes to tie the school record of 29 set by Joe Licata in 2014, is no stranger to struggles as the Bulls went 2-10 in his first season as the starter in 2016 before climbing to 6-6 last season under Lance Leipold.

ABOUT TROY (9-3, 7-1 Sun Belt): While Smith is unquestionably the motor that makes this team run, the Trojans have a stable of talented receivers that allowed both Barker and Smith to throw for over 1,000 yards, the second time that has happened in school history. Senior Damion Willis is the big play threat with 43 catches for 775 yards and eight touchdowns, while Deondre Douglas caught one more pass than his teammate for 437 yards and eight scores. Sidney Davis finished with 39 catches and Tray Eafford and Jabir Daughtry-Frye had 21 receptions each for the Trojans, who have won 22 of their last 26 games.



PREDICTION: Buffalo 34, Troy 31
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Buffalo 10-3 L1 34.8 24.7 5-2 5-1 1-0 0-0 7-2
Troy 9-3 L1 29.8 21.2 5-1 4-2 2-0 5-1 7-1
Last Meeting
Buffalo Troy
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Buffalo N/A
Troy N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Buffalo N/A
Troy N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Buffalo N/A
Troy N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Buffalo N/A
Troy N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Buffalo T. Jackson 55.1 2857 27 11
Troy S. Smith 61.1 1349 10 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Buffalo J. Patterson 159 911 5.7 13
Troy B. Smith 198 1090 5.5 12
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Buffalo A. Johnson 52 944 18.2 11
Troy D. Willis 43 775 18.0 8
Touchdowns Player TD
Buffalo J. Patterson 13
Troy B. Smith 12
Quickchart Matchup
Buffalo Buffalo Off vs  Troy Troy Def
Buffalo 417.6 yards
Troy 345.6 yards
Buffalo 4.6 yards/rush
Troy 3.3 yards/rush
Buffalo 7.5 yards/attempt
Troy 7.3 yards/attempt
Troy Troy Off vs  Buffalo Buffalo Def
Troy 385.5 yards
Buffalo 349.4 yards
Troy 4.7 yards/rush
Buffalo 4.2 yards/rush
Troy 7.6 yards/attempt
Buffalo 6.7 yards/attempt