The 2018 Dollar General Bowl will pit the Mid-American Conference and Sun Belt Conference against each other this season. Buffalo will face Troy on Dec. 22 (7 p.m. ET, ESPN). Here is the 2018 Dollar General Bowl preview:
Buffalo Bulls (10-3)
For the first time in program history, Buffalo won 10 games. However, the Bulls need to bounce back from blowing a 19-point, second-half lead in the MAC championship game against Northern Illinois.
There’s probably been enough time for the sting of that defeat to subside as Buffalo tries to record the school’s first-ever bowl victory. There is certainly the talent to make that happen. Six-foot-7 junior quarterback Tyree Jackson (2,857 yards 27 touchdowns, seven rushing touchdowns) is the MAC Offensive Player of the Year and receiver Anthony Johnson (25 career touchdowns) could be selected in the early rounds of the upcoming NFL Draft.
Plus freshman running backs Jaret Patterson and Kevin Marks have combined for 1,751 yards and 25 rushing touchdowns this season.
The Bulls have been stout on defense at times, but twice in the last five games they’ve yielded 300 or more passing yards. They’ve also given up at least 42 points on three occasions in 2018.
Troy Trojans (9-3)
The Trojans are one victory away from a third consecutive 10-win season. They won at Nebraska in September, but had a four-game winning streak snapped at Appalachian State to conclude the regular season.
Still, Neal Brown is one of the country’s hottest prospects to run a Power Five team, along with Buffalo’s Lance Leipold. For the time being, both are staying put.
Troy has totaled just 22 points in the last two games, but B.J. Smith was among the Sun Belt leaders with 1,093 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. However, the Trojans’ strength is on defense where following a 56-20 opening loss to then-No. 22 Boise State, they did not yield more than 27 opponents in any game. They’ve held three of their last five foes to fewer than 20 points and rank among the national leaders with 17 interceptions.
The Trojans, who won the Dollar General Bowl two years ago, are trying for a fourth consecutive bowl victory.
Both teams look to conclude strong seasons on a positive note, so this should be one of the more competitive bowl games on the docket. Buffalo’s strength is on offense while Troy’s defense is among the best in the country. Should be fun.
Troy 28, Buffalo 27
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