The 2020 Camellia Bowl features the 5-1 Buffalo Bulls against the 7-2 Marshall Thundering Herd. Here is the 2020 Camellia Bowl Preview.
Buffalo Bulls (5-1)
The MAC had a shortened season, but the Bulls were able to go undefeated before losing to Ball State in the MAC Championship Game. Buffalo beat two teams above .500 in Miami and Kent State, as they proved they are a solid team.
Offensively, the Bulls have averaged 46.8 points per game, which ranks third in the country. They have specialized in running the football, as they average 309.2 yards on the ground (ranked first) and 199.5 passing yards per game (ranked 90th).
Kyle Vantrease is the starting quarterback for the Bulls. He has passed for 1,186 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions on 63 percent completion. The Bulls have two receivers that have over 300 receiving yards. Antonio Nunn has 33 catches for 535 yards and two touchdowns to lead the team. Trevor Wilson is a solid target as well with 14 receptions for 309 yards and three touchdowns.
The star of the Buffalo offense is running back Jaret Patterson. In six games, he had 1,072 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. He has an astronomical 7.6 yards per carry and also tied the single game record for touchdowns in a game against Kent State. When Patterson needs a breather, Kevin Marks Jr. steps in. He has been productive as well with 603 rushing yards and six touchdowns. Patterson has a knee injury, but is expected to play in the Camellia Bowl.
Buffalo’s defense has allowed 23.8 points per game, which makes them solid, especially given the team’s offensive output. They give up 216.2 passing yards (ranked 42) and 161.3 rushing yards per game (ranked 62nd). Linebacker James Patterson leads the team with 54 total tackles. Defensive end Malcolm Koonce leads the team with five sacks. Linebacker Kadofi Wright has seven pass break ups and safety Tyrone Hill has six.
Marshall Thundering Herd (7-2)
Marshall started the season 7-0 before dropping the last two games of the season. Their loss to UAB came in the Conference-USA Championship, while the Thundering Herd’s other loss was to Rice, who finished the season under .500. They have wins over three teams that are .500 or above.
The Thundering Herd score 34.4 points per game, which ranks 27th in the country. They pass for 223.9 yards (ranked 69th) and rush for 183.2 yards per game (ranked 50th).
Grant Wells leads the solid passing attack for Marshall. Wells has passed for 1,977 yards, nine touchdowns and seven interceptions on 60.8 percent completion. He has five receivers who have 200 yards or more this season. Tight end Xavier Gaines has the most receiving yards on the team with 398 and has also had four touchdowns. Behind him, Corey Gammage, Artie Henry, Willie Johnson and Broc Thompson have all produced for the Thundering Herd.
Brenden Knox is the lead back for Marshall. He has rushed for 887 yards and nine touchdowns this season. Sheldon Evans, Wells and Knowledge McDaniel all have over 100 yards to supplement the rushing offense for the Thundering Herd.
Defensively, the Thundering Herd have been great this season, as they allow 12.6 points per game. They allow 88.9 rushing yards (ranked second) and 188.8 passing yards per game (ranked 18th). Linebackers Tavante Beckett and Eli Neal lead the team in tackles with 90 and 70 respectively. Defensive lineman Darius Hodge leads the team with 6.5 sacks. Defensive back Steven Gilmore has had a great season with eight passes defended and one interception.
This game has a good rushing attack going up against a good rushing defense. Buffalo has NFL-level players on both sides of the ball who make an impact. If Patterson gets shut down in the running game, they can utilize Nunn. Koonce will be getting after Wells all game long. The Bulls should be able to win a lower-scoring, tough-fought game.
Buffalo Bulls 26 Marshall Thundering Herd 23
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