WACO, Texas — University at Buffalo senior Alex Neutz missed out on an opportunity to set the school single-game record for receiving yardage when he sat out almost the entire second half of Saturday’s lopsided loss at Baylor.
The record appeared at hand when Neutz piled up 197 yards on six first-half catches. However, it appeared he played only the first series after intermission and had no receptions, leaving him short of the school all-division record of 218 receiving yards (Joe D’Amico vs. Cortland in 1981) and the Division I-A record of 202 (Andre Ford vs. Ohio in 2002).
Neutz and quarterback Joe Licata struck big on the first play of the game – a 54-yard hookup down the middle off a flea-flicker. Neutz also had receptions of 49 and 62 yards in addition to a 14-yard touchdown catch that drew the Bulls within 21-13 late in the first quarter.
“He’s a special player and teams keep giving us options to go to him,” Licata said. “I’m going to keep going to him until they take him away and when they take him away someone else is going to step up. But he’s a special player and that’s the only way to really describe him.”
Neutz shot from sixth to third in all-time receiving yardage at 2,365 and is up to fourth in career receptions (147). Through two games he has 15 catches for 295 yards.
“We knew they played a lot of Cover 4 so we knew we could attack them with some deep balls by drawing one safety in and being able to beat the one corner,” Neutz said. “So we used that to our advantage a lot on those deep posts.”
A week after his mammoth performance against Ohio State linebacker Khalil Mack was a more subdued presence against the Bears. He finished with four tackles while also sitting out most or all of the second half.
“Today was very frustrating not being able to be in position to make plays,” Mack said. “It was a learning experience. We learned that we have to get better as a group.”
Backup quarterback Alex Zordich replaced Licata for one series in the first half and then came back to start the second half. The Bulls also sat Branden Oliver after intermission, putting backup Anthone Taylor in his place. Licata tweaked his ankle in the first half.
“I threw a pass to Neutz, jumped up, tried to see if he caught it because I’m a short guy, came down on my ankle but it was nothing serious,” Licata said. “Got taped up. I was fine. Feeling fine right now. I’ll be able to go.”
Licata went 10 of 16 for 214 yards with an interception and a touchdown. He was also sacked twice, with one of those causing a fumble returned 91 yards for a touchdown. Oliver carried 13 times for 32 yards and his 19th career touchdown. Oliver has totaled 105 yards on 39 carries over the first two games. He also was called for a chop block for the second straight week.
Baylor will pay a visit to UB Stadium the second week of next season as part of the home-and-home deal that dates to Turner Gill’s days as coach. The Bears played at UB in ‘07 and the Bulls were here in 2010. The exchange of games means that there’s no financial payout to UB. ... The only change on the 66-player travel roster had tight end Ed Harof replacing fullback Boomer Brock, who was injured before last week’s opener and is scheduled for knee surgery. ... Floyd Casey Stadium is actually located in Beverly Hills, Texas, just across the border from Waco. Baylor’s new $250 million campus stadium, due to open next season, is located in Waco and visible from the Floyd Casey press box.