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Rapid Reaction: UB defense spectacular in 33-15 win

BOCA RATON, Fla. – The University at Buffalo rode an amazing, big-play defensive effort to a victory at Florida Atlantic Saturday.

The Bulls scored three defensive touchdowns and a safety en route to a 33-15 triumph.

The Bulls got a 60-yard fumble return for a touchdown by senior linebacker Travis Pitzonka late in the second quarter and a 39-yard interception return by Boise Ross in the third quarter. Then they got a sack by Demone Harris and an 11-yard fumble recovery return for a score in the fourth quarter.

The Bulls improved to 2-1. FAU fell to 0-3.

First half flop: The seven first-half possessions by the UB offense produced five punts, a safety and an interception. UB was outgained in the first half, 312 to 106. FAU ran 51 plays to UB’s 28. FAU had 19 first downs to UB’s five.

Turnaround play: Pitzonka returned a fumble recovery 60 yards for a touchdown with 1:11 left in the first half to pull UB within 9-7. It was a huge turnaround. FAU had a third-and-1 situation from the UB 29. Brandon Berry and Okezie Alozie blitzed. FAU back Jay Warren was chased 11 yards backward before Berry forced the fumble. Pitzonka is a senior from Lancaster who plays in nickel defense packages.

Break for UB: FAU played without starting senior quarterback Jaquez Johnson due to a sprained ankle. Red-shirt freshman Jason Driskel made his first start.

Lineups: UB was without No. 2 tight end Mason Schreck, who suffered a knee injury in practice. It’s not a serious injury. Red-shirt freshman Kevin Rogers took Schreck’s spot. UB started defensive tackle Brandon Crawford at defensive end for a second straight game. That gives UB a slightly stouter front four.

New decal: UB debuted new white helmets, with its standing bull logo on the side.

In the house: here looked like about 6,000 in the stands.

Next Up: The Bulls play host to Nevada, coached by St. Francis High product Brian Polian, at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

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