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Rapid Reaction: Nevada hangs on to beat UB, 24-21

The University at Buffalo fell short in a fourth-quarter comeback bid and lost to the University of Nevada, 24-21, Saturday.

Nevada was a bit bigger and better on both lines of scrimmage. The Wolf Pack rushed 39 times for 289 yards.

But UB’s precision passing game, directed by Joe Licata, was good and the Bulls had a chances to win in the fourth quarter.

UB fumbled at the Nevada 44 with 3:28 left. The Bulls got another chance and had the ball at Nevada’s 47. But a fourth-down pass by Licata was intercepted with 1:20 left.

Player of the game: Nevada running back James Butler rushed 16 times for 177 yards.

Unsung: Nevada’s big defensive tackle, Rykeem Yates, dominated the line of scrimmage. UB was forced to double-team him most of the time, and he still ate up the between-the-tackles run plays. Yates, 6-2 and 280, had 10.5 tackles for loss last season. The elimination of the inside running game made UB mostly one-dimensional.

Game-breakers: Nevada built a 17-10 lead on the strength of its two tailbacks, Butler and Don Jackson. Butler ripped off a 91-yard run to the UB 5 and then scored on the next play to tie the game, 7-7. Jackson burst up the middle on a 55-yard TD run for Nevada’s second TD.

New PK: Red-shirt freshman Adam Mitcheson made field goals of 33 and 43 yards.

True frosh: UB true freshman receiver Brandon Smiley (Sweet Home) caught the first pass of his career, a 14-yarder in the second quarter. UB true freshman defensive tackle Duke Hwang (Williamsville North) saw his first action of the season.

Lineups: UB was without No. 2 tight end Mason Schreck (knee) for a second straight week. Red-shirt freshman Kevin Rogers took his spot. . . . Nevada was missing its starting middle linebacker, senior Jordan Dobrich, injured last week. The Wolf Pack shook up is secondary after giving up a heap of big pass plays the previous two weeks. Sophomore free safety Kendall Johnson switched to cornerback. Freshman Dameon Baber made his first start at free safety. Freshman corner Ahki Muhammad went from starter to nickel back.

In the House: The paid attendance was 19,072 at UB Stadium.

Next Up: The Bulls open their Mid-American Conference schedule at home against two-time defending East Division champion Bowling Green at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

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