Both Tyree Jackson and Grant Rohach had competent outings Friday night in the University at Buffalo’s first scrimmage of training camp.
Jackson led two touchdown drives and a field goal drive. Rohach led a touchdown drive and two field-goal drives in the two-hour workout at UB Stadium.
One week into the starting quarterback battle, it looks like UB coach Lance Leipold may have a close call on his hands when it comes time to pick the No. 1 for the season opener against Albany on Sept. 1.
Rohach got the first snaps with the starting unit.
“He won the toss,” Leipold said. “They’ve kind of split going first every time. . . . Both of them have a pretty good command. I think whichever way this turns out, we’re going to have a guy there who can move our offense.”
Jackson, the 6-foot-7 red-shirt freshman from Michigan, completed a 39-yard deep ball to junior Kamathi Holsey on his first pass. Holsey did a good job adjusting to the slight underthrow. That led to a field goal.
On Jackson’s second series, he hit tight end Tyler Mabry for a sharp, 14-yard completion, then ran 8 yards around end on a keeper for a touchdown. That capped a 50-yard drive. Later, Jackson had a 20-yard pass to Mabry and hit receiver Jamarl Eiland on an accurate, 16-yard sideline pattern to the 7-yard line. That set up another score.
Rohach, the 6-2 senior transfer from Iowa State, looked decisive in the pocket. He hit tight end Mason Schreck twice on the opening drive, which led to a field goal. Rohach beat a blitz on a fourth-and-4 pass to Mabry for 5 yards. He hit red-shirt freshman receiver K.J. Osborn on a 15-yard slant to set up a TD.
Rohach was 4 of 7 for 42 yards. Jackson was 5 of 11 for 96 yards. Both got 24 snaps.
RB report: Senior running back Jordan Johnson only played one series, but the Sweet Home product showed his hard running style. He gained 24 yards on four carries. . . . No. 2 back Johnathan Hawkins, the sophomore from Georgia, rushed 10 times for 36 yards. He scored TDs on runs of 4 and 1 yards. He showed quickness on a 9-yard run around right end to set up the second score. . . . Red-shirt freshman Emmanuel Reed ran nine times for 41 yards but lost one fumble (recovered by DT Christian Gonzalez). As has been the case in camp, UB’s veteran defensive line got the better of the young offensive line. But the fact UB’s offense got some running game going was encouraging.
“We’ve got good depth there on the defensive line,” Leipold said. “We’ve got to continue to move pieces around and find the right five up front, but they’re working hard.”
Active D-line: Junior end Demone Harris had two sacks. On one, tackle Max Perisse chased Rohach into Harris’ arms. Senior end Torey Hendrick had a sack and two hurries. Gonzalez had a sack and a hurry. Backup weak-side linebacker Jordan Collier did well in run support. Backup end Myles Nicholas, a sophomore, had two run stuffs.
INT: Red-shirt freshman cornerback Jeremiah Dadeboe jumped on a third-down quick-out pass from Dominic Johnson and made a sideline interception. Dadeboe later had a breakup of a deep post pass from Johnson.
Penalties: There were no offsides or false start penalties on the offense. But Leipold saw a few too many flags to his liking.
“We had late hits, a taunting on defense and a couple PIs,” Leipold said, referring to pass interference. “And then we covered up one guy and had an illegal man downfield. Then sometimes you hold when you’re not moving your feet. But I thought mentally our guys have done a great job.”
Field goals: Sophomore Adam Mitcheson is back as UB’s place-kicker. He made 4 of 5 from 42 yards in a special-teams segment. During the scrimmage he made field goals from 34, 25 and 28 yards with no misses.
True freshmen: Tailback Kameron Pickett, from Georgia, had seven carries for 14 yards, including a 2-yard TD run. Theo Anderson, from Florida, had two carries for 8 yards. Tight end Zac Lefebvre, the 6-6 Victor product, looked impressive on a 10-yard catch in traffic near the goal line on a pass from sophomore Drew Anderson. Linebacker Matt Otwinowski, from Indiana, stuffed Reed for no gain up the middle.
Next: UB holds another scrimmage next Friday. Practices are not open to the public.