Tyree Jackson came through like a veteran to lead the University at Buffalo to a dramatic comeback victory over Army Saturday night.
Jackson, UB’s 6-foot-7 red-shirt freshman, led UB on two touchdown drives in the final 11 minutes of regulation. Then he set the Bulls up for the winning field goal in the first extra session.
Adam Mitcheson’s 33-yard kick gave the Bulls a 23-20 triumph.
The win was the first of the season for UB (1-2), which was a 14-point underdog. It also was the biggest win in the tenure of second-year UB coach Lance Leipold. Army dropped to 3-1.
“I’m very proud of our team,” Leipold said. “I think a lot of people counted this group out. ... To see us battle back like that is very satisfying.”
With UB down, 20-6, Jackson engineered a 66-yard touchdown drive in eight plays. Jackson hit receiver Marcus McGill on a 49-yard receiver screen pass to the Army 17. Then Jackson converted a fourth-and-1 play with a 2-yard keeper up the middle. He threw a 5-yard TD pass to the back pylon that receiver Kamathi Holsey caught to pull UB within 20-13.
UB’s next possession started with 6:13 left. Jackson drove the Bulls 62 yards in 13 plays, capped by a 1-yard quarterback keeper to tie the game, 20-20, with 2:26 left.
Jackson made several clutch throws on the march. On a fourth-and-9 play from midfield, he stood in the pocket against a blitz and hit tight end Mason Schreck with a 10-yard pass. Jackson took a big hit on the play. Then on third-and-12 from the Army 27, Jackson hit Schreck again for a 19-yard strike down the right seam. It was a tight throw on time between two defenders.
Jackson capped the march with a 1-yard TD run up the middle.
“Of course, we’re happy,” Jackson said. “Our defense played a great game. This is all for them. And Mason Schreck made me look good.”
“I’m very impressed with Tyree,” Leipold said. “Never was there a sign of panic or confusion.”
“There were a couple of times on the sideline where he said, ‘Coach, we got this,” Leipold said. “He was very confident in himself.”
In overtime, UB’s defense pushed Army back and held the Black Knights without a first down. Army missed a 43-yard field goal.
UB took over at the 25-yard line. Jackson made a good decision on a read-option run play to fake the handoff to running back Jordan Johnson and run around left tackle for a 12-yard gain to Army’s 13. That set up the winning kick.
“When they closed down on Jordan, it left a big hole for me,” Jackson said. “Mason made a great block on the play. Anybody could have run through that hole.”
“It was fun to see him come through,” said Schreck. “He had a great week of practice. The way he took command of the huddle was great to see.”
Jackson completed 20 of 31 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown, with no interceptions. He ran 12 times for 34 yards.
Schreck caught five passes for 58 yards. Army did a good job defending UB’s running game. Johnathan Hawkins rushed for 37 yards and Johnson had 34.