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DAWSON'S BIG NIGHT HALTED BY HEAD INJURY

Dave Dawson can usually be found in the backfield, but Saturday against Marshall, the junior tailback lined up as a wide receiver in the slot to start the second half.

The Bulls didn't throw to Dawson, although it appeared quarterback P.J. Piskorik was glancing in his direction on one play that was spoiled by a false start penalty. When asked if he'll utilize Dawson at wideout more, UB coach Jim Hofher was non-committal.

"We'll see, he did a good job," said Hofher following the Bulls' 48-14 loss to Marshall on Saturday. "Certainly his most explosive play was when he was behind center."

Indeed, Dawson's 83-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, the team's longest since the Bulls moved up to Division I-A in 1999, was key to Dawson's 101-yard performance on just five carries.

Dawson, who suffered a head injury during the third quarter, was unable to address the media. The injury wasn't serious enough to require immediate medical attention and Dawson returned on the charter flight back to Buffalo after the game. He will be re-evaluated today.

Senior free safety J.J. Gibson continued his strong play, finishing with a game-high 14 tackles, including nine solos.

He was whistled for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first half following an interception, his second of the season, that essentially put the Bulls out of field-goal range.

"I didn't know it was unsportsmanlike conduct or I wouldn't have done it," Gibson said. "I guess I just should have run off the field, but at the time I was just celebrating with my teammate. Me and (Gemara Williams) just slapped hands."

But Gibson and Williams' exchange was choreographed, a strict NCAA no-no, so Gibson was flagged.

Because of a back injury to starter Ryan Sherwood-Ericsson, true freshman Jamal Chisam received his first action of the season at strong safety. Hofher was planning to redshirt the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Chisam, who won the Maryland state title last season at DeMatha Catholic.

"He's been ready to play but now he's forced to play because of the loss of Ryan Sherwood," Hofher said.

Chisam finished with five tackles, including three solos.

"Any time you lose a productive player and replace him with an inexperienced player, there's going to be something lost," Hofher said. "We can't compare Jamal to anyone else except himself."

Freshman quarterback Datwan Hemingway missed his second straight game with a sore right shoulder. Hemingway practiced last week but the shoulder was still too tender for him to play. . . . Marshall freshman wide receiver Marcus Fitzgerald is the brother of Arizona Cardinals wideout Larry Fitzgerald, who starred at Pittsburgh last season. Their father, Larry, was in attendance Saturday. . . . Captains for the Marshall game were the entire senior class along with sophomore tailback Steven King, junior defensive tackle Bill Meholif and junior guard Mike Schifano.

e-mail: rmckissic@buffnews.com

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