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Shannon's play is worthy of superhero status

The sight of Davonte Shannon wearing a Superman T-shirt to the University at Buffalo's postgame news conference was quite appropriate.

Shannon set a UB Division I-A record on Saturday with 20 tackles, including 12 solo and two for losses, in the Bulls' 27-24 come-from-behind overtime victory over Army on Saturday.

Shannon, a sophomore strong safety who was an All-Mid-American Conference selection as a true freshman, moved closer to the line of scrimmage because of Army's triple option offense making him a hybrid linebacker.

"The coaches put me in the right position this week, down by the line of scrimmage," Shannon said. "I take my hat off to the coaches."

Army's triple option is made for a player like Shannon, who is a punishing strong safety.

"I like defending the ball in passes too, but I like tacking and I like being physical," Shannon said.


Senior receiver Ernest Jackson rebounded from a poor performance last week against Western Michigan with a career high 134 yards receiving and tying a personal best with nine receptions.

Jackson had two receptions for 25 yards last week against the Broncos and the coaching staff urged him to readjust his focus during practice.

"He had the best week in practice I've ever seen him have," said senior quarterback Drew Willy. "He was truly focused and it showed in the game. I think everyone saw what kind of playmaker he is. He's got the frame, he's got the skill and he's got the mindset."

Jackson's previous high was 118 set at Kent State on Nov. 24, 2007.


Gill said he decided not to play junior tailback James Starks late Friday night because of a turf toe injury suffered last week during practice. Starks, the team's leading rusher, was replaced by junior Mario Henry, who injured his right knee during the third quarter. It was not immediately known how long Henry will be out, but Gill said initial reports indicate a torn ligament. Gill hopes to have Starks back for the Oct. 28 at Ohio University.

That left sophomore Brandon Thermilus as the only tailback with experience. After Thermilus is sophomore Ike Nduka, who doesn't have a carry this season and plays primarily special teams.

"We're going to put him in the mix," Gill said.


Army fumbled the ball four times, but the Bulls recovered only one. Coming into the game, the Black Knights fumbled 19 times and lost 13.

"The coaches said before the game that they were going to put the ball on the ground and we had to go get it," said cornerback Kendric Hawkins. "Most of the game we weren't getting it then when we finally got it, it was a big relief."


Linebacker Darius Willis, who signed with UB in February but didn't qualify academically, attended Saturday's game. Willis, generally regarded as Gill's top signee at UB, hopes to enroll at UB in January. . . . This was the first time that UB has gone to overtime in back-to-back games since 2006 when the Bulls defeated Temple in overtime, before falling the next week to Bowling Green. . . . This the first time in UB's Division I-A era that the Bulls have had three straight game decided by one score. The last time that happened was in 1988 against Findlay, Buffalo State and Westminster. . . . The 21-yard rush by Henry in the first quarter was his longest of the season. . . . A.J. Principe converted on his 19th career field goal, which is tied for fifth in UB school history. In overtime, Principe moved into a tie for fourth with his 20th career field goal. . . . With his 13th passing touchdown of the season, Willy moves into a tie for eighth place for touchdown passes in a season. . . . Senior linebacker Adekunle Akingba tied his career high with 10 total tackles.


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