Game analysis: There’s nothing like a UB football game that goes down to the wire to start the college football season. The Bulls got solid play from quarterback Zach Maynard and tailbacks Brandon Thermilus and Mario Henry but costly Texas El-Paso penalties were the difference as the Bulls two stepped out of UTEP with 23-17 season opening w.
How UB won: Well, it’s basically how they didn’t lose. UTEP appeared to tie the game with 14.3 seconds left on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Vittatoe to James Thomas. Wait a minute. Flags. Two of ‘em against UTEP. One for holding and one for unsportsman like conduct. Pushed back to the UB 42 Vittatoe threw two incomplete pass to end the game. Just another night in the office for UB.
Turning Point: Penalties killed UTEP all night. They were called for a false start penalty which left them 3 and 15 from the UB 26. It was a promising drive but instead of scoring a touchdown, the Miners were forced to kick a 31-yard field goal which cut UB’s lead to 23-17 with 3:39 left. The Bulls down shifted the offense to milk the clock which ending up taking off just enough time to hold off a UTEP comeback.
Player of the game: The Bulls have several new faces but let’s keep it old school with senior wideout Naaman Roosevelt who had nine receptions for 91 yards including a backbreaking 42-yard TD catch to open up the third quarter. If that play looked familiar, it was the same one Roosevelt scored on last year against the Miners.
Stat of the game: UTEP was whistled for 12 penalties for 101 yards. Take away half of them and the Miners probably win.
What the win means: The Bulls are off to a 1-0 start for the third time in Turner Gill’s four seasons at the school.
He said it: “”Aw man!’’ Sherrod Lott’s reaction just before Vittatoe’s touchdown was wiped away by penalties.
In the house: 35,214 fans in the Sun Bowl were mostly booing after this one was over.
Up next for the Bulls: UB will see if it can carry over the momentum into next Saturday’s home opener against Pittsburgh from the Big East.