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Pair of fumbles leaves Henry on the bench

It was definitely a day to forget for Mario Henry.

The University at Buffalo senior tailback touched the ball twice and fumbled both times which resulted in two of the Bulls' four turnovers that aided Pittsburgh in its 54-27 romp over the Bulls on Saturday at UB Stadium.

"It was tough for me and also for the team," said Henry, the senior tailback from Erie, Pa. "The team did a good job of keeping me up. Just told me to forget about it. We have to learn and press on toward the goal as Coach [Turner Gill] always says."

After the second fumble in the second quarter, Henry, who serves as the backup to junior Brandon Thermilus, didn't return to the game.

"It's part of life, he'll bounce back," Gill said. "He'll be ready to go next week. Those things happen in a ball game and those things happen in life. He'll come back, bounce [back] and be ready to play for us."

Henry fumbled on the Bulls' first kickoff, which was forced by Greg Williams and recovered by Andrew Taglianetti at the UB 23. Pitt scored one play later on a 23-yard touchdown pass from Bill Stull to Dorin Dickerson.

"I thought I had something, but I was holding the ball low," Henry said. "He hit it and it came out."

The Bulls trailed, 20-7, when Dom DeCicco forced Henry to fumble after a 3-yard run on the UB 14. Initially, it appeared Henry was down before the ball popped out.

"The refs thought otherwise," he said. "It is just part of the game."

Pitt scored again, this time on a 9-yard reception by Dickerson and the lead was 27-7. After Henry was benched, junior tailback Ike Nduka received some playing time and responded with 25 yards on two carries.

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On most days UB will win when it runs up total yardage like it did against Pitt.

The 500 yards total offense were the most in the four seasons under Gill and the most since UB ran up 597 in a 44-0 victory over Ohio University on Nov. 2, 2001, which was former coach Jim Hofher's first victory at UB Stadium.

Sophomore quarterback Zach Maynard threw for 400 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. Brett Hamlin finished with 12 receptions for 149 yards and Naaman Roosevelt had six catches for 157 yards and two touchdowns, the first time UB had two receivers over 100 yards since becoming a FBS program in 1999.

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The Bulls struggled on special teams. In addition to Henry's kickoff fumble, there was a 15-yard punt by Peter Fardon that sailed out of bounds at the Pitt 39. The Panthers also totaled 294 yards on five kickoff returns with an average drive start at their own 32.

"We had some kickoffs that we should be able to cover a little bit better," Gill said. "There were some ups and downs and there were some good things that occurred too but overall I would say they had the edge on special teams."

After the game got out of hand Gill was able to play his backups, including redshirt freshman quarterback Jerry Davis, who made his debut. Davis completed 2 of 4 passes for 33 yards. He was sacked once.

"You're only one snap away," Gill said. "It was good to get them some game experience. Hopefully we'll play them again when we're up by a whole lot."

e-mail: rmckissic@buffnews.com

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>Pittsburgh vs. UB / Breaking down the Bulls' loss

Game analysis: That was ugly. Pitt took everything that UB gave away and converted four turnovers into 27 points and won in a laugher, 54-27. UB had an opportunity to gain some national recognition with a favorable showing against the Panthers from the Big East but came up woefully short.

How UB lost: Turnovers. Four of 'em. Not to mention that kid from Albany named Dion Lewis who tap-danced all over the UB defense for 190 yards and a pair of scores. Only a true freshman, Pitt fans should enjoy him while they can.

Turning Point: When Zach Maynard tried to pitch to a tailback who wasn't there, Pitt returned the fumble 50 yards for a touchdown and a 40-20 lead in the third quarter. Score a touchdown and the Bulls get back into the game trailing by seven points halfway through the third.

Player of the game: Lewis. Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt was worried because 15 of Lewis' family members made the trip to see him play. Now he's probably hoping they all travel to Pitt next week for the Navy game. Poor Maynard. Guy throws for a gazillion yards and doesn't get player of the game. But since these categories are pretty flexible . . .

Co-player of the game: Maynard. Forget about the fumble and the late interception: 400 yards and four TDs in only his second start has everyone buzzing and only about half the playbook has been thrown at him. This kid is for real.

Stat of the game: 500 yards of total offense for UB. There were times not too long ago when the Bulls couldn't pile up that many yards over a three-game stretch. Potentially, UB's offense could end up more explosive than ever.

He said it: "I think he continues to amaze himself." -- Turner Gill on wide receiver Naaman Roosevelt, who finished with an amazing six receptions for 157 yards, including touchdowns of 54 and 67 yards.

In the house: The 21,870 at UB Stadium were quite lively until Pitt went up, 14-0.

Up next for the Bulls: The Bulls travel to Orlando, Fla., for a Saturday night game against former MAC foe Central Florida. The Golden Knights played at Southern Mississippi on Saturday night.

-- Rodney McKissic

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