Senior Matt Weiser had the best day for a University at Buffalo tight end Saturday in the school’s Football Bowl Subdivision history.
Weiser caught 10 passes for 131 yards and a touchdown in UB’s 24-21 loss to the University of Nevada. It was the most yards and catches for a UB TE since the program went FBS in 1999.
Weiser caught a 41-yard TD pass in the first quarter. It was a 10-yard route against man coverage. The defender missed the tackle and Weiser sprinted to the end zone. Weiser repeatedly split two-deep coverage with catches over the middle.
“If they leave the middle of the field open, we find ways to attack the areas,” Weiser said.
Player of the game: Nevada running back James Butler rushed 16 times for 177 yards and a touchdown. He averaged 11.1 yards a carry. His 91-yard run up the middle set up Nevada’s first TD.
Turning point: Jordan Johnson’s fumble at the Nevada 44 with 3:28 left.
Unsung: Nevada’s big defensive tackle, Rykeem Yates, dominated the line of scrimmage. He’s a 6-2, 280-pounder who originally committed to UCLA out of high school. UB was forced to double-team him most of the time. He still ate up the between-the-tackles runs and put hits on the quarterback.
Gashed: UB middle linebacker Nick Gilbo said the defense was a tad to fast-flowing on the two big first-half runs by Nevada. On a 55-yard TD run by Don Jackson, Gilbo was a couple steps outside and couldn’t get over the top of his defensive tackle to fill the gap.
“They’re a good O-line,” Gilbo said. “They came after us. I just had to play slower and read my keys more and should have done that from the get-go.”
Good adjustments: UB’s defense used an eighth man in the box more often in the second half in containing Nevada’s run game. UB’s running backs carried 12 times for 37 yards in the first half but 17 times for 110 yards in the second. Jordan Johnson had 79 rushing yards. Anthone Taylor had 68.
“We ran a lot of outside zone stuff,” Licata said of the second half. “We wanted to get the ball behind our tackles. I think it’s no secret our tackles are studs. So I think that was a great part of the game plan.”
Best pass: The most impressive throw of the game was a 21-yard strike from Licata to Collin Lisa on a third-and-11 play from the UB 19 with 5:10 to go. Licata knew he was going to take a wicked hit from Yates and delivered a bullet.
Top defenders: Linebacker Brandon Berry led UB in tackles with 13. Cornerback Boise Ross broke up four passes, giving him 12 for the season. Gilbo and Okezie Alozie had 12 tackles apiece.
Two for two: UB’s red-shirt freshman kicker, Adam Mitcheson, made field goals of 33 and 43 yards.
True frosh: UB true freshman receiver Brandon Smiley (Sweet Home) caught the first pass of his career, a 14-yarder in the second quarter. UB true freshman defensive tackle Duke Hwang (Williamsville North) saw his first action of the season.
Lineups: UB was without No. 2 tight end Mason Schreck (knee) for a second straight week. Red-shirt freshman Kevin Rogers took his spot. Bulls receiver Malcolm Robinson injured a hamstring in the third quarter and did not return. . . . Nevada was missing its starting middle linebacker, senior Jordan Dobrich.
In the House: The paid attendance was 19,072 at UB Stadium.
Next Up: The Bulls open their Mid-American Conference schedule at home against two-time defending East Division champion Bowling Green at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.