RENO, Nev. - The evening started in a memorable way for University at Buffalo cornerback Boise Ross but ended in a way the Bulls would like to forget.
Ross, UB's senior cornerback, made his debut wearing No. 41 in tribute to his former roommate, Solomon Jackson, the defensive end who died in February after collapsing during an offseason team conditioning workout.
Ross switched from the No. 1 he has worn throughout his career to Jackson's 41 for the rest of the season. UB is working on a plan, approved by Jackson’s family, that will have a designated player wear Jackson’s No. 41 every season going forward.
But Ross was ejected from the game early in the fourth quarter on a dubious targeting foul. Ross broke up a sideline pass for Nevada receiver Will Demps to create a third-down stop and apparently force a punt.
Demps ran a sideline out pattern and extended himself toward the boundary to make the catch. Ross, closing on the play, hit Demps from behind, knocked him out of bounds and forced the receiver to drop the pass. But officials ruled Ross had targeted a defenseless receiver. Normally that call happens on inside-breaking routes, not when a receiver is reaching over the out-of-bounds line to make a catch.
The play came with 13 minutes to go at the UB 32. Nevada took advantage and drove for its final touchdown.
UB coach Lance Leipold said he had no problem with the way Ross tried to defend the play.
"No, I’ve never seen one on that type of play," Leipold said of the call.
"He said it was a defenseless player," Leipold said of the referee. "It’s called. It’s reviewed. I understand protecting players. We get a lot of samples of calls that we're shown in the offseason. That one’s not on the sample reel."