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Cutting it close

With more drama than anyone wanted, the UB Bulls were able to pull away from the Duquesne Dukes late after surrendering a 21-point lead.

Joe Licata moved up to fourth on the all-time passing touchdown list at UB with three on Saturday
Joe Licata moved up to fourth on the all-time passing touchdown list at UB with three on Saturday
Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

Life would be great with no drama and if everything ran smooth and as planned.

We all wish that, but with the odds of that seeming slimmer than Josh Gordon's appearance on a football field this season, we have to work a little harder for things that we want.

Whether or not the Buffalo Bulls wanted a dogfight in their home opener against Duquesne Saturday afternoon, they got one, and they had to scratch and claw harder than anyone expected for a 38-28 victory over their viable FCS foe.

After building a three score lead, the Dukes responded with 21 points of their own and were tied with the Bulls into the closing minutes of the third quarter.  After the Dukes eventually took a four-point lead in the fourth quarter, Joe Licata connected with Ron Willoughby - who had a career day - on a 24-yard touchdown pass down the left sideline to go back ahead for good.

This feeling of playing a game way-too-close for comfort against a lower-level opponent was all too familiar to the Bulls.  It was just last year that it took UB five overtimes to get by Stony Brook, another FCS opponent.

Willoughby - who totaled three receptions for a total of 83 yards all of last season - had 10 receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns.  Licata hit his tight end Matt Weiser for a 41-yard touchdown to open the scoring which was followed by two rushing touchdowns from Anthone Taylor.

Duquesne quarterback Dillon Buechel had a day through the air totaling 322 yards and three touchdowns, two to Chris King who has eight receptions for 199 yards.

The Bulls defense allowed 238 yards in the third quarter alone, after surrendering just 80 in the entire first half.  Licata finished with 287 yards through the air with two touchdowns and an interception.  He also moved into the fourth place on the school's all-time passing touchdown list with three on Saturday afternoon.

The Bulls hit the road next week with a kickoff slated for 12:00 pm against Army on Saturday, September 6th.