Coming into his homecoming at UB Stadium, Nevada coach Brian Polian had lost only twice in his Wolf Pack tenure when his team outrushed their opponent. Conversely, when outrushed he only found two wins. That held true today in Nevada's 24-21 victory at UB Stadium.
It was a trio of turnovers, though, two in the passing game, that handed the game to Nevada in the last 16 minutes.
On the afternoon, Buffalo held the ball for 33 minutes on and looked to finally be taking advantage of that disparity late in the third. Driving for the lead, the Bulls were finding yards on the ground for the first time all day with 28 yards on three carries from Anthone Taylor, but Joe Licata heaved up a poorly overthrown pass into the end zone that was easily reeled in by Nevada's Dameon Baber.
This was indicative of the offensive through the first three quarters, which time and time again couldn't finish drives, stalling out for a pair of field goals before and after halftime. Even after Nevada answered with a five-minute touchdown drive, though, Buffalo still had that tired Wolf Pack defense to pick apart. Licata found Collin Lisa for a score and Marcus McGill ran in a two-point conversion to get UB within three, and the Bulls had all the momentum.
UB held Nevada to three consecutive three-and-outs and moved the ball effectively in their final drives, but simply gave the ball away, first on a fumbled handoff between Licata and Jordan Johnson, and then on another interception by Baber on 4th and 15 from midfield. UB had moved 50 yards in under a minute and looked ready to enter field goal range, but were doomed by a holding penalty from Dillon Guy and Licata not seeing an open Lisa on the final pass.
On the defensive side, the Bulls mostly stood tall other than Nevada's final scoring drive and a pair of big rushing plays in the first half that staked out the Wolf Pack lead. Nevada was 4-12 on third down and all three of Okezie Alozie, Nick Gilbo, and Brandon Berry topped ten tackles. Boise Ross added four pass breakups to his FBS-leading total.
Still looking for a consistent offense, UB is at 2-2 on the year and will remain at home this week to bring in Bowling Green for their MAC opener at 3:30 PM. The Falcons beat Purdue this afternoon and are also 2-2 on the season.