The Bulls held Norfolk State to 215 yards of total offense, including 99 passing yards on just three completions. The three completions were the fewest by an opponent in UB's FBS era (since 1999). Adam Redden was just one of the many standouts on defense with six tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a forced fumble.
"Overall, a solid performance," head coach Jeff Quinn said of his defense. "There was just that one early play that gave them seven points, but overall, I thought we had a very solid plan and the kids executed extremely well."
The Bulls got on the board first, in historic fashion, when Joe Licata connected with Devon Hughes on a 92-yard touchdown reception. It was the longest touchdown pass in school history, surpassing the 91-yard touchdown from Mark Taylor to Jamie Gasparre against Hofstra in 1996.
Following the Norfolk State touchdown to tie the game, Licata connected with Hughes again. The nine-yard touchdown grab gave the Bulls the lead for good.
Licata's third touchdown of the game came with 8:44 left in the second quarter when the junior signal-caller made a perfect back shoulder throw to Ron Willoughby from three yards out to give the Bulls a 20-7 lead. A 39-yard field goal by Patrick Clarke in the final seconds of the half gave the Bulls a 23-7 lead at halftime.
For the Bulls' fourth touchdown, Licata ran it in from the one-yard line. UB's final touchdown came with 9:40 left in the game when Tony Daniel, who came in to spell Licata once the game was out of hand, connected with Willoughby on a stellar 17-yard touchdown. Willoughby was able to get one foot down in the end zone before being pushed out of bounds.
Licata finished the game throwing for 229 yards and three touchdowns in blustery conditions that made it difficult to throw. Nonetheless, he tied Cliff Scott (1991-94) for third in school history with 43 career touchdown passes.
Hughes was his favorite target as the senior wide receiver had five catches for a career-best 120 yards and two touchdowns. Willoughby had four catches for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as well.
Another Taylor led UB's rushing attack with a season-high 116 yards. As a team, the Bulls rushed for 169 yards in the game.
Boise Ross, playing in just his second game at cornerback, had five tackles, as did junior linebacker Nick Gilbo.
Gilbo added 1.5 tackles for loss. Max Perisse had the best game of his young career, finishing with four tackles, two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. As a team, UB had 10 tackles for loss and three sacks.
"I'm really proud of our defense – holding a team to three completions is really a significant accomplishment,” Quinn said. "I think also our run defense at times showed up, and that certainly was important. We put some pressure on their quarterback, and I thought overall our defense made a big-time statement late in the game when they were going down and we were able to stop them – not only stop them, but take the ball away."
The Bulls open Mid-American Conference play next Saturday against Miami (OH) at UB Stadium.
(Courtesy of Buffalo Athletics)