The University at Buffalo offense was slowed down by weather early in Saturday’s season-opening game against Duquesne.
UB was leading, 7-0, and marching toward a second score at the Duquesne 32-yard line when a lightning strike near UB Stadium was detected and both teams were called off the field.
The delay came with 8:30 left in the first quarter. The crowd also was cleared from the stands, and just as the fans were filing out the skies opened and driving rain began.
Lightning strikes prompt a mandatory 30-minute delay in action. The game wound up being halted for 44 minutes. By the time the teams came back onto the field a crowd of perhaps 8,000 returned.
The game resumed at 4:40 p.m. under sunny skies. It took UB just two more plays to get into the end zone and take a 14-0 lead. Weather was not a factor the rest of the game.
UB’s offensive line asserted itself with the game on the line.
The Bulls gained 63 of their 174 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, after falling behind 28-24.
“Our run game, we leaned very heavily on our offensive line to move the chains and take the clock down and be able to put some points on the board,” coach Jeff Quinn said.
“Our offensive line dominated, like they did I think all day,” said quarterback Joe Licata of the fourth-quarter showing. “And we were able to power the ball down the field.”
Starting running back Anthone Taylor played well, rushing for 117 yards. But he lost the handle on the ball on a fourth-quarter run play. Licata recovered, and the officials ruled Taylor was down. But that prompted Quinn to run Jordan Johnson five times on the game-clinching drive.
UB junior cornerback Marqus Baker, who is a starter, sat out the game due to illness. That pushed senior Dwellie Striggles onto the first unit, and he had his struggles. He got beat on a go route down the right sideline by Duquesne’s Chris King for an 88-yard TD.
“On my part I just didn’t execute my technique the way I needed to,” Striggles said. “The receiver ran a good route. He got a good release, and he wound up stacking me. It was pretty tough for me to make the play.”
On its final TD drive, protecting a 31-28 lead, UB converted a fourth-and-1 play from the Duquesne 47 with about 5 minutes to go. Licata gained 1 yard on a keeper.
“Andre Davis is a very powerful kid and was controlling the line of scrimmage all night,” Licata said of UB’s left guard. “Andre and myself wanted to run the QB sneak. … I was just following Andre and Trevor Sales at center.”
Quinn on blowing a 21-0 lead: “We didn’t overlook these guys. Our players weren’t in that mindset. They were energized. They understood the plan. But we’ve got to get better. This football team understands that.”
Redshirt freshman Brandon Manosalvas got the start at right guard ahead of junior Robert Blodgett. Manosalvas is a 6-4, 308-pounder from Paramus, N.J.
Second-stringers on the front seven who saw noteworthy playing time in the first half included senior defensive end Kendall Roberson, linebackers Travis Pitzonka and Nick Gilbo, and defensive end Max Perisse. The heat prompted both teams to substitute on the defensive front early on.
Temperature at kickoff was 87 degrees, making it the warmest game ever at UB Stadium. The previous high was 82.