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Wolf Pack notebook: Butler serves up another big game vs. Buffalo

Darrell Moody
dmoody@nevadaappeal.com
Jame Butler scores a touchdown for Nevavda Saturday.
Thomas Ranson/LVN |

RENO — James Butler loves to play against the Buffalo Bulls. In fact, he owns them. Ditto for the Nevada Wolf Pack.

Butler carried 28 times for 174 yards and three scores in Nevada’s 38-14 win over Buffalo before a crowd of 20,457 Saturday night at Mackay Stadium.

The senior had scoring runs of 2, 4 and 1 yard, respectively, as the Pack ran for 352 total yards and a 5.5 average per attempt against the winless Bulls, who are 0-2 on the year and 0-3 all-time against Nevada.

Butler’s performance comes after he ran for 177 yards in last year’s 24-21 road win over Buffalo. Included in that 177-yard effort was a 91-yard run.

The soft-spoken Butler didn’t have a ton to say after the game.

“Controlling their (Buffalo’s) movement,” he said when asked why he had so much success running the ball.

Nevada coach Brian Polian said Buffalo liked to play its safeties up close to the line to negate the running game, but thanks to an outstanding effort by the offensive line, the Pack was able to dominate and open holes for Butler and Jaxson Kincaide.

“He (Jaxson) and James were awesome tonight,” Polian said.

“I give the offensive line credit. The ‘Union’ did a good job. It was a dominating performance.”

Butler praised the running of Kincaide, a true freshman. Kincaide rushed for a season-best 99 yards.

“He should have had 100, and he should have scored a touchdown,” Butler said. “He’s good, man. We found out right away he would be able to play for us.

“It’s good to have a second back. It sucks that there is only one ball.”

Kincaide had a 48-yard run in the first half which resulted in a Brent Zuzo field goal and a 10-0 lead.

Butler and Kincaide have different styles. Butler, though not really big, is more of a downhill back, a bruiser. Kincaide relies more on shiftiness.

“His (Kincaide’s) skill set is a little bit different,” quarterback Tyler Stewart said. “It’s a nice change-up.”

As per Nevada rules, freshmen aren’t allowed to talk to the media, thus Kincaide didn’t get to talk about his big game.

RICHARDSON STREAK CONTINUES: Pack receiver Jerico Richardson extended his consecutive streak to 22 games with a 19-yard catch early in the second quarter. The streak is the 16th longest in the nation.

Richardson’s streak started after he was blanked on Oct. 18, 2014 in a game against BYU. Only twice in his Nevada career, excluding his freshman season, has Richardson failed to catch a pass. Besides the BYU game, he was held without a catch against Washington State on Sept. 5, 2014.

RED ZONE SUCCESS: The Pack was 6-for-7 in red zone success through the first two games, and on Saturday went 6-for-6, including 4-for-4 in the first half.

POTPOURRI: Nevada won the toss and deferred to the second half … The students wore bright yellow shirts honoring the 50th anniversary of Mackay Stadium. The cheerleaders also wore jersey with the number 50… Nevada has won all three games of the series against Buffalo.

ABOVE AND BEYOND: Former Whittell football star Mike Crawford, according to the announcer, underwent an appendectomy Saturday morning, but still made it to the halftime ceremony.