Buffalo Bulls football

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For information on all University at Buffalo sports, see Buffalo Bulls.
Buffalo Bulls
2016 Buffalo Bulls football team
University at Buffalo Interlocking UB logo.svg
First season 1894 (1894)
Athletic director Allen Greene
Head coach Lance Leipold
2nd year, 6–13 (.316)
Other staff Andy Kotelnicki, Brian Borland, Rob Ianello
Stadium UB Stadium
Seating capacity 31,000+
Field surface Momentum Turf
Location Amherst, New York
NCAA division Division I FBS
Conference Mid-American Conference
Division East
All-time record 370–492–28 (.431)
Bowl record 0–2 (.000)
Conference titles 1 (2008)
Division titles 2 (2007, 2008)
Current uniform
Colors Royal Blue and White[1]
Fight song Victory March
Mascot Victor E. Bull
Marching band Thunder of the East
Website BuffaloBulls.com
Victor E. Bull, Buffalo Bulls Mascot, November 5, 2013

The Buffalo Bulls football program is the intercollegiate American football team for the State University of New York at Buffalo located in the U.S. state of New York. The team competes at the NCAA Division I level in the Football Bowl Subdivision and is a member of the Mid-American Conference. Buffalo's first football team was fielded in 1894.[2] The team plays its home games at the 31,000+ seat UB Stadium on University at Buffalo's north campus in Amherst, New York. The Bulls are coached by Lance Leipold.[3]


UB's first run with football started in 1894 and lasted until 1970, when the football program was suspended due to the student body's vote to stop funding the program. The football program was reintroduced in 1977. When reintroduced, the team played in Division III level football until 1992. In 1993, the school made the jump to Division I-AA. In 1999, the Bulls moved up again to Division I-A Bowl Subdivision level football.

The early years: 1894–1903[edit]

In 1894, UB established an athletics association and fourteen UB Medical students formed the first UB football team.[4] By 1896, they were a local force in Western New York football playing collegiate and club teams and finishing the season with an impressive 9–1–2 record.[5] In 1897, C. W. Dibble coached UB to a perfect 7–0–0 record beating Syracuse twice.[6] In 1899, Bemus Pierce coached UB to a 6–0 record.[7] In 1900, Buffalo beat Penn State 10–0.[8] In 1901, former player James B. "Turk" Gordon coached the UB team to a 4–2 record.[9] In 1903, Ray Turnbull led the UB team to a 3–3 record.[10] After the 1903 season, UB would not again put a team on the field until 1915.[11]

The UB Bisons: 1915–1930[edit]

In 1915, UB re-established the football program and officially instituted men's basketball. Both teams were named the 'Bisons' and used as their logo a caricature of a male American bison, often outfitted in a UB jersey. Frank Mount Pleasant was called on to coach the football team but was replaced the following season after a 3–4 record. Art Powell would take over in 1916 and coach the team for six seasons (13–22–5). In 1920, UB would start playing on what would eventually be called Rotary Field.[12] UB would go through two coaches in a span of two years – 'Dim' Batterson[13] in 1922 and James Bond in 1923 – before Russ Carrick would take over, serving five seasons despite winning only five games (while losing 30 and garnering two ties). The team would last be known as the Bisons under the command of Jay "Biffy" Lee, who coached for two seasons (until 1930), leading UB to an 8–7 record.

Welcome the Bulls: 1930–1942[edit]

In 1931, the University changed its mascot to the Bulls in order to distinguish UB from professional teams in the Queen City. The Bulls played every year until the outbreak of World War II mainly under the coaching guidance of Jim Peelle who was at the helm from 19351942 and would lead the Bulls to a 38–34–1 record including a 6–2 season in 1942.

Post-World War II: 1946–1954[edit]

After World War II, UB again took to the grid-iron under Jim Peelle, who led UB in two impressive seasons of 7–2 (1946) and 8–1 (1947), but were not selected to a bowl in either season. The program was next taken over by Frank Clair, who coached for two seasons, leaving with an impressive mark of 12–4–1. The following season represented one of the low points for UB when, under the guidance of coach Fritz Febel, UB won only four games in three years with an overall record of 4–19–1.

Offenhamer era: 1955–1965[edit]

If the Febel season can be seen as one of the low points in UB football history, then Dick Offenhamer brought in UB's most successful era when from 1955 to 1965, he would coach UB to an impressive 58–37–5 record. In 1958, the football team won the Lambert Cup, emblematic of supremacy in Eastern U.S. small-college football. That led to the team's first bowl invitation, to the Tangerine Bowl in Orlando, Florida against Florida State University. However, the Orlando Elks Lodge, the bowl's sponsor, told the Bulls that they would be allowed to participate only if back-up defensive end Mike Wilson and starting halfback Willie Evans, who were black, did not play. Despite protests from the Elks Lodge,the local high school association, which operated the stadium, refused to rescind its rule against integrated events. The team stood behind the two, and unanimously refused the bowl offer. The team was profiled on ESPN's Outside the Lines in 2008.[14] Buffalo would not be invited to or be bowl-eligible for another 50 years.

Several UB football stars from the Offenhamer years went on to have careers in professional football, including quarterback John Stofa with the American Football League's Miami Dolphins and Cincinnati Bengals, and defensive lineman Gerry Philbin with the AFL's New York Jets, and Buddy Ryan who was on Offenhamer staff as the defensive line coach.[15] Philbin is a member of the AFL Hall of Fame and the All-time All-AFL Team. Philbin and UB's Willie Ross were the first two UB graduates to play on professional football championship teams: Ross with the 1964 AFL Champion Buffalo Bills; and Philbin with the 1968 AFL Champion New York Jets, who went on to win Super Bowl III. They have been followed by Ramon Guzman who played on two Grey Cup Championship teams with the Montreal Alouettes and James Starks with the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers.

Out with a whimper: 1965–1970[edit]

Following the departure of Offenhamer in 1965, UB lasted only five more years before suspending football in 1970. There was some success under coach Doc Urich, who led UB to an 18–12 record over three years, but declining performance under his successor, Bob Deming (19691970) and financial issues caused UB to suspend its football program. The main reason that football was dropped was that the student body voted to stop funding the team. At the time athletics at UB were fully funded by student fees. It would be seven years until UB would again take the field.

Division III football: 1977–1992[edit]

Buffalo Bulls vs. Canisius at UB, October 1991

In 1977 UB began playing football at the NCAA Division III level under Coach Bill Dando, who would be the Bulls' longest serving coach, lasting thirteen years. UB had moderate success during his tenure, and he retired after the 1989 season. Sam Sanders would take over, but lasted only two seasons. His coaching career ended because of medical issues and Jim Ward was promoted because of a New York State hiring freeze and ushered in UB's return to Division I football. In 1986 the Bulls upset Villanova for their biggest win of the season. Douglas Engel was named Freshman Defensive player of the year (1986–87)

Division I-AA (FCS): 1993–1998[edit]

UB's return to Division I football started in Division I-AA (known today as the Football Championship Subdivision). UB would have only one winning season during their time in I-AA. Under Coach Craig Cirbus, UB would go 8–3 in 1996. This would be UB's last season at or above .500 for a dozen years.

1999–2005: return to Division I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision)[edit]

Drew Willy scrambles against Bowling Green in 2005.

In 1999 UB joined the Mid-American Conference in Division I-A (Football Bowl Subdivision) football. They retained their head coach from their I-AA seasons, Craig Cirbus. After a few years of dismal results, the team hired Jim Hofher, a former head coach at Division I-AA Cornell University to be the head coach. However, Hofher's teams were marked by poor discipline and lack of effort, and won only eight games during his five seasons at UB. Buffalo won only 10 games and lost 69 during this seven-year period, the second-worst record in the Football Bowl Subdivision during that time. A 2002 win on the road over Rutgers was their only win against a BCS team until 2013.

2006–2009: Turner Gill era[edit]

In early December 2005, Hofher was replaced by Green Bay Packers assistant coach and former Heisman Trophy candidate Turner Gill. The former University of Nebraska quarterback led the program in a remarkable turnaround, helping the team to a 5–7 (5–3 MAC East divisional co-champions) in 2007, their best season since the school joined the MAC.

On November 21, 2008, the Buffalo Bulls won their first outright MAC Eastern Division Championship, sealing the win with a thrilling 2-OT victory over Bowling Green, 40–34. Down 27–7 at the beginning of the 4th quarter, the Bulls stormed back to tie the game at 27 and force it into overtime. In the second OT, running back James Starks ran 25 yards on the first play for a touchdown and a Bulls win. The quarterback coach for Bowling Green that day was former UB head coach Jim Hofher.

Following a loss to Kent State that broke a five-game winning streak for Buffalo, the Bulls entered the conference title game at 7–5, while MAC West champion Ball State was an unblemished 12–0. However, on December 5, at Ford Field in Detroit, Buffalo's defense returned two fumbles for touchdowns and the Bulls defeated the Cardinals, 42–24, to become Mid-American Conference champions for 2008. Their successful season earned the Bulls an invitation to the International Bowl in Toronto, Ontario to face Connecticut. The Bulls went on to lose that game to UConn by a score of 38–20.

2009 would not be as successful as Starks was lost before the season even started to a shoulder injury. The offense also struggled without four-year starting quarterback Drew Willy as new quarterback Zach Maynard had an up-and-down season as UB finished 5–7. After the season, Gill left to become head coach of Kansas.

2010–14: Jeff Quinn era[edit]

On December 20, 2009, it was first reported that Jeff Quinn would be the new head coach. He took over after coaching Cincinnati in the 2010 Sugar Bowl. In Quinn's first season as coach, he was unable to build upon Gill's success as UB finished the season 2–10. Over the subsequent two seasons he amassed a record of 7–17.

Linebacker Khalil Mack from the University at Buffalo

The Bulls entered the 2013 season with low hopes. These were accentuated with season-opening losses to #4 Ohio State and #23 Baylor, 20–40 and 13–70, as they started the season 0–2. However, after a quintuple overtime 26–23 victory against Stony Brook in week 3, the team surged to 7 straight wins, including a 41–12 victory over Connecticut at UB Stadium on September 28, their first win against a BCS opponent since 2002, and clenched bowl eligibility for just the third time in team history with a 41–21 victory at Kent State on October 26. The 7 game winning streak was the longest winning streak in Bulls team history, and ended with a 41–51 loss at the Glass Dome to Toledo on November 12. The team finished the regular season 8–4, and finished in second place in the conference. The team ultimately went on to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against San Diego State, losing the game 24–49. The team finished with an overall record of 8–5. This 2013 team featured Khalil Mack who went 5th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft to the Oakland Raiders, making him the highest player in Buffalo history to ever be drafted, as well as the highest defensive player in the Mid-American Conference to ever be drafted. This team also featured the undrafted Branden Oliver, who broke James Starks's rushing record of most rushing yards in school history. Oliver signed with the San Diego Chargers and was thrust into the starting lineup during the 2014 NFL season after early season injuries to Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown.

Quinn was dismissed partway through the 2014 season after accumulating a 3–4 record.

2015–future: Lance Leipold era[edit]

Lance Leipold, who spent the past eight seasons as the head coach of the Division III University of Wisconsin at Whitewater (where he won six championships), was hired as the Bulls' next head coach shortly after the 2014 season.[3]

Notable players[edit]

Played in the NFL[edit]

Buffalo Bulls in the NFL
NFL Draft selections
Total selected: 13
First picks in draft: 0
1st Round: 1
NFL achievements
Hall of Famers: 0
Pro Bowlers 2
Name Position Current Team
Mack, KhalilKhalil Mack Linebacker, defensive end Raiders
Means, StevenSteven Means Defensive end Eagles
Oliver, BrandenBranden Oliver Running back Chargers
Schum, JakeJake Schum Punter Buccaneers
Starks, JamesJames Starks Running back Packers
Thomas, JoshJosh Thomas Cornerback Cowboys
Sokoli, KristjanKristjan Sokoli Offensive Line Seahawks
Naaman Roosevelt Wide receiver Buffalo Bills

Drafted players[edit]

Name Year Round Team
Les Molnar 1952 18 Yankees
Frank Woidzik 1958 4 Rams
Lou Reale 1959 25 Giants
Gerry Philbin 1964 3 Jets
Ed Ellis 1997 4 Patriots
Drew Haddad 2000 7 Bills
Trevor Scott 2008 6 Raiders
Jamey Richard 2008 7 Colts
James Starks 2010 6 Packers
Josh Thomas 2011 5 Cowboys
Steven Means 2013 5 Buccaneers
Khalil Mack 2014 1 Raiders
Kristjan Sokoli 2015 6 Seahawks
All-time Draft Picks 13

Other notable players[edit]

Year-by-year results[edit]

Against nationally ranked opponents[edit]

Team Date Ranking Outcome
Baylor 10/13/14 8 L 63–21
Ohio State 08/31/13 2 L 40–20
Georgia 10/01/12 6 L 45–23
Ball State 12/5/08 12 W 42–24
Missouri 09/20/08 5 L 42–21
Penn State 09/15/07 12 L 45–24
Rutgers 08/30/07 16 L 38–3
Wisconsin 11/18/06 10 L 35–3
Boston College 10/28/06 17 L 41–0
Auburn 09/23/06 3 L 38–7
Iowa 10/06/03 23 L 56–7
Marshall 10/23/99 15 L 59–3
All-time 1–11
GREY indicates games won versus nationally ranked opponents.


Conference championships[edit]

Buffalo has won one Mid-American Conference championship.

Year Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record Conference Championship Game
2008 Mid-American Conference Turner Gill 8–6 5–3 2008 MAC Championship Game
Total conference championships 1

Divisional championships[edit]

As winners of the Mid-American Conference's East Division, Buffalo has made one appearance in the MAC Championship Game, in 2008. The Bulls also shared the Division title with Miami in 2007, but the tie-breaker allowed the RedHawks to represent the division in the championship game.

Year Division Championship CG Result Opponent PF PA
2007 MAC East (Co-Championship) NA Did Not Play (lost tiebreaker to Miami) X X
2008 MAC East W Ball State 42 24
Totals 2 1–0 42 24

Bowl game appearances[edit]

Season Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA Coach Notes
2008 January 3, 2009 International Bowl L Connecticut 20 38 Turner Gill notes
2013 December 21, 2013 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl L San Diego State 24 49 Jeff Quinn notes
Total 2 bowl games 0–2 44 87


WWKB acquired the broadcast rights to Bulls games for the 2014 season. Former WIVB-TV sports anchor Paul Peck on play-by-play and former Navy quarterback Jim Kubiak on color commentary are expected to return. The Bulls previously aired their games on WHLD (2013), WECK (2008–12) and WGR.

A separate feed is available from the student Part 15 radio station, WRUB.

As a member of the Mid-American Conference, ESPN Inc. holds television rights to UB Bulls games. They are typically only broadcast online via ESPN3, with local radio personality Sal Capaccio on play-by-play, with some games sub-leased to American Sports Network's Buffalo affiliate, WNYO-TV.

All-time vs Current MAC teams[edit]

Statistics correct as of the end of the 2013–14 college football season

This table includes all MAC games from 1999, the year the Bulls joined the Mid-American Conference.

Opponent Games Win Loss Pct. PF PA First Meeting Last Meeting Streak Most recent win
Akron 13 4 9 .308 268 353 1999 2011 W 1 2011, 51–10
Ball State 7 1 6 .000 123 237 2000 2011 L 2 2008, 42–24
Bowling Green 11 3 8 .273 223 335 2000 2012 L 3 2010, 28–26
Central Michigan 6 1 5 .167 129 162 1999 2009 L 3 2004, 36–6
Eastern Michigan 6 1 5 .167 144 164 2001 2013 W 1 2013, 42–14
Kent State 13 6 7 .462 255 293 1999 2013 W 1 2013, 41–21
Miami University 15 4 11 .267 284 474 1999 2013 W 2 2013, 44–7
Northern Illinois 7 0 7 .000 100 310 1999 2012 L 7 -
Ohio 15 6 9 .400 358 416 1999 2013 W 1 2013, 30–3
Toledo 5 1 4 .200 107 203 2003 2013 L 2 2007, 43–33
UMass 2 2 0 1.000 61 22 2012 2013 W 2 2013, 32–3
Western Michigan 7 2 5 .286 176 199 1999 2013 W 2 2013, 33–0
Central Florida (2002–2004) 3 1 2 .333 79 84 2002 2004 W 1 2004, 48–20
Marshall (1999–2004) 6 0 6 .000 82 280 1999 2004 L 6 -
Temple (2007–2011) 5 2 3 .400 85 148 2007 2011 L 3 2008, 30–28
Totals 121 34 87 .281 2393 3704


Future non-conference opponents[edit]

Announced schedules as of September 4, 2015

2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
vs Albany at Minnesota vs Delaware State vs Robert Morris at Kansas State at Nebraska
at Nevada at Army at Temple at Penn State vs Old Dominion
vs Army vs Colgate at Rutgers at Old Dominion at Army
at Boston College vs Florida Atlantic vs Army vs Temple



  1. ^ "Color Palette". University at Buffalo. Retrieved 2016-06-28. 
  2. ^ a b "Buffalo Historical Data". College Football Data Warehouse. Retrieved 2014-02-11.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "record" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  3. ^ a b Buffalo hires Wisconsin-Whitewater's Lance Leipold as new head coach. Sports Illustrated (November 28, 2014). Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  4. ^ http://www.ubbullrun.com/2010/05/ub-football-101.html
  5. ^ "1896 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – October 31, 2012.
  6. ^ "1897 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – February 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "1899 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – February 25, 2013.
  8. ^ "1900 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – January 30, 2013.
  9. ^ "1901 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – October 26, 2012.
  10. ^ "1903 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – February 11, 2013.
  11. ^ "1904 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – May 16, 2013.
  12. ^ "1920 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – March 22, 2013.
  13. ^ "1922 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – September 7, 2013.
  14. ^ Eric Neel, "All or Nothing", ESPN.com, retrieved November 20, 2008.
  15. ^ "Meet "Buddy" Ryan New Defense Coach", University of Buffalo Spectrum Newspaper – October 6, 1961.
  16. ^ "Buffalo Bulls Football Schedules and Future Schedules". fbschedules.com. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 

External links[edit]