Buffalo Bulls
2022 Buffalo Bulls football team
Buffalo Bulls logo.svg
First season1894
Athletic directorMark Alnutt
Head coachMaurice Linguist
1st season, 4–8 (.333)
StadiumUB Stadium
(capacity: 29,013)
Field surfaceA-Turf Titan
LocationAmherst, New York
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceMid-American Conference
All-time record395–535–28 (.427)
Bowl record2–3 (.400)
Conference titles1 (2008)
Division titles4 (2007, 2008, 2018, 2020)
Consensus All-Americans2
Current uniform
Buffalo bullfs football unif.png
ColorsRoyal blue and white[1]
Fight songVictory March
MascotVictor E. Bull
Marching bandThunder of the East

The Buffalo Bulls football program is the intercollegiate American football team for the University 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 25,000+ seat UB Stadium on University at Buffalo's north campus in Amherst, New York. The Bulls are coached by Maurice Linguist.[3]


See also: List of Buffalo Bulls football seasons

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.

Early history (1894–1903)

The first team fielded by the University of Buffalo, 1894
The first team fielded by the University of Buffalo, 1894

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] This likely made Pierce the first American Indian head coach in college football.[8][9] In 1900, Buffalo beat Penn State 10–0.[10] In 1901, former player James B. "Turk" Gordon coached the UB team to a 4–2 record.[11] In 1903, Ray Turnbull led the UB team to a 3–3 record.[12] After the 1903 season, UB would not again put a team on the field until 1915.[13]

The UB Bisons (1915–1930)

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.[14] UB would go through two coaches in a span of two years – 'Dim' Batterson[15] 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)

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 Peele who was at the helm from 1935 to 1942 and led the Bulls to a 38–34–1 record including a 6–2 season in 1942.

Post-World War II (1946–1954)

After World War II, UB again took to the gridiron under Peele, 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)

If the Febel season can be seen as one of the high 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 that operated the stadium – the Orlando High School Athletic Association[16] – 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.[17] Buffalo would not be invited to a bowl 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.[18] 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)

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 (1969–1970) 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)

Buffalo Bulls vs. Canisius at UB, October 1991
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 (1993–1998)

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.

Return to Division I-A (1999–2005)

Drew Willy scrambles against Bowling Green in 2005
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.

Turner Gill era (2006–2009)

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.

Jeff Quinn era (2010–2014)

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.

The team entering the field with linebacker Khalil Mack at front (left) and Victor E. Bull, the team's mascot, both pictured in 2013

The Bulls entered the 2013 season with low hopes. These were accentuated with season-opening losses to No. 4 Ohio State and No. 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.

Lance Leipold era (2015–2020)

Lance Leipold, who spent 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] In June 2017, the university received state approval for the construction of an $18 million indoor athletic training facility, slated to be built just north of UB Stadium. Buffalo would be the last school in the MAC without such a facility.[19][20]

In 2018, Leipold led the Bulls to a 10–2 regular season en route to MAC East division title.

The 2019 season saw Buffalo win their first bowl game in program history, defeating the Charlotte 49ers at the 2019 Bahamas Bowl.

The pandemic-shortened 2020 season saw star running back Jaret Patterson burst on to the national stage, including getting his name floated in Heisman Trophy talk. In his game against Kent State, he rushed for over 400 yards and tied the FBS record for touchdowns in a game with 8. Buffalo also received their first national ranking in program history in week 15, coming in at No. 24 in the AP Poll. After Buffalo finished the regular season undefeated at 5–0, their ranking increased to No. 23. The season culminated in their second consecutive bowl win in the Camellia Bowl. Leipold departed the Bulls after the season to take over the Kansas Jayhawks.

Maurice Linguist era (2021–present)

Maurice Linguist was hired away from the University of Michigan.

Conference affiliations

Buffalo has been both an independent and affiliated with conferences, including periods where no team was fielded.[21]: 86–93 [better source needed]


Conference championships

Buffalo has won one conference championship, doing so after beating Ball State in the 2008 MAC Championship Game 42–24.

Year Conference Coach Overall Record Conference Record
2008 Mid-American Conference Turner Gill 8–6 5–3

Division championships

As winners of the Mid-American Conference's East Division, Buffalo has made three appearances in the MAC Championship Game, in 2008, 2018, and 2020. 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 Opponent CG result
2007 MAC East N/A, lost tiebreaker to Miami
2008 MAC East Ball State W 42–24
2018 MAC East Northern Illinois L 29–30
2020 MAC East Ball State L 28–38

† Co-champion

Bowl games

Buffalo has participated in five bowl games, with a bowl game record of 2-3.

Season Coach Bowl Opponent Result
1958 Dick Offenhamer Tangerine Bowl Florida State Declined*
2008 Turner Gill International Bowl Connecticut L 20–38
2013 Jeff Quinn Famous Idaho Potato Bowl San Diego State L 24–49
2018 Lance Leipold Dollar General Bowl Troy L 32–42
2019 Lance Leipold Bahamas Bowl Charlotte W 31–9
2020 Lance Leipold Camellia Bowl Marshall W 17–10

The 1958 Buffalo team declined the Tangerine Bowl invitation due to Florida's segregation laws at the time which would not have allowed Buffalo's two black players to participate.

Head coaches

Buffalo has been led by the following head coaches.[21]: 94 

Coach Tenure Record Pct.
No coach 1894–1895
Fred D. Townsend 1896 9-1-2 .833
C. W. Dibble 1897 9–1 .900
Louis Hinkey 1898 8–1 .889
Bemus Pierce 1899 7–1 .875
No coach 1900
James B. "Turk" Gordon 1901 4–2 .667
No coach 1902
Ray Turnbull 1903 3–3 .500
No team 1904–1914
Frank Mount Pleasant 1915 3–3 .500
Art Powell 1916–1921 13–22–5 .388
Dim Batterson 1922 1–5 .167
James Bond 1923 2–5–1 .313
Russell Carrick 1924–1928 5–30–2 .162
Jay L. Lee 1929–1930 8–7 .533
William Pritchard 1931 2–6 .250
James B. Wilson 1932–1933,
12–15–3 .450
George Van Bibber 1934–1935 4–10–1 .300
Jim Peele 1936–1942,
38–34–1 .527
No team 1943–1945
Frank Clair 1948–1949 12–4–1 .735
Fritz Febel 1952–1954 4–19–1 .188
Dick Offenhamer 1955–1965 58–37–5 .605
Doc Urich 1966–1968 18–12 .600
Bob Deming 1969–1970 8–12 .400
No team 1971–1976
Bill Dando 1977–1989 59–64–1 .480
Sam Sanders 1990–1991 5–15–0 .250
Jim Ward 1992–1994 8–24 .250
Craig Cirbus 1995–2000 19–47 .288
Jim Hofher 2001–2005 8–49 .140
Turner Gill 2006–2009 20–30 .400
Jeff Quinn 2010–2014 20–36 .357
Alex Wood 2014 2–2 .500
Lance Leipold 2015–2020 37–33 .529
Maurice Linguist 2021–present 4–8 .333

† Interim

Notable players

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NFL/AFL drafted players

Name Year Round Team
Les Molnar 1952 18 New York Yanks
Frank Woidzik 1958 4 Los Angeles Rams
Lou Reale 1959 25 New York Giants
Willie Evans 1960 - Buffalo Bills
Gerry Philbin 1964 3 New York Jets
Ed Ellis 1997 4 New England Patriots
Drew Haddad 2000 7 Buffalo Bills
Trevor Scott 2008 6 Oakland Raiders
Jamey Richard 2008 7 Indianapolis Colts
James Starks 2010 6 Green Bay Packers
Josh Thomas 2011 5 Dallas Cowboys
Steven Means 2013 5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Khalil Mack 2014 1 Oakland Raiders
Kristjan Sokoli 2015 6 Seattle Seahawks
Mason Schreck 2017 7 Cincinnati Bengals
K. J. Osborn 2020 5 Minnesota Vikings
Malcolm Koonce 2021 3 Las Vegas Raiders

Undrafted NFL players

Name Position Years played
Jim Ailinger OL 1924
John Stofa QB 1966–1970
Ramon Guzman LB 2007
Drew Willy QB 2009
Mike Newton S 2010–2012
Naaman Roosevelt WR 2010–2013
Branden Oliver RB 2014–2018
Jake Schum P 2015–2016
Joe Licata QB 2016
Matt Weiser TE 2016
John Kling T 2016
Jordan Johnson RB 2017
Roubbens Joseph T 2017
Demone Harris DE 2018–present
Tyree Jackson QB 2019
Anthony Johnson WR 2019–present
Chuck Harris DE 2019–present
Cam Lewis CB 2019–present
James O'Hagan C 2019
Evin Ksiezarczyk OL 2020–present
Ledarius Mack DE 2020–present
Jaret Patterson RB 2021–present

Other notable players


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. MAC teams

See also: Buffalo Bulls football records

Results through the 2019–20 college football season.[23]

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 19 8 11 .421 450 466 1999 2019 W 2 2019, 21-0
Ball State 11 2 9 .182 224 316 2000 2017 W 1 2017, 40-24
Bowling Green 18 7 11 .388 472 492 2000 2020 W 4 2020, 42-17
Central Michigan 10 3 7 .300 234 277 1999 2019 W 2 2019, 43-20
Eastern Michigan 9 3 6 .333 249 243 2001 2019 W 2 2019, 43-14
Kent State 26 14 12 .538 465 452 1999 2020 W 1 2020, 70-41
Miami (OH) 22 8 14 .363 499 670 1999 2020 W 1 2020, 42-10
Northern Illinois 12 1 11 .083 228 469 1999 2020 W 1 2020, 49-30
Ohio 21 8 13 .381 491 601 1999 2019 L 2 2018, 31-24
Toledo 7 3 4 .429 187 250 2003 2019 W 2 2019, 49-30
Western Michigan 9 2 7 .222 244 308 1999 2018 L 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
UMass (2012-2015) 4 3 1 .750 128 74 2012 2015 L 1 2014, 41-21

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of January 17, 2020.[24]

2022 2023 2024 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
at Maryland at Wisconsin at Missouri at Minnesota at Army Army UMass UConn
Holy Cross Fordham UMass at UMass UMass at UMass at UConn
at Coastal Carolina Liberty at UConn UConn
at UMass at Old Dominion


  1. ^ "University at Buffalo Color Palette". Retrieved June 28, 2016.
  2. ^ "Buffalo Historical Data". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on 2014-02-22. Retrieved 2014-02-11.
  3. ^ a b Buffalo hires Wisconsin-Whitewater's Lance Leipold as new head coach. Sports Illustrated (November 28, 2014). Retrieved November 30, 2014.
  4. ^ "UB Football 101". 27 May 2010.
  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. ^ "Coach Pierce", Buffalo Commercial, Buffalo, NY, p. 6, October 18, 1899
  9. ^ Benjey, Tom (Fall 2012), "Guiding the White Brethren: The Remarkable Record of Carlisle's Alumni Coaches", National Museum of the American Indian, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, pp. 44–49
  10. ^ "1900 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – January 30, 2013.
  11. ^ "1901 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – October 26, 2012.
  12. ^ "1903 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – February 11, 2013.
  13. ^ "1904 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – May 16, 2013.
  14. ^ "1920 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – March 22, 2013.
  15. ^ "1922 Buffalo Football", University at Buffalo Sports History Collection – September 7, 2013.
  16. ^ "Race Bias Makes Lemon Of Tangerine Bowl Bid". New York Age. New York City. December 6, 1958. Retrieved March 3, 2017 – via newspapers.com.
  17. ^ Eric Neel, "All or Nothing", ESPN.com, retrieved November 20, 2008.
  18. ^ "Meet "Buddy" Ryan New Defense Coach", University of Buffalo Spectrum Newspaper – October 6, 1961.
  19. ^ Miner, Dan (June 22, 2017). "University at Buffalo gets green light on $18M fieldhouse; will issue construction bids in next few days". Buffalo Business First. American City Business Journals. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  20. ^ Gaughan, Mark (June 23, 2017). "UB about to make $18 million football field house a reality". The Buffalo News. Archived from the original on June 24, 2017. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  21. ^ a b "2018 Media Guide" (PDF). ubbulls.com. Buffalo Bulls Athletics. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  22. ^ Wesseling, Chris (February 4, 2017). "Khalil Mack wins NFL Defensive Player of the Year". NFL.com.
  23. ^ "Buffalo Records by Team". cfbinfo.com. Retrieved 2018-11-30.
  24. ^ "Buffalo Bulls Football Future Schedules". FBSchedules.com. Retrieved January 17, 2020.