99 for 99 takes a look at the 99 biggest moments in UB Football history in anticipation of the 99th Season of UB Football which begins on September 1st, 2012. These moments are not in any order, however the top 10 moments have been saved for last.
September 4, 1993 - Buffalo 27, Maine 30 - Maine Spoils First Game at UB Stadium,
UB Stadium opened in 1993 and hosted the World University Games over the Summer. The excitement of the games spilled over to football season. Buffalo had a new larger stadium and they were back in Division-1 for the first time since UB reinstated football in the late 70's. After averaging 3200 fans at the Old UB Stadium, 14,000 fans awaited the Bulls at the new stadium.
Maine was an establish D1-AA team, but their coach, (current Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz) left for the NFL (he coached on Bill Bellichek's Browns, a staff that included current Alabama coach Nick Saban)
The Bears showed their skill and experience, capitalizing on a UB fumble to take a 6-0 lead. Quarterback Cliff Scott responded by throwing a 64 yard pass to Doc Smith. Scott then made UB history* scoring UB's first points at UB Stadium, with a 1-yard touchdown run.
After another Buffalo turnover, this time an interception, Maine scored to take a 14-7 lead. Just before the half, UB drove down the field, and Scott scrambled into the end zone to tie the game at 14.
Both teams scored twice, UB with two field goals to get to 20 points, Maine with a TD and a field goal for the 4 point lead. With time running out late in the fourth quarter, Scott engineered another long drive, an for the third time scampered into the endzone, giving UB a 27-24 lead with 50 seconds to go that set the crowd ablaze in celebration.
The celebration would not last long. Maine took the ensuing kickoff down to the UB 21 yard line. 2 plays later, they scored the go ahead touchdown, ruining opening day with a 30-27 victory over the home team.
"One of the things that happened is when we scored, we had UB opener kids jumping up and down and I told them it's not over," Ward said. "That's a mistake of mind. Young kids have to grow and mature and learn it's not over until that referee says it's over."
If any good came out of this heartbreaking moment, it would come 3 years later, when those young guys would be the leaders of the team. Up 4 against Maine in the season finale in 1996, Buffalo allowed another deep kick return, but this time, the defense held strong and maintained the victory.
*The UB record book says Scott attempted a UB record 58 passes on this day, but two different sources say Scott threw 19 completions on 31 attempts.