The final game of 1997 was the Bulls biggest test, undefeated D-1AA #1 Villanova lead by future NFL running back Brian Westbrook. Buffalo who disappointed with only 2 wins after the 8 win '96 season, showed a glimpse of the talent they displayed in 1996.
Anthony Swan scored twice and the game was tied at 21 at the half. Swan ran for 91 yards on the day and surpassed Alan Bell's career rushing yards record, finishing his career with 3,103 yards (now second all-time behind James Starks). The second touchdown left Swan in a tie for most rushing touchdowns in career history with Lee Jones (also now second behind James Starks).
In the second half, Villanova scored 21 points on 3 Curtis Sifford touchdowns. Sifford did the heavy lifting with 20 carries, 114 yards and 4 touchdowns. Westbrook, provided the change of pace, gaining 84 yards on only 9 carries. Buffalo QB Salisbury completed 21 passes for 310 yards: 8 to Jamie Gasparre for 121 yards, 6 to Drew Haddad for 104 yards.
Gasparre finished his career fifth in career receiving yards (now 10th), although he failed to score in the final so he remained tied for first place in career receiving touchdowns with Chris D'Amico (now 2nd behind Naaman Roosevelt). The game was Gasparre's eighth career 100-yard receiving game, which stands as 4th in UB history today.
The final Buffalo touchdown of 1997 was a 48-yard strike from Salisbury to Haddad. While only his third touchdown of the year, 1997 was a real breakout season for Drew Haddad. The freshman who in '96 showed promise as the #3 receiver, built on that promise in 1997 and became UB's most dangerous wideout. Haddad led the bulls with 67 receptions for 1,058 yards, both UB records at the time. Hadadd broke Chaz Ahmed's receptions record set in 1990. Haddad became UB's first ever thousand-yard receiver, and in doing so, he broke Doc Smith's 1992 record for receiving yards in a season. Haddad's 67 receptions stand as 4th all time today, and his 1,058 yards stand as third all time today.
Out of the three record breakers, only Haddad would return in 1998, and the 1997 season proved to be just the start of his assault on the UB record books.