There was a lot of hype entering Saturday for fans of UB Bulls athletics.
The Bulls football program was about to play in only their second bowl game in program history while the men’s basketball team hit the road to Brooklyn to take on Manhattan College at the Barclays Center.
In what many Buffalo fans were hoping to be a banner day for UB athletics, it turned out to be a stinker.
The men’s basketball team started off the horrible day, losing in overtime after giving up a seven point lead with 45 seconds remaining in regulation.
Up three with five seconds left in the second half, Jarryn Skeete fouled Shane Richards from behind the arc, giving the Jaspers three free throws to force overtime.
Then in overtime down three, Shannon Evans missed what would’ve been a game tying three with one-second left to see Buffalo fall to a MAAC team for the third time this season.
Things only got worse for UB fans following the men's basketball team's loss.
Why you may ask?
Simple answer: the Bulls football team took the field.
I’m not a negative person and I’ve loved the ride that the UB football program has given everyone this year but Saturday evening was a colossal disappointment.
San Diego State is a good team, not a great team.
But you wouldn’t have known that by watching Buffalo line up against them in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
UB looked like a team totally outmatched, unprepared, and content with where they were as they were dismantled by San Diego State 49-24.
My key for victory before the game was how the Bulls would play in the trenches and they struggled mightily once again versus a solid team.
Led my Adam Muema’s 229 rushing yards and three touchdowns, the Aztecs dominated in the trenches.
The Bulls defense had no answers for San Diego State and the UB offense wasn’t much better.
Joe Licata has had a great season for Buffalo and might develop into the best QB the Bulls have ever had but Saturday was not his day.
Looking past his three touchdowns, two of which came in garbage time, he did not have it going against the Aztecs.
It’s apparent that he needs improvement with his arm strength as his passes continually floated all evening as Licata finished 13 of 30 for 196 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception.
One person who didn’t struggle for UB was Branden Oliver who surpassed 4,000 career-rushing yards with his 114-yard day, including a touchdown reception in the 2nd quarter.
Overall, Saturday was disappointing for Bulls fans. It was a day to celebrate the tremendous season that UB has had but it instead became a tremendous downer.
The Bulls basketball team showed once again that they need to learn how to close out games while the UB football team showed that they still need to learn how to compete against better competition.
For anyone affiliated with UB athletics, it was a stinker of a day. So much progress has been made with both teams but Saturday showed that much more work needs to be done.
It’s not much of a surprise but it put things in perspective.
It’s just a shame because this year was so exciting but it once again ends in disappointment.
And UB basketball better watch out or they’ll fall into the same trap. A season that has much promise is looking bleaker and bleaker with each disappointing loss.
It’s time for UB athletics to turn to tide. But in order to do so, they have to stop getting in the way of themselves.