The 1902 season was a hangover from the end of UB's 1901 campaign. UB lost their last two games of 1901 and Buffalo started 1902 by getting shutout in their first four games of the season. It did not get a whole lot better from there.
After the 1901 season the core players that had made Buffalo one of the finest in the area all left the university. On the line and in the back field UB was decimated by graduation. UB was force to find someone to step in for Al Unbehaun on the line. Unbehaun at center was a huge part of UB's success over the previous two seasons.
In the backfield Buffalo had to replace Luther Lakin and Charles Hasse. Hasse, who had been the teams captain for two seasons left a gaping hole at halfback. Charles Augustus Espie was tabbed to replace Hasse but in the early weeks of the season UB's new line and backfield meant a total lack of offense.
After a tuneup against Masten Park Buffalo went on to a 2-4-1 record against college teams.
Their first match against Bucknell was no contest. The Bison rolled UB 29-0 and Buffalo's worst season since the programs founding in 1894 was under way. Without their veteran lineman teams with massive front lines such as Bucknell and Western Reserve overwhelmed UB on both sides of the Ball.
But even though the Buffalo defense was solid when paired up with similar sized teams their offense still struggled.
No game more demonstrated Buffalo's offensive struggle than their loss to Columbia. The lions roared through their first two games against Rutgers and Fordham by an average score of 44-0. When final whistle blew against UB Columbia escaped with a narrow 5-0 victory. But more frustrating than the loss were the multiple opportunities for Buffalo to have walked away with a win.
Two times Buffalo pressed inside of the Columbia Ten yard line but were stopped each time from punching the ball across for a score. The Buffalo defense held through the first half, and James Fish nearly won the game for Buffalo when he scooped up a fumble and returned it 60 yards deep into Columbia territory.
In a scrimmage in the second half the ball rolled from the struggling heap of players and was picked up by Fish of Buffalo, who made a bee line for Columbia's goal line. His field was clear and five Columbia men were after him. Stanaland and Smith were disposed of by the up-State interference, but Weekee was forgotten. 'He was ten yards behind Fish, but following him and gaining on him at every stride. For sixty yards the roe continued, and then the Columbia captain flung himself forward headlong and got his man around the waist. The momentum of the tackle was so great that both men slid fifteen feet in the mud. The play saved the day for Columbia. -- New York Sun 10/12/1902
Following Buffalo's loss to Columbia UB returned home to play Hobart. A combination of wet soggy conditions and UB's defense held Hobart scoreless. On the other side of the buffalo was shut out for the third straight week and the game ended with a 0-0 tie.
Buffalo fans would have to suffer through one more scoreless game, a 22-0 drubbing at the hands of case western, before UB would finally find the endzone.
It was against Rochester that Buffalo got their first points, and their first win, of the 1902 collegiate schedule. And UB hoped to spring board off of that win into a late season run, until they met Alfred.
Alfred had quietly put together a solid football team and took advantage of yet another UB redzone failure to defeat Buffalo. Early in the first half, while the game was scoreless, Buffalo drove down to the six inch line before Alfred stood UB up and denied them the score. Alfred needed just three minutes to take the ball the other way, the length of the field, for a score.
It did not help Buffalo's case that they were missing Ray Turnbull on the line. Hadley Cannon did what he could but UB already being thin on the line could not get the job done against Alfred. In the end Alfred triumphed in what was seen as a major upset.
Buffalo wrapped up their college games against Niagara. Early on Buffalo was still struggling to finish off drives. UB marched down the field with long play after long play only to find themselves inside the one yard line and frustrated again. Fortunately for Buffalo they stopped Niagara, scored their own touchdown and opened the floodgates.
UB's offense finally broke through by scoring 28 points. James Fish, Hemlick, Bachman, and Simpson all scored touchdowns and Walton hit two field goals as UB shut out the Purps.
After the Niagara game Buffalo had a thanksgiving day exhibition contest against the Oakdale athletic club. UB dropped that game 10-0.
|27-Nov||0||OakDale Athletic Club||10|
|RHB||Charles Augustus Espie|