99 for 99 - #4 - Jim Peele's Blueprint - Part 2

99 for 99 looks at the 99 biggest moments in UB Football history during the 2012 football season, the 99th season of UB Football.

Jim Peele's final test was to build on momentum. His 5-3 1936 squad finished a game worse. His 6-2 1942 team did not get to play in 1943. His 1947 squad would have the burden of expectations brought on by a 7-2 campaign in 1946. Some even feared the '47 team had a sense of complacency. Everyone wondered if Peele would be able to meet or exceed the standard he set in 1946.

Niagara's team is one of the better western New York elevens and is well-known for the "Little Three" competition with Canisius and St. Bonaventure. This triumvirate symbolizes the inner circle. It is that circle which the Bulls are determined eventually to crash.

The Bulls have waited a long time for this opportunity to burst into prominence. They are sure to make the most of their chance next Friday.

The Buffalo Bee - 9-12-1947

September 19, 1947 - Buffalo 27, Niagara 14

The Bulls entered the Niagara game as 14-point underdogs. The last game between the two teams occurred 13 years prior, with UB falling for the 5th consecutive time to the Eagles in a 27-0 shutout.

In 1947, Niagara either didn't feel like favorites, or they were confident that they would embarrass the Bulls; they resorted to trickeration to take the lead.

With Niagara's tricks out of the bag, UB controlled the game, and countered with a trick of their own; a reverse on a punt return that left all the Purple Eagles chasing after Lockport Lou while Eddie Middlesteadt ran unmolested for a 60-yard touchdown. Buffalo won the game and ended Niagara's gridiron domination.

THE BULL PEN

Now, after years of watchful waiting, the Bulls and followers are doing the howling. In fact, the whole town is talking about the cyclone from north Main Street...The Bulls had proved to the neighboring community that the U of B can play-and outplay-at least one member of the highly-vaunted "Little Three."

By Irv Haag - The Buffalo Bee - 9-26-1947

September 26, 1947 - Buffalo 7, Moravian 0

Despite sloppy play from the experienced offense including only 2 for 13 passing and multiple fumbles, the young UB defense held strong, stopping Moravian's only serious intrusion on downs at the 11 yard line, as UB won a sloppy 7-0 contest.

October 4, 1947 - Buffalo 14, Rensselaer 7

RPI's initial deluge of offense was halted by a fumble that was returned 26-yards by Middlesteadt for a UB Touchdown. A fancy 70-yard punt return touchdown by Lou Corriere looked to blow the game open in amazing fashion: Corriere was stranded on one sideline, only to reverse field and score. However, the score was called back with a clipping penalty. The penalty seemed to take the wind out of UB's sails and the teams went into the half tied at 7.

In the second half, Buffalo scored on a fluke pass that was deflected by a RPI defenseman but alertly scooped up by Bill Rudick for the touchdown. UB's offense, expected to be the team's strong side, disappointed for the second straight week. UB's chance to put the game out of hand came late, on a 4th and inches from the 1 yard line. The Bulls could neither score nor get the first down. However UB's defense again was up to the task, they kept RPI out of the endzone and secured a 14-7 win.

THE BULL PEN

One fumble and the typical UB rooter either gets up for a beer or keeps right on going out the gate.

The UB philosophy is simple but crude. If we win...that's nice. If we lose...they're bums. If we win...we shoulda won by more. If we lose ... I wish they woulda murdered them Bulls.

By Irv Haag - The Buffalo Bee - 10-10-1947

October 11, 1947 - Buffalo 54, Hobart 0

Maybe it was last year's homecoming loss, or the lackluster offensive fortnight, but compared to 1946, only half the fans, 8,000, showed up for homecoming in 1947. Those who stayed home missed out as UB out-gained Hobart 431-108. A Hobart fumble on their own 15, led to a Rudick 1-yard TD plunge and a 7-0 UB lead. On the next drive, UB threw an 18 yard pass on 4th and 5 to extend the drive which ended when Mittlesteadt scored on a lateral to put the Bulls up 14-0. In the second quarter, UB scored on a pair of Vic Manz TD pass: an 8-yard pass to Jack Whitman and a 19-yard grab by "One-play Harry" MacWilliams for a 27 -0 lead.

Hobart marched down to the 2-yard line on their initial drive of the 2nd half, before fumbling to end the threat. Later Mittlesteadt broke a 32-yard run and Vic Manz ran 8-yards to put UB up 34-0. Paul Missana caught a pass in the flat from Bob Conk and ran in from 12-yards out to put UB up 41-0, and Frank Nappo ran in from 4-yards out to put UB up 48-0. With 2 minutes remaining Missana returned a punt 50-yards for the final touchdown of the game.

October 18, 1947 - Buffalo 40, Alfred 7

UB extended their win streak to 9 games with a win over Alfred. Eddie Mittelsteadt ran 23 yards down to the 2 and finished the drive with a sweep around the end to score to give UB a 7-0 lead. A blocked punt gave Alfred the ball deep in UB territory and led to a Paul Curran TD pass to even the score at 7 at the half. The game first turned against the Bulls on a punt, it turned back in their favor on a punt. Alfred shanked one out of bounds at their own 12 and Lockport Lou converted with a touchdown run to give UB a 13-7 lead. Corriere then intercepted an Alfred pass setting up Mittelsteadt's second TD of the day this time from 23 yards out. After another Alfred miscue, this time a fumble, Felix Siezega scored from 37 yards out to put the Bulls up 27-7.

UB gave Alfred an opportunity, with a bad pass intercepted and returned to the UB 15, but UB then took that opportunity away when Corriere nabbed his 2nd interception of the game, this time on the goal line. On the return, Corriere injured his leg, the second straight year he injured himself the week before facing Wayne State.

Sore feelings abound, the next play, resulted in a fist fight. That would be the last of the fight shown by the Saxons on that day, Vic Manz and Vic Cleri would tack on two more touchdowns and Buffalo won 40-7.

THE BULL PEN

Once in the dim grid past, a gallant, outmanned UB eleven was being roundly thumped by Alfred. Alfred's coach allegedly said something to Jim [Peele] about "keeping your sissies off the field if they couldn't take it." Saturday brought the turnabout. An ardent Saxton supporter bemoaned the strength of Buffalo reserves and complained to the press box huddler that using so many men was unsportsmanlike...finally your reporter told him to "keep your sissies off the field if they can't take it"

Irv Haag - The Buffalo Bee - 10-24-1947

October 25, 1947 - Buffalo 12, Wayne State 32

Wayne jumped out to a 7-0 led with a 10-play 57-yard opening drive eating up over five minutes on the clock. Wayne dominated the first half but miscues cost them points. UB got on the board, after one of the Wayne miscues, a botched lateral, led to a Eddie Mittelsteadt touchdown. Wayne struck quickly, countering the UB score with one of their own to end the half, and they scored to start the second half, to quickly build a 21-6 lead. Bill Rudick, did his part in the third, intercepting a pass, and then scoring on a touchdown pass during the resulting drive. Two missed conversions put Buffalo down 2 scores 21-12.

UB put up a good stand on defense, preventing Wayne from scoring on downs at the 10 yard line. The offense betrayed them, promptly throwing an interception and allowing Wayne's Jack Hazely to return it for a touchdown. Later another UB desperation heave was caught by the wrong team, leading to yet another Wayne touchdown. The game ended 33-12, the perfect season was over.

THE BULL PEN

Two announcements of the past week have attested to the rising prominence of the university of Buffalo as a gridiron power. One concerns the broadcasting for the first time in UB's history when Al Haley, WWOL's sportscaster airs the Bethany tussle tomorrow...The second announcement concerns the letter received by the athletic office in regards to a possible postseason game in El Paso, Texas. This game would be a climax of the Southwestern Sun Bowl Carnival and is scheduled for January 1.

By Irv Haag - The Buffalo Bee - 10-31-1947

November 1, 1947 - Buffalo 50, Bethany 6

Out-gaining Bethany 401-143, the Bulls rolled to their sixth victory of the season. "Steady" Eddie Mittelsteadt, focal point of the offense due to the injury to Corriere shined with 69 yards on the day and all 3 of UB's first half touchdowns. Surprisingly though, it was the UB aerial attack that did the heavy lifting on the day. UB completed 12 of 23 passes for 193 yards and 3 touchdowns. The defense recovered 3 fumbles and scored a safety, and shut Bethany out in the second half to ensure the game never became a contest.

November 8, 1947 - Buffalo 50, St. Lawrence 7

An already over-matched St. Lawrence team was further disadvantaged by the mud and snow at Civic Stadium. UB, in their final home game, looked at home in the slop, running up the score with the running game and capitalizing on special teams. Eddie Middlesteadt led the Bulls with 66 yards and 2 touchdowns, mostly comprised of a 57-yard scamper in the 3rd quarter.

THE BULL PEN

One question kept re-appearing as we wondered about the issue. What's better - to win in your own class with well-matched opponents-or to lose in a class a team isn't yet ready to crash?

By Irv Haag - The Buffalo Bee - 11-14-1947

November 15, 1947 - Buffalo 14, Bucknell 6

In the finale against Bucknell, the Bison, led by North Tonawanda native Eddie Stec, pushed through the snowy field for a 79-yard game opening drive to take a 6-0 lead. Fortunately, the UB defense found their footing, allowing only 59 more yards on the day.

UB caught their first break with a surprise punt, Bucknell muffed the punt, and UB recovered on the 9. Bill Rudick blasted into the end zone 3 plays later and with the extra point, UB led 7-6. Later in the half, UB's own North Tonawanda native Felix Siezega set up "Lockport" Lou for a 21-yard touchdown run on his first carry since his injury at Alfred. Siezega played for Bucknell when the Bison defeated the Bulls in 1946, now as a Bull he was vital in helping Buffalo avenge the loss.

After a sloppy 3rd quarter, Bucknell drove to the 3-yard line, only to fumble the ball away. With an interception, some stout defense, and a clock-controlling run game, UB walked off the field for the last time in 1947 with a solid 14-6 victory and an impressive 8-1 season record.

THE BULL PEN

UB's moleskin maulers say goodbye to the grid wars afters humbling Bucknell last Saturday to crown the best season in the school's history. Now comes the time for "watchful waiting" as the gridders sweat out the hoped-for bid to the Sun Bowl in El Paso Texas...

Perhaps the best moments during the year came at both ends of the schedule. An awesome opponent, Niagara loomed as the season's opener. The Buffaloes went into that game the underdog yet surprised everyone with a rather handy win, 27-14; it is interesting to note that Canisius, after almost an entire season was passed, racked up the exact same 27 points though they held the Purple Eagles scoreless. This further enhances the Bull showing since they went into the game "cold"; both Niagara and Canisius were thoroughly warmed up for last Sunday's fracas. The inference then is logical. What would happen if the Bulls and the Golden Griffs were to tangle? No one can be sure, but the arriving at an outcome, whatever it may be, certainly would create one of the most potent rivalries hereabouts. The drawing power would be terrific not to mention the caliber of football that would no doubt be displayed on the part of both teams

By Irv Haag - The Buffalo Bee - 11-21-1947

The Sun Bowl passed over the Bulls, selecting a local team, Texas Tech, and 9-0-1 Miami of Ohio in their first year as a member of the Mid-American Conference. Miami won the contest 13-12.

Jim Peele would move on from coaching, and focus on his duties as UB's athletic director. To replace himself, Peele hired 31-year-old Frank Clair. Clair played at Ohio State, coached the B team at Miami University and was an assistant coach at Peele's alma mater Purdue. Peele's '46 and '47 squads set a fine blueprint for the future of Buffalo football, it was up to Clair to follow the blueprint and lead UB to glory.

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