A gripping win over Lafayette or a crushing defeat at Ohio?
Buffalo defeated Delaware State 40-30 early in 1997, they then went on to lose 9 in a row. As UB closed in on their 700th football game, Buffalo broke the losing streak with a 40-17 win over Lock Haven. The following week, the Bulls played game 700 against Lafayette.
Buffalo took the early lead over Lafayette on a David Hinson touchdown run, but they trailed 14-10 at halftime. The defense stiffened up in the second half, and UB pulled within 1 on a 34-yard field goal by Scott Keller in the third quarter. A 20-yard return by Drew Haddad set Buffalo up at the 29 and with 1 minute left in the game, Keller hit a 29-yard field goal to give Buffalo the 16-14 lead. Lafayette stormed back down the field to the 24-yard line, but Brian Mencola missed a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Buffalo escaped with the win and Buffalo's first two game winning streak in over a year.
Between game 600 and 700, UB football won only 30 games, the lowest amount since the depression. Buffalo, Division 1-A's newest team, knew 1999 would be rough. Coach Cirbus looked less to win but more for reasons to believe the next 100 games of UB football would bring success at football's highest level.
The Ohio game gave UB fans hope, Buffalo for the first time in D-1A, had a lead, 3-0 on a Scott Keller field goal. Another reason for hope, Drew Haddad caught eight passes for 140 yards, proving that his game could translate to the 1-A level. However the gleams of hope were few and far between. After trading field goals to the tune of a 6-6 tie, Ohio scored 39 unanswered points to rout the Bulls.
100 disappointing games, was the down payment for a team that over-accelerated into division 1-A football. One could only hope that the next 100 games would make it all worth it. Unfortunately, the next 100 games of UB football would be the worst in UB history, the climb up to respectability would take longer than anyone could have imagined.