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99 for 99 - #75: Pete Conley Forces 4 Fumbles

99 #75 conley
99 #75 conley

99 for 99 takes a look at the 99 biggest moments in UB Football history in anticipation of the 99th Season of UB Football which begins on September 1st, 2012. These moments are not in any order, however the top 10 moments have been saved for last.

September 16, 1995 - Buffalo 19, Illinois State 6 - Pete Conley Sets UB Record with 4 Forced Fumbles

The 1-1 UB Bulls headed to Normal, Illinois to face the Illinois State Redbirds. The Redbirds were going to be a tough test for first year coach Craig Cirbus. It was his first road game, and ISU outgained D-1A Ohio University in a 14-6 losing effort the previous week.

Both teams featured strong defenses. ISU allowed only 87 yards passing in their first two games. Buffalo was 5th in D-1AA allowing only 20 yards rushing per game. The odds of UB stopping the ISU run game seemed slim, ISU fielded a massive offensive line with an average size of 6'3 287. If size wasn't enough of an advantage, ISU also had the offensive scheme of current Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Paul Chryst.

Fortunately for the Bulls, the greatest advantage in football is the turnover advantage. ISU fumbled 9 times, losing 4, and threw 2 interceptions.

ISU's bad day began on the third play of the game. ISU QB Lester Anderson fumbled, and linebacker Craig Guest recovered on the 26 yard line. After advancing to the 1 yard line, UB had to settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead.

On the next play from scrimmage, ISU Running Back Chris Moore fumbled; this time recovered by Keith Hansen at the 21. After another UB field goal buffalo led 6-0. Buffalo racked up rushing yards, finishing with 229 in the game, but they were not able to score a touchdown. Late in the first half, the Redbirds fumbled on consecutive plays, but were able to recover both times and kicked a field goal to tie the game 6-6. The Bulls missed two field goal opportunities in the first half and kept the redbirds in the game by not pushing into the end zone.

Anderson started the second half where he started the first, with a turnover, this time an interception. Buffalo however failed to capitalize again when ISU recovered an Anthony Swan fumble on the three yard line.

With 4:54 left in the third, UB took a 9-3 lead on a field goal, after (you guessed it), Guest recovered another redbird fumble.

In the fourth quarter, ISU's star wide receiver Kyle Robinson tried to spark a comeback, however, after catching a pass, he was crushed by Conley. The ball came loose and Ibrahim Giles returned the fumble for the game's only touchdown. The forced fumble was Conley's fourth, setting a school record that stands today. Buffalo tacked on a late field goal to win 19-6.

After the game Buffalo was the #2 ranked run defense in the nation, allowing 0.6 yards per carry in the first 3 games of the season. Conley, a Senior who played at Southwestern High School, was second on the team in tackles with 35 in the first 3 games. Conley and Guest (who we'll get to later) were perhaps the greatest Linebacker duo in UB history. Conley is fourth all-time in tackles, Guest is second. In 1995, Conley and Guest both broke the record for tackles in a season, Conley's 145 is still second all time, and Guest's record of 161 still stands.

Thanks to this game, Conley finished his career tied with Rich Dadabo for most career forced fumbles with six. The record was broken by Keith Hansen in '97 and Khalil Mack '12, who each have seven forced fumbles.