The 2008 Mid-American Conference champion UB Bulls’ home opener last Saturday ended in a 54-27 loss to the University of Pittsburgh, a formidable foe.
To be sure, the result was a disappointment for legions of fans that turned out to watch. But the defeat can’t dampen the buzz this year’s UB team is generating.
Sophomore quarterback Zach Maynard threw for 400 yards and four touchdowns. Together, senior receivers Brett Hamlin and Naaman Roosevelt managed 18 catches for over 300 yards. Saturday’s game attracted a huge crowd—21,870 people. Many will be back to cheer the Bulls on in early October when they take on Central Michigan University, Gardner-Webb University and the University of Akron in three consecutive weekends at home.
The excitement surrounding the Bulls was tangible during Saturday’s pre-game activities. By 10 a.m., two hours before kickoff, parking lots close to UB Stadium were packed with students, alumni and members of the community, with some tailgate groups flying UB flags. White smoke rose from a dozen grills, drifting over Millersport Highway where cars carrying more fans waited in line to turn into campus. Cans of iced Labatt Blue disappeared from coolers at a fast clip. By the stadium’s gates, the Thunder of the East, UB’s marching band, welcomed players, its drummers decked out in feathered hats. The first 2,500 fans to arrive received a 2008 MAC Championship pennant.