OXFORD, Ohio — UB learned a week ago that Tuesday night’s game at Yager Stadium was incidental to the MAC East title race. The championship will be determined on Black Friday at Ralph Wilson Stadium, when the Bulls play host to Bowling Green in a 1:30 p.m. start that will be televised on ESPNU.
Moving a Thanksgiving Week season finale off campus is not without precedent. Just last year BG relocated its regular season-ending home game against UB some 100 miles away to Columbus Crew Stadium. The rationale was two-fold: students were on break and the school sought to connect with its Columbus alumni.
In UB’s case, students are on Thanksgiving break and a switch to an NFL stadium elevates the program’s profile while perhaps also cultivating a Southtowns fan base. To be determined is whether it’s worth the trade-off to give away your home field in a must-win situation.
Todd Garzarelli, UB’s Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs, said 24,000 tickets have been sold for the game and another 6,000 are out through a promotion run in conjunction with the Turkey Trot.
The university has created various ticket promotions in conjunction with the game, including one where $8 out of the $18 tickets can be donated to Roswell Park Cancer Institute or the Buffalo Zoo. The donation applies when tickets are purchased through Ticketmaster.com with the code RPFUND for Roswell Park or ZOOFUND for the Buffalo Zoo.
UB has announced that its paid attendance for home games this season already has exceeded the school record. Figures issued by the athletic department has UB’s ticket sales at 110,192 this season, about 2,000 more than last year’s six-game total. This season’s final number will increase with the Black Friday game.
Tony Daniel came on in relief of Joe Licata and threw his first career touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Tuesday’s 44-7 win at Miami, an 11-yarder to Devon Hughes. Daniel went 3 of 5 for 34 yards. Licata was 20 of 32 for 172 with a touchdown and an interception. … Sophomore Anthone Taylor replaced Bo Oliver in the third quarter and staked an early claim to the starting job next season. Taylor ran for 154 yards on 17 carries with a long of 23. It was his second 100-yard game of the season, the other coming against Stony Brook. … Patrick Clarke made good on all three of his field goal attempts — from 22, 28 and 38 yards. … Dillon Guy, the season-opening starter, moved back into the starting lineup at right guard Tuesday night as Bobby Blodgett nursed a sore foot. Blodgett was in uniform and available if needed. The same applied to linebacker Adam Redden, who’s been out since suffering a knee sprain against Kent State.
Khalil Mack’s invitation to participate in the Senior Bowl on Jan. 25 in Mobile, Ala., makes him the second Bull ever to be so honored. Defensive end Gerry Philbin played in the 1964 game.
Philbin was selected by the New York Jets in the third round of the American Football League draft (and also by Detroit in the third round of the NFL draft). He played 10 pro seasons, became a two-time All-Pro selection and played an integral role in the Jets defense shutting down the mighty Baltimore Colts in their landmark 16-7 victory in Super Bowl III.
How has the game changed over the years? Philbin was 6-foot-2 and played defensive end at 245 pounds, Mack, a linebacker, is listed at 6-3, 248.
Mack is a semifinalist for both the Butkus (top linebacker) and the Bednarik (top defensive player) national awards.
UB has a theoretical three-day head start on Bowling Green in preparing for Black Friday. The Falcons play their penultimate regular-season game at Eastern Michigan on Saturday, then have a six-day prep before the UB showdown. BG coach Dave Clawson, a Youngstown native, insisted on this week’s coaches conference call that the Falcons are focusing on Eastern Michigan but given the game’s relative unimportance surely the coaching staff already has begun its prep for the Bulls.