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UB WOMEN DROP OT BATTLE TO PRINCETON; TONS OF FOOTBALL NEWS
Meet your newest gridiron heroes, everybody!
Image from @ubwomenshoops
Wrong Side of an Instant Classic: UB Women Fall at Princeton
That’s the big problem with sports: someone has to lose. No one’s figured that one out yet! On Tuesday night, that someone was the UB women’s basketball team, who dropped a 79-77 non-conference decision in overtime at Princeton (7-3), the defending Ivy League champions.
What can you say? Both teams put up a hell of a fight in a game that was eminently enjoyable to watch.
Buffalo (6-3) fell behind by as many as 18 points and trailed, 30-13, at 6:26 of the second quarter before unleashing a 21-0 run over the next 5:44 to take a 34-30 lead. Junior G Dyaisha Fair scored 11 points and freshman G Georgia Woolley added nine in the game-flipping outburst.
The Bulls would take a one-point advantage into halftime, and led 46-38 with less than 13 minutes remaining in the game.
But, unfortunately, a win was not to be: the Tigers, who shot 11-for-27 from three-point range and, for much of the game, had more three-point field goals than two-point makes, fired their way back in front.
Image from @PrincetonWBB
Junior G Julia Cunningham (pictured above), who led Princeton with 21 points and eight rebounds, hit a pair of threes and fellow junior Maggie Connolly drilled another to give the home team a 47-46 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
From here, the game turned into a battle of attrition: the lead changed 10 times in the final stanza, and UB led by as many as four with 2:34 left in the game, but the Tigers’ timely threes kept reeling the Bulls back in.
Princeton took a 66-64 lead into the final three seconds following a Kaitlyn Chen free throw, but—for the second game in a row—Buffalo put points on the board with the clock hitting zero (UB knocked off VCU, 62-60, on Woolley’s last-second shot Saturday at Alumni Arena). On Tuesday, redshirt fifth year senior F Summer Hemphill was fouled as time expired, and coolly knocked down two clutch free throws to send the game to OT.
Bulls head coach Felisha Legette-Jack was nailed with technical foul five seconds in the extra period, and Cunningham hit the penalty free throw and added a jumper moments later to give the Tigers a 69-66 advantage.
UB kept it close, creeping within a point of the lead five times—including a rainbow three from the left elbow over two defenders with two seconds remaining by Fair—but never quite got over the hump. The Bulls ended up falling, 79-77.
The loss snapped Buffalo’s five-game winning streak.
Fair led all scorers with 31 points and grabbed seven rebounds, tying sophomore G Cheyenne McEvans for the team high. McEvans added 16 points. Woolley scored 16 points with six boards, and Hemphill had 12 points, four rebounds, three blocks, and three steals.
Buffalo wraps up the non-conference portion of their schedule at Bucknell on Monday, December 20 at 5 p.m., according to UBBulls.com.
Lots of Football News: Signing Day, Local QB Coming Home, Marks Goes Pro
Wednesday was college football’s National Signing Day, which is kind of like a reverse version of a draft: the players get to pick their new team. It’s called “signing day” because it’s the first day players can sign their National Letter of Intent.
What, exactly, is a National Letter of Intent? I was wondering myself. Here’s what I found out, courtesy of NCAASports.org:
An NLI is “a contract signed by both the student-athlete and their college. All NLI contracts must include an athletic aid agreement or athletic scholarship that lists the amount of athletic aid the athlete is being offered for their first academic year. Student-athletes must be enrolling at a four-year NCAA D1 or D2 institution for the first time or transferring to a four-year institution from a two-year college to be eligible to sign the NLI.”
“Signing on the dotted line of the National Letter of Intent means three things:
Your student-athlete has committed to one year at the university. They do not need to sign an NLI after their first year. The school is required to let student-athletes know if their scholarship is being renewed after the first year.
The university is promising to provide an athletic scholarship for that year. The NLI and financial aid package are two separate documents. Your student-athlete will need to sign both. Only Division 1 programs are permitted to offer multi-year athletic aid in an NLI.
Your student-athlete’s recruiting journey is over. No other schools can continue to recruit them and they are not permitted to contact coaches at other institutions.
An NLI is a legal, binding contract. So, it is something you are going to want to fully understand before signing it. Your athlete’s new coach and representatives from the school can help answer your questions or concerns when it comes to signing the NLI.
OK, now that we’re all either asleep or feeling slightly dirty, let’s see what this meant for the Bulls.
Defensive Help Is On The Way
Image from The Moultrie (Ga.) Observer
And it couldn’t come a moment sooner! Buffalo finished 94th in FBS in total defense, allowing 416.4 yards per game, and was 111th against the rush, surrendering, on average, over 195 yards on the ground.
That doesn’t take the secondary is off the hook. Terrible tackling in the defensive backfield helped lead to those gaudy rushing numbers. UB was also tied with six teams at 124th in FBS—second to last—in interceptions (three on the season).
Nebraska’s Samari Toure, Kent State’s Dante Cephas, and Bowling Green’s Tyrone Broden are just a few of the receivers who found UB’s secondary a fine place to have a catch and enjoy multiple leisurely jogs to the end zone.
But I digress. From UBBulls.com:
University at Buffalo football head coach Maurice Linguist announced the initial signees for the 2022 recruiting class on the first day of the National Signing Period on Wednesday. The initial 13-member signing class consists of nine defensive players and four offensive players.
"We could not be more excited about the young men and families that we have joining us from all over the nation," Linguist said. "We're beyond excited about, not just the players, but the outstanding people we are bringing into our program. We feel that we have a great group of big-time players that fit our culture. We are addressing a lot of needs, length, speed, size, intelligence and leadership. Combined with what we have coming back, we are putting ourselves in a great position to have an outstanding spring, summer and transition into this fall."
The initial class is comprised of four defensive tackles, two safeties, two wide receivers, a tight end, a defensive end, a linebacker, a running back and a nickel back. The newest class comes to UB from eight different states and the District of Columbia, including New York (2), Maryland (2), Virginia (2), Georgia (2), Alabama, South Carolina, California, New Hampshire and DC.
Highlights include three-star recruits Jackson Paradis (RB), Pershaun Fann (LB/DB, pictured above, left), and Nik McMillan (WR).
UB also picked up a three-star QB transfer from Rutgers, former Southwestern (Jamestown, N.Y.) High School product Cole Snyder, and Boston College safety Jahmin Muse, another three-star.
Paradis was the top recruit out of New Hampshire, and was named the Granite State’s 2021 Gatorade Football Player of the Year. “I am very excited to play for Buffalo,” he told the North Andover (Mass.) Eagle-Tribune. “I’m going to be on a full athletic scholarship. Everything came into play — location, academics, coaching, facilities, players, environment. They all played a huge factor in my decision and I felt like Buffalo was the perfect fit for me.”
Fann was a two-time All-Region linebacker at Colquitt County High School in Moultrie, Georgia. He’s also an outstanding baseball player and a top-notch student who’ll be seeking a master’s degree in psychology. “It’s just what I wanted,” his mother, Evade, told the Moultrie Observer. “I want him to know what the world is like away from Colquitt County.”
McMillan was a star wide receiver at Canisius High School in Buffalo before transferring to Wise High School in Maryland for his final season. “McMillan caught 38 passes for 867 yards and 13 touchdowns in 11 games this fall at Wise, in Upper Marlboro, Md., and he was a Washington Post All-Met selection,” writes Rachel Lenzi of The Buffalo News. “In the spring, McMillan caught 18 passes for 373 yards and five touchdowns at Canisius. McMillan helped the Crusaders win the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association championship.”
Snyder Squeezes Into A Crowded QB Room
Image from @iamcolesnyder
Some decisions will need to be made at the field general position, where the addition of Snyder—who appeared to be climbing the depth chart at Rutgers before entering the transfer portal—gives Linguist and offensive coordinator Shane Montgomery a half dozen QBs.
“Playing under (Rutgers) coach (Greg) Schiano, I learned a lot, and playing at the Power Five level, at places like Beaver Stadium, at the Big House (Michigan) and at the Horseshoe (Ohio State), those are incredible experiences to have,” Snyder said. “I’ve gained a lot of experience in playing in those Big Ten games, and whatever comes next, that will help me.”
An All-Western New York selection at Southwestern, Snyder passed for 2,069 yards and 37 touchdowns in his senior year in 2018. He was a Connolly Cup finalist and the Class C South player of the year as a senior with the Trojans.
At UB, Snyder will join a quarterbacks corps that currently includes Kyle Vantrease, Matt Myers, Casey Case, Trevor Bycznski and Brian Plummer. Vantrease started 10 games and threw for 1,861 yards and eight touchdowns on 161 of 262 passing, and was intercepted six times, before he sustained a season-ending injury to his right arm in a loss Nov. 9 at Miami (Ohio).
Myers started UB’s final two games, and in 10 games this season, threw for 703 yards and four touchdowns on 56-for-103 passing, and was intercepted five times.
There will almost certainly be some roster flux at the position, but it’s nice to see local talent come home.
A Fond Farewell to Kevin Marks, Jr.
The Bulls’ battering ram is going pro.
Image from @marksjr.5
More from The Buffalo News:
Marks leaves UB as its No. 5 all-time leading rusher in yards (3,035), fifth in carries (667) and tied for third all-time in rushing touchdowns (33),
Had Marks returned to the Bulls, he would be in a pool of running backs that included Dylan McDuffie, who was UB’s leading rusher in 2021 with 1,049 yards and 11 touchdowns on 206 carries; Ron Cook Jr., Mike Washington and Jackson Paradis, the Gatorade New Hampshire football player of the year who plans to sign with UB when the early signing period begins Wednesday.
Instead, Marks will now aim for a shot at the pros. WalterFootball.com projects Marks as the No. 28 running back in this year’s current draft pool and as either a seventh-round pick or an undrafted free agent, while NFLDraftBuzz.com projects Marks as the No. 35 running back.
It makes sense for Marks to move on—he seemed like he belonged to a different era of Bulls football. Although he finished the season with 414 rushing yards and five TDs on 108 attempts, Marks played sparingly after suffering a lower leg injury against Kent State on Oct. 9. He was already losing carries to McDuffie, then missed a month of action, and ran just 14 times over three games in November. Better to save the body for the NFL.
Best wishes, Smoke! Looking forward to seeing you give defenders the horns on Sundays.
UB Is Going To The Horseshoe
The University at Buffalo football team announced they will play a game at Ohio State in 2028. The Bulls and Buckeyes will face off in the Horseshoe on September 2, 2028.
It will be the second meeting between the teams. UB played at Ohio State to open the 2013 campaign, a game the Buckeyes won, 40-20. But that afternoon was highlighted by the performance of All-American linebacker Khalil Mack. The former UB standout introduced himself to the nation that day with nine tackles, 2.5 sacks and a pick six in the game.
With the addition of Ohio State, Buffalo now has three of its four non-conference games scheduled for 2028. The Bulls will also host Massachusetts (9/16) and play at Connecticut (9/23) that season.
UB will open the 2022 campaign at Maryland on September 2.
Not exactly time to start booking trips to Columbus, but good to know. As for that game in 2013, I remember watching on a tiny television while slowly dying on the treadmill at the JCC on Delaware Avenue. The Buckeyes went up 23-0 in the first quarter, but the Bulls cut it to within 10 points twice. Respectable! Here are Mack’s highlights from that day to help make yours a little brighter:
COMING UP: UB men’s basketball (6-3) plays Canisius at Key Bank Arena on Saturday at 5 p.m. The game can be seen on GoGriffs.com, apparently. Interesting.
Have a great weekend! Go Bulls.