Ending the season on top is Bulls ultimate goal

Sports

Buffalo running back Ron Cook Jr. (2) is consoled after the team lost to Ball State in the Mid-American Conference championship NCAA college football game, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After a disappointing loss to Ball State in the MAC Championship game last Friday, the UB Bulls a have turned their attention to the last goal they set for themselves before the season started: getting another Bowl victory for the second year in a row.

“As Coach Leipold said, let’s go win another Bowl Game. Let’s put this one behind us, we still have another game to play,” UB wide receiver Antonio Nunn said. “We can’t live off this game to determine our next game.”

“I think it’s been the team is disappointed, but as time goes on you’ve got to bounce back. We’ve been very fortunate with the season that we’ve had. We talk about how are you going to handle a setback?” UB Head Coach Lance Leipold said. “You have a chance to end it on a good note and be around the team, go to a place we’ve never been. We need to embrace being in Bowl Games, being proud of the opportunity that we’ve earned that, and winning our division and all those things, and our guys have done a great job over the last 48 hours embracing that.”

“We’ve got another game, so that’s another opportunity for us to get back on our feet and prove that we’re still that team that can dominate,” UB quarterback Kyle Vantrease said.

In the MAC Championship, the Bulls faced a feeling that they had not experienced once during the shortened 2020 season: playing from behind. Ball State scored three straight touchdowns near the end of the second quarter, and the Bulls were never able to recover.

Even though they were hurting after the game, the players recognized the need to undergo a situation like that, and how important it is for the team to grow and handle it in the future.

“First and foremost, it’s the come from behind effort that we need to have, the feeling that we need to take it up a notch,” Vantrease said. “Then, the feeling that we need to lean on each other in these tough situations. Those are lessons in life that you’re going to take with you on and off the field. They’re valuable lessons, and sometimes you have to learn them the hard way, but they’re things that we need to learn to move on.”

“We’re going to go over it for our next practice having everyone prepare for that situation, basically so heads wouldn’t be down,” Nunn said. “Keeping everyone’s energy up, because at the end of the day, you never know what could happen. It could be a comeback win, end of story, but we’re going to go into next week more prepared for it.”

The Bulls will face Marshall in the Camellia Bowl. On top of finishing the season with a win, UB is excited for the chance to add some more hardware to the trophy case.

“Last year, the guys had the chance to win the first bowl game in school history and they remember how that felt to wrap up the season and what it can do to propel you into 2021 as were all anxious to turn that page in a new year on the calendar,” Coach Leipold said. “I think there’s some good things there that they know and try to do it. When you play an excellent opponent, a team that was ranked as high as 15th in the season, they know it’s a challenge and one that can be a nice way to end the season.”

UB and Marshall square off in the Camellia Bowl on Christmas Day. Kickoff is set for 2:30 pm.

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