The return of fall football is “a glimmer of normalcy” for UB

Sports

PISCATAWAY, NJ – SEPTEMBER 22: Jaret Patterson #26 of the Buffalo Bulls is lived by teammate Anthony Johnson #83 after scoring a touchdown against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the first quarter at HighPoint.com Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — After the Mid-American Conference reversed its August 8th decision to postpone football to the spring, UB football players, coaches, and fans alike rejoiced at the fact that there will, in fact, be football played at UB Stadium this fall.

“This is an exciting day for all of us here at UB, and in the Mid-American Conference. I’m definitely excited for the opportunity for us, and for our MAC counterparts,” UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt said on Friday. “For us to be in a position now, on September 25th, as compared to where we were early August, and knowing that as we look ahead on November 4th, that Wednesday there’s an opportunity for MACtion to return.

“Having a regular season schedule that gives us opportunity to truly determine a divisional champion, and have a championship game at Ford Field to be able to crown our MAC champion on December 18th or 19th. It’s a great day, and we’re excited to be here.”

The road to get to this point has been a rollercoaster, to say the least. COVID-19 cancelled all spring activities throughout the NCAA, including spring football for the Bulls. Then right when they should have been preparing to start fall camp, the MAC made the decision to postpone all fall sports to the spring.

But the Bulls weren’t ready to hold off that easily. Standout junior running back Jaret Patterson and senior wide receiver Dominic Johnson were just two players who were an integral part of getting the season back to the fall as part of the “Let us play” initiative with other collegiate athletes across the country this summer.

“It’s been a rollercoaster, but for us, the guys, we’ve adapted to all the changes that the coaches expect us to do. When I saw half the FBS playing and the MAC is not playing, that just made me and Dom want to fight more, because we just want a chance to play,” Jaret Patterson said. “When they said we were going to play in the spring, we saw other colleges and other opponents, we decided we needed to fight to play in the fall. I can definitely say all the guys are texting in team group chats, everybody’s fired up for this moment and we really just can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

“I can pretty much speak for the whole team, everyone’s excited,” Dominic Johnson said. “We’ve dealt with a lot of adversity, everyone has, and as football athletes, that’s what we do every game is battle through adversity, so that’s what we’re going to continue to do this season. We’re just really excited to get back.”

With the shortened schedule, the Bulls will play a six game, conference only slate, with games starting on November 4th and running through December 18th or 19th. Even without a full schedule, for UB Head Coach Lance Leipold, just hearing that his team is finally going to play is good enough.

“We’ve been doing so many of these meetings, and these guys know how many times I’ve had to get on and tell them no news, or disappointing news, so to see the excitement build here after things were starting to happen, and really through our phones and other things in the last hour, the excitement is that there’s a glimmer of normalcy,” UB Head Coach Lance Leipold said.

“We’re going to have to go through many different protocols, much like those that have had the opportunity to play so far have done. That’s exciting, because now they can do what they want to do.”

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