UB football was full of firsts in 2007—Turner Gill’s second season as Bulls head coach and one in which he was named Mid-American Conference (MAC) Coach of the Year.
The season began with a 42-7 rout of Temple in the Bulls’ first 2007 MAC game. Forty-two points is a UB record for most points scored in a MAC road game. Junior quarterback Drew Willy’s 20-of-22 performance also was a school record for completion percentage (91 percent) for more than 20 attempts in a game.
Returning home to UB Stadium on October 6, the Buffalo faithful celebrated Homecoming in style, as they watched the Bulls defeat the Ohio Bobcats 31-10.
The Bulls defended their home turf once again against Toledo on October 13, downing the Rockets by 10 points, thanks to a stellar performance by sophomore running back James Starks. He scored UB’s first touchdown and set a UB Stadium record for rushing with 231 yards.
Though the Bulls fell to Bowling Green, 31–17, in their final home game, there were more impressive stats in this game, too: Starks became the first back since Anthony Swan in 1996 to break the 1,000-yard barrier. Willy, meanwhile, set a new school record for completions in a season (224).
Buffalo completed its season with an overtime victory at Kent State, giving the Bulls a 5-3 record in the MAC while finishing the season 5-7 overall. After its best season since joining the conference, Buffalo finished atop the MAC East and earned a share of the division title with Miami (Ohio) and Bowling Green.
Top Row: Woods, Shannon, Richard; Middle Row: Scott, Starks, Hutchinson; Bottom Row: Byron, Niedermier, Roosevelt
A successful athletics season is the work of many individuals displaying their talents. In 2007, nine UB Bulls were recognized for their specific achievements on the field.
Senior punter Ben Woods was selected as a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award, which is given to the best collegiate punter in the nation and is based on various punting statistics, including total yardage punted, net average and average return yards.
UB had eight players named All-MAC after its record-setting 2007 season, which culminated in the Bulls earning a share of the MAC East division title. Freshman Davonte Shannon earned first-team kudos, while seniors Jamey Richard and Trevor Scott, as well as sophomore James Starks earned second-team accolades. Seniors Larry Hutchinson and Kareem Byrom, junior Jeff Niedermier and sophomore Naaman Roosevelt all were third-team selections.
In addition, Richard was invited to play in the Hula Bowl in Honolulu, HI, while Scott will participate in the Texas vs. the Nation game in El Paso, TX. These are senior all-star games that showcase players for NFL and professional scouts.
In her fourth and final year at UB, senior basketball forward Heather Turner once again received honors from the Mid-American Conference, this time as a preseason All-MAC East team member.
Turner has been recognized by the conference each year of her career in Blue and White. She was named the 2004–05 Freshman of the Year, then found herself on the Third Team All-MAC after her sophomore year. Following her junior year, she was chosen as an honorable mention in the postseason.
The West Seneca, NY, native is on pace to finish her career in the top 10 of both scoring and rebounding. Indeed, she was the fastest UB female basketball player to break the 1,000-point mark—a feat she accomplished in her junior year.
The university’s CHAMPS/Life Skills Program received the highest honor possible—the Program of Excellence—from the Division IA Athletic Directors’ Association at its annual banquet, which took place in Dallas, TX.
UB’s chapter of CHAMPS—which stands for “Challenging Athletes’ Minds for Personal Success”—was recognized for its success in helping to fully develop the university’s student athletes on academic, athletic and personal levels, along with contributing to the community and fostering athletes’ career preparation.
“The CHAMPS/Life Skills program,” says Warde Manuel, UB director of athletics, “is designed to help students grow—to grow not only in the educational environment, but also to grow as people and as citizens.”
This is the second time the UB program has been honored by the association. Last year it was selected as a Program of Merit.
Compiled by Jennifer Gillan, BA ’07, who is spending the 2007 academic year as a sports information intern for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL.