Published December 18, 2018
MOBILE, ALABAMA – The UB Bulls have arrived down South.
Buffalo touched down at Mobile Regional Airport just after 2 p.m. Central Time on Tuesday, where the team and its travel party were greeted with sunshine and temperatures in the upper 60s, a welcome change from the 25-degree cold when they departed Buffalo.
Obviously, the Bulls are looking forward to their game against Troy on Saturday in the Dollar General Bowl — a win would be UB’s first-ever bowl victory — but they’ve also got their eyes, and stomachs, on the seafood available in this port city.
“I’m for sure looking forward to all the food. I love to eat — that’s one of my main hobbies being a defensive lineman,” said Chuck Harris, a senior from Detroit.
“I’m going to try everything I can,” added center James O’Hagan, a senior from Seaford, New York.
Both Harris and O’Hagan will be playing in their final collegiate football game. “It’s been an awesome ride and the conclusion — being here in Mobile — it’s great,” said O’Hagan. “It means so much to me. I have so many friends on the team that I consider brothers, and it’s just such an honor to suit up with them one more time.”
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson welcomed both teams during a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Mobile Marriott. Stimpson recalled the site visit UB coach Lance Leipold, Director of Athletics Mark Alnutt and a few players made to Mobile a week and a half ago.
“I went out on a limb and I guaranteed them that the weather would be better in Mobile than it was in Buffalo and I assumed that they would just bring the whole town down here,” Stimpson said. “And I looked at my phone right before coming here and it looks like we’re going to have great weather for the game.”
“Mayor, thank you for delivering on the weather,” Leipold said, adding that the Bulls are excited to experience Mobile and the Southern hospitality for which it is known. The team and staff enjoyed a kickoff party featuring Southern goodies at the team hotel Tuesday evening.
And, of course, there’s the game Saturday, pitting the 10-3 Mid-American Conference East champion Bulls against the Sun Belt Conference’s Trojans (9-3).
“Our respect for Troy and Coach (Neal) Brown has grown immensely. You can see why his reputation and the reputation of his program is what it is,” Leipold said. “We’re excited. We’re honored to be a part of this and we look forward to a great game on Saturday.”
While this is UB’s first trip to Mobile, Troy has been here before, winning the Dollar General Bowl in 2016. “This is a destination city for us. We’ve had a lot of success here recruiting. We’ve had a lot of success at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, a lot of fine memories,” Brown said.