Niagara Gazette — AMHERST — The University at Buffalo is having a grand opening celebration for its football team today.
After losses on the road at No. 4 Ohio State and No. 22 Baylor, the Bulls are back in town playing SUNY rival Stony Brook of the Football Championship Subdivision in a much-anticipated home opener (3:30 p.m., ESPN3, 1270 AM).
Two hours before kickoff, the band Blues Traveler will kick off a tailgate concert series in the newly constructed Stampede Square adjacent to UB Stadium, part of athletic director Danny White’s effort to enhance the game day experience.
“It’s truly all about game day this fall and we want to build a culture that celebrates the college football experience available right here in Western New York on the UB campus,” White said in a news release.
White announced Friday on Twitter that UB has sold more than 21,000 tickets to the game, and the announced attendance will count the number of students in the stands and the number of tickets sold. UB announced a crowd of 21,933, the seventh-largest in school history, for its 2011 opener against Stony Brook.
“I’ve never been more excited to play in front of a home crowd,” sophomore quarterback and Williamsville South graduate Joe Licata said.
“There’s a buzz around Buffalo for this football game.”
Senior receiver and Grand Island graduate Alex Neutz has helped in creating that buzz, who ranks second in the nation with an average of 147.5 receiving yards per game.
“It feels good, it’s encouraging, but I can’t truly enjoy it until we start getting some Ws,” Neutz said.
“It’s been a long two weeks on the road and it’s just nice to get back for the home crowd this weekend and show what we can do at home.”
UB is the only team in the country to open the season with two road games against top 25 teams. The average field temperature at kickoff for those games was 108 degrees.
Stony Brook, ranked 14th in the FCS, is 1-0 and coming off a 24-0 win over Rhode Island last week.
UB won the only previous meeting between the two schools, 35-7.