Skip to Content

1916 Buffalo Football

by Scott Hollander
University at Buffalo Libraries

University of Buffalo's limited but efficient football squad

In January of 1916, Daniel Mellen, the University of Buffalo football team manager, announced the fall schedule. Opening with the University of Pittsburgh eleven at Pittsburgh on September 30 and closing the season on the local gridiron on Thanksgiving Day with Hobart College, the U.B. football team was scheduled to play ten games.

But by the end of the spring semester, the University of Buffalo football team still did not have a coach. Finally, in late July, a contract was signed by Arthur Powell to coach the football team, succeeding Frank Mount Pleasant, who led the Buffalo boys the first year of the college’s rejuvenation on the gridiron. Powell had coached the U.B. basketball team the previous season but had never coached football.

U B and Saint Bonaventure on gridironIncredibly, with a registration of more than 1000 students at the university, only 4 men reported for the first day of practice. From four the squad grew slowly until it reached twenty at its maximum. With the late start to practice and the small number of players, Buffalo cancelled the Pittsburgh game scheduled for September 30th.

By late October with the team winning only once against two loses, coach Powell appealed to the “slackers” to help with the U.B. football team. He thought his efforts to develop a football system at the university were impeded by at least seven would-be players who were reluctant to make a little sacrifice to help the cause. They refused to come out for the team. This group included five veterans of the 1915 team and maybe five newcomers who were well drilled in the rudiments of the game. A few weeks later, Powell pleas were heard as a few players from the 1915 squad started to show up replacing injured teammates.

In November, the team started to play much better. A win in New Wilmington, PA against Westminster College was followed by a zero-to-zero home draw against a powerful Detroit team. The season ended on a high-note with a
Thanksgiving Day victory against Hobart. The season started with just a handful of players but finished strong.

The relative success of the 1916 season was a attributed to the coaching of Powell. The athletic authorities thought he rescued the college game in Buffalo and decided to offer him a long-term contract.

1916 Buffalo Football Season

Date Home Team Score Visiting Team W-L-T Location
9/20/19161 Pittsburgh Buffalo Pittsburgh, PA
10/7/19162 Allegheny College 29 – 0 Buffalo L Meadville, PA
10/14/19163 Buffalo 9 – 7 Thiel College W Buffalo, NY
10/21/19164 Rochester 14 – 2 Buffalo L Alfred, NY
10/28/19165 Geneva College 7 – 0 Buffalo L Beaver Falls, PA
11/4/19166 Buffalo 0 – 0 Grove City College T Buffalo, NY
11/7/19167 Buffalo 0 – 12 St. Bonaventure L Buffalo, NY
11/11/19168 Hamilton 19 – 0 Buffalo L Clinton, NY
11/18/19169 Westminster 0 – 7 Buffalo W New Wilmington, PA
11/25/191610 Buffalo 0 – 0 Detroit University T Buffalo, NY
11/30/191611 Buffalo 6 – 0 Hobart College W Buffalo, NY


Home: Buffalo International Park, East Ferry St and Michigan Ave

Coach: Arthur Powell

  1. Buffalo Cancels on PittRochester Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY, 31 August 1916.
  2. U. of B. Loses First Game of Season to AlleghenyBuffalo News, Buffalo, NY, 9 October 1916.
  3. Cooper’s Dash and Goldberg’s Kick Win for U.B. 9 to 7Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 15 October 1916.
  4. Penalties Prevent Yellow from Building Larger ScoreRochester Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY, 22 October 1916.
  5. Fumble in First Period Beats U.B. in Great BattleBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 29 October 1916.
  6. Plucky U.B. With Crippled Team Holds Grove City to Scoreless Tie in Fine GameBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 5 November 1916.
  7. U.B. Succumbs to Smashing Attack of St. Bona TeamBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 8 November 1916.
  8. Hamilton Smashes AlongUtica Daily Press, Utica, NY, 13 November 1916.
  9. U.B. Wins From Westminster By Forward Pass; 7-0Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 19 November 1916.
  10. U.B. Holding Detroit to Scoreless TieBuffalo News, Buffalo, NY, 27 November 1916.
  11. U.B. Outplays Strong Geneva College TeamBuffalo News, Buffalo, NY, 1 December 1916.

VarsityVarsity Gives to Attack of St. Bonaventure Team

End Runs Decide Brilliant Contest — Score 12 to 0

The University of Buffalo eleven gave way before the St. Bonaventure team on the afternoon of November the seventh at the International Baseball Field before one of the largest crowds of the season. Fighting desperately almost on the visitors’ goal line they varsity was unable to penetrate the enemy’s powerful line and lost by a score of 12 to 0.

The Buffalo backfield had better form than the visiting quartette, but the blue and white were not heavy enough to withstand the onslaughts of the St. Bonaventure giants. Although Powell’s first line of defense was outweighed, they battled gamely and showed a better knowledge of the game than did the visitors who frequently and continually resorted to sledge-hammer and ringside tactics.

The ground-gaining by Wolf, Cooper and Goldberg was the outstanding feature of the varsity’s game little fight against the terror of the minor colleges.

U.B. chose to defend the south goal. Carmount of St. Bona kicked off to Cooper, who received it, and with splendid interference succeeded by dodging and squirming in gaining twenty yards before he was finally down. The next two
plays brought ten yards by Cooper, but a play around the end resulted in a loss; the varsity was forced to punt. Wolf succeeded in booting the ball for forty yards, O’Brien returning it for twenty. On the next play the visitors who continually disregarded the rules of the game were penalized fifteen yards for holding. O’Brien tried a drop kick but failed, and the blue and wight took the ball on the twenty-yard line.

Wolf punted to Carmount, who went around the end for ten yards. The visitors were not able to make their downs and lost the ball to U.B. On the first down Buffalo was penalized fifteen yards for holding. Wolf punted on the next play to Cahill, who ran it back.

To start the second quarter, Crosetti, a giant fullback, hit the line, gaining seven yards. Crosetti then brought the ball on the next play to the two-foot line. U.B. then held like a stonewall and the visitors lost the ball on downs. Wolf received the ball and punted out of danger to O’Brien, who advanced twenty yards. On the next play Carmount running with the ball made forty yards, bringing in the first touch-down. Slavin failed to kick goal.

Wormier received the ball on the kick off and made eight yards before being downed. Next, forward passing was tried but after three failed Wolf punted ball again to O’Brien, who advanced twenty yards.

Carmount made five yards on a left end run and O’Brien ran forty yards on the next play, gaining their second and last touchdown. Slavin was unable again to kick goal.

All through the game Wolf showed the strength of his right leg in punting and Cooper, Goldberg and Worimer featured in long gains.

The game was held with the same score until the final period each side fighting desperately, until Fahley circled the end for ten yards. Nolan then carried the ball for another ten yards, and Cooper passing to Pickering made a gain of twenty yards. Worimer was the replaced by Goldberg, who with two consecutive line plunges brought the ball within two feet of the enemy’s goal. On the next play the Blue and White tried hard to buck the heavy line, but were unable to get the ball by and the game closed 12-0 in St. Bonaventure’s favor.

The University Bison, December 1916