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1917 Buffalo Football

by Scott Hollander
University at Buffalo Libraries

Team PHoto

Although it was initially unclear as to whether football would be played in 1917, Art Powell’s team overcame wartime conditions (see U.B. Will Have Football TeamBuffalo Courier, 23 September 1917) and finished the season with a respectable .500 record with 4 won and 4 lost.

The highlights of the season included the overwhelming defeat of the University of Rochester in that city by the score of 28-0 and a 27-7 whipping of Thiel College at the Buffalo Baseball Park. A Thanksgiving Day roasting of an over-matched Hobart squad (45-0) ended the season. (see Powerful Attack of U.B. Overwhelms Hobart, Score 45-0Buffalo Courier, 30 November 1917)

Not since the varsity football revival in 1915 had the blue and white exhibited such a varied attack. The small Buffalo football team was headed in the right direction and the future of athletics at the University of Buffalo seemed bright despite world events.

1917 Buffalo Football Season

Date Home Team Score Visiting Team W-L-T Location
10/13/19171 Buffalo 12 – 6 Penn State Normal W Buffalo, NY
10/20/19172 Rochester 0 – 28 Buffalo W Rochester, NY
10/27/19173 Buffalo 6 – 13 St. Bonaventure L Buffalo, NY
11/6/19174 Buffalo 0 – 7 Westminster College L Buffalo, NY
11/10/19175 Buffalo 0 – 7 Hamilton College L Buffalo, NY
11/17/19176 Buffalo 27 – 7 Thiel College W Buffalo, NY
11/24/19177 Detroit University 20 – 7 Buffalo L Detroit, MI
11/29/19178 Buffalo 45 – 0 Hobart College W Buffalo, NY

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

  1. Penn State Normal Loses to U.B., But After Game FightBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 14 October 1917.
  2. Crippled Line Unable to Hold Buffalo RushesRochester Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, NY, 21 October 1917.
  3. Intercepted Pass for 85-Yard Run Defeats U.B., 13-6Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 28 October 1917.
  4. U.B. Withstands Ferocious Drive, Then Line WaversBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 7 November 1917.
  5. Hamilton Trounces U. of B.Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 11 November 1917.
  6. Cooper and Wolfe Lead U.B. Eleven to Win Over ThielBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 18 November 1917.
  7. U.B. Unable to Halt Powerful Detroit ElevenBuffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 25 November 1917.
  8. Powerful Attack of U.B. Overwhelms Hobart, Score 45-0Buffalo Courier, Buffalo, NY, 30 November 1917.

U B will have football teamU. B. WILL HAVE FOOTBALL TEAM

Not So Large a Squad as Heretofore, but Game Will Not Lag.

Prospects are bright for a successful football season at University of Buffalo despite war conditions.

According to Chester C. Cott, manager of the University Athletic association, athletic activities will be continued this year in the same manner as formerly.

“Of course our football squad will not be as large as usual,” said Manager Cott today, “but neither will the other colleges. We will at least have a well-trained team.”

Manager Cott is of the belief that the public will welcome college athletics as be fore and that war conditions will not affect the patronage of the games to any great extent.

“As far as I have noticed in Buffalo the war has had absolutely no effect on the drawing power of athletic activities,” he declared today. “Therefore we have hopes of a successful football season.”

Buffalo Courier, September 23, 1917

Powerful Attack of U.B. Overwhelms Hobart, Score 45-0Powerful Attack of U.B. Overwhelms Hobart, Score 45-0

Quarterback Can Saves Team From Annihilation — Buffalo at Its Best.


An ambulance driver, back from many a perilous voyage through the mud of Flanders, saved Hobart college from total annihilation yesterday afternoon at Buffalo Baseball park. The bulldog tenacity of Quarterback Carr prevented an utter rout of the Genevans as the University of Buffalo bombing parties made their last raid of the 1917 campaigns. The casualties read: University of Buffalo 45, Hobart 0.

His uncanny tackling, his five, seven and ten-yard advances through the mud of what once was the prized preserve of one Patrick J. Donovan, gave Carr the football cross for preventing the destruction of his teammates in a game that exacted everything in the shivering frames of twenty-two warriors.

Splendidly equipped by his maneuvering near the kaiser’s goal, Carr gloried in attack and defense, foiling the varsity’s efforts to equal Columbia’s seventy-point victory over the Genevans.

Turkey Day Feast for U.B.

Once a nightmare in the football dreams of the varsity, the orange and black of Geneva shrunk into a pleasant handle of holiday dreams and before twilight Powell’s men had extracted the wishbone from the enemy as a sacrifice for the holiday and trimmed it with seven touchdowns and three goals, the largest accumulation of points in the Buffalo record this season.

Outlasted in the first period, tied into knots in the second, outplayed in the third. Hobart fell to the wet sod a much worn eleven in the final fifteen minutes. Not since the varsity football revival in 1915 has the blue and white exhibited such a varied attack, rewarded with such brilliant success.

Whole Team Awakens

Assured of the effectiveness of Burns,Cooper, Wolfe and Swiados, generally conceded to be the breastworks of Powell’s defense. Powell found some of his Rip Van Winkles coming to life and thereby hangs the reason for the marked success against the one all-powerful Hobart. “Carp” Sehmitz, the ponderous, punishing tackle, Tillpu, the corpulent, militant guard, Cmyrcasinski, the turbulent, spontaneous left guard and Straney and Hayes, the left and right flanks, are joined in the awakening to form a wel1-balanced team over which Hobart had no control.

Passes, forward and literal, were effective against the unstable Hobart tackles and ends. Wolfe and Burns, the latter culminating a fruitful scoring season by some long runs, was a combination that repeatediy brought the varsity within sight of the visitors’ goal posts by flinging long, accurate passes. Burns and Wolfe were supported by a line that held well and there was little left to do for Hobart but to hope for a small score.

Woefully weak at aerial attack, the Gerevans used Carr overtime to pierce the varsity line and he met with remarkable success. But their runs were mere punctuations, not the consistent advances that led to touchdowns and no less than six fumbles marred the valiant work of the backs who were so strange to the ball that when they received it there was an immediate parting.

Powell’s linemen were ever vigilant for fumbles and they corralled four during the afternoon’s skiing party ever the treacherous gridiron. Peffer and Schott were dangerous obstacles to the varsity’s progress, smearing even the militant Sehmitz and the corpulent Tillou.

Never Had a Chance

From the time that Hayes recovered Humboldt’s fumble on Hobart’s first attempt to rush after the kickoff, the Genevans were through as far as victory was concerned. As if the first turn of the horoscope had been decided against them they immediately sagged into a slow, easy pace and Powell’s bombing party never ceased hurling,

Burns perforated the Hobart’s secondary defense after eight minutes of play with a forty-three-yard run with Wolfe’s pass for a touchdown. Cmyrczinski’s recovery of a fumble paved the way for this touchdown. This ended the score for the first period but it opened unexplored territory and Powell’s men were ready to see an opportunity for an old-fashioned scoring bee in the second period.

Hayes received a forward pass from Wolfe standing on the fifteen-yard line and proved to an elusive open field runner, evading three tacklers who were dead sure of bringing the booter down. Wolfe wore down the opponent’s tackles with three successive plunges, tearing a big gap through which he marched a few minutes later for his second touchdown.

Score After Score

Clark became inoculated with the scoring germ and followed Wolfe with fifteen-yard charge which added six more points. Before the half was over Burns ran twenty yards for his second touchdown and swelled the first half score to thirty-eight points. Hobart bolstered in the third period, making three first downs, but all this was done in their own territory. Schmitz scored on an Annette Kellerman dive through right tackle for the final score.

Buffalo Courier, November 30, 1917