Skip to Content

1954 Buffalo Bulls Football

by Scott Hollander
University at Buffalo Libraries

Team photo

The 1954 edition of the Buffalo Bulls football team was Fritz Febel’s third year as head coach. His teams had struggled the past two years wining only 2 games and losing 12. But Febel was optimistic that things would turn around in 1954. He thought he had the finest group of backs to turn out at UB in a long time.

Heading Febel’s host of versatile backs was the experienced quartet of Ray Kennedy, quarterback, Bill Crowley and Pete Rao, halfbacks, and Bill Kindel, fullback. Two sophomore’s, Chuck Daniels and Dick Doll were also in the mix. Kennedy, Rao, Daniels and Doll were hard and accurate passers so Febel hoped to concentrate on an aerial attack.

Unfortunately, the offense and defense struggled and the season was not a success. During a four week period, Buffalo was outscored 131 to 7. Buffalo lost six straight games before finally beating St Lawrence University 13-6 on November 6, 1954 in a mostly empty Civic Stadium in Buffalo.

The highlight of the season was a 20-19 comeback win against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the final game of the season. Buffalo raced 94 yards on seven plays in the closing minutes for the win. Right half-back Paul Snyder whipped the final 33 yards as he straight-armed two rivals. Bill Crowley rail across the extra point for the decisive margin.

On September 1, 1954, U.B. named Clifford C. Furnas as the University of Buffalo’s 9th Chancellor. As mightily as the football Bulls had struggled the past 3 years, it was unknown whether the new Chancellor would support football and athletics in general. But Furnas, a chemical engineer, metallurgist, and aviator researcher, was also a former Olympic athlete participating in the 1920 Olympic Games. Dr. Furnas embraced athletics and helped develop a five year football plan for U.B. (see “UB Decides to Continue Football, Extend Aid to Athletes” Buffalo Courier-Express, November 28, 1954) So although the 1954 team won only two games, it passed it’s ultimate test. U.B. Football would stay with full support from the administration. Better days were ahead.

Action shot 2 Clifford C. Furnas Action shot 1 34

Team practice

1954 Buffalo Football Season

Date Home Team Score Visiting Team W-L-T Location
Sat, 9/25/19541 Cortland State 33 – 13 Buffalo L Cortland, NY
Sat, 10/2/19542 Buffalo 6 – 19 Brockport L Buffalo, NY
Sat, 10/9/19543 Hobart 45 – 0 Buffalo L Geneva, NY
Sat, 10/16/19544 Buffalo 0 – 26 Lafayette College L Buffalo,NY
Sat, 10/23/19545 Western Reserve 35 – 7 Buffalo L Cleveland, OH
Sat, 10/30/19546 Buffalo 0 – 25 Alfred University L Buffalo, NY
Sat, 11/6/19547 Buffalo 13 – 6 St. Lawrence University W Buffalo, NY
Sat, 11/13/19548 Buffalo 20 – 52 Brandeis University L Buffalo, NY
Sat, 11/20/19549 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 19 – 20 Buffalo W Troy, NY

Home: Civic Stadium, Buffalo, NY
Coach: Fritz Febel

  1. Cortland Wrecks UB’s Grid Opener With 20-6 VictoryBuffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 26 September 1954.
  2. Brockport Hands UB Second Reverse, 19-6Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 3 October 1954.
  3. Undefeated Hobart Blanks UB, 45-0; Morton Has 3 TDsBuffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 10 October 1954.
  4. Lafayette Puts Up Umbrella Defense To Blank UB, 26-0Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 17 October 1954.
  5. Reserve Bags 34-7 Victory Over BuffaloBuffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 24 October 1954.
  6. Unbeaten Alfred Hands UB 6th Straight LossBuffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 31 October 1954.
  7. UB Subdues Larries For 1st Win, 13-6Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 7 November 1954.
  8. Brandeis Beats UB, 52-2Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 14 November 1954.
  9. UB Rallies To Defeat RPI, 20-19Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 21 November 1954.

UB Decides to Continue Football, Extend Aid to Athletes

Gradual Return of Games To Rotary Field Planned

Continuation of University of Buffalo football for at least five years; the feasibility of forming an athletic conference of schools within an appropriate geographical area, and the extension of aid to worthy student athletes, among other students, were the highlights of a UB policy and program for athletics announced yesterday by Chancellor C. Furnas. In an unprecedented morning press conference in the living room of his home, Dr. Furnas outlined the aims of his long range program. A gradual return of football games to Rotary Field on the campus, from large but unfilled Civic Stadium, is planned. Rotary Field seats about 2,000, against approximately 36,000 for Civic Stadium.

“It is better to have games on campus than in a great, three quarters empty place,” Dr. Furnas said. “I don’t think that UB will ever be in really big time football, which would fill the stadium regularly. The Ivy League probably will be always out of our league.” “Athletes will be welcome.” Dr. Furnas continued. “We have no objection to having a top team. There are enough boys in Western New York who ordinarily would come here to do the job. We hope to get our fair share. We hope to adjust our schedule upward in a conference.” The 1955 UB football schedule, tentatively drawn up, will be appreciably the same as in 1954.

Scope of Conference

The scope of the projected conference would be approximately from Detroit to the Atlantic Coast, Dr. Furnas said in reply to a question. Among schools with which UB has had “casual conversation” about a conference are Western Reserve, Lafayette, Lehigh, Bucknell and Colgate. “I am not in a position to say how much money we are losing in football,” Dr. Furnas stated. “That depends upon how you keep the books. But certainly we are losing some money at the present time.” A rough guess as to the cost of putting Rotary Field into top shape and increasing its capacity to 6,000 was $100,000. “We will try to use what we have next year and play a game or two there,” Chancellor Furnas remarked. “We are not going into the open market and compete for athletes,” the chancellor told the conference. “We will be more helpful to students who can play football.”

According to the policy statement, “the university will welcome contributions from individuals or organizations for the aid of worthy students who maintain an adequate scholastic standing, and who need financial help. The division and apportionment of the total resources the university has for aiding students will reflect the fundamental intention to give financial help where it is needed most and where it can be used best for the student’s own
development, and for the eventual benefit of this society.

Recognize Activities

“In weighing qualifications for scholarships, the Scholarship Committee will be guided by the university’s desire to give full recognition to the value of extracurricular activities, including varsity sports, while avoiding exaggeration of the part athletic competition may desirably play in the student’s life and that of the university.” Chancellor Furnas said that this policy and program have been agreed upon in principle by three university groups: The Athletic Committee, the Scholarship Committee and the Alumni Athletic Council.

Buffalo Courier-Express, November 28, 1954