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1964 Buffalo Bulls Football

by Scott Hollander
University at Buffalo Libraries

Team photo

Coaching staffThe 1964 football season marked Dick Offenhamer’s 10th year as the University at Buffalo’s head coach.

A coaching shake up was rumored during the summer of ’64.  Speculation persisted that Dick Offenhamer would pass the head coaching duties over to Buddy Ryan, who turned down an assistant coaching post with the Buffalo Bills.  But the rumors turned out to be false.

Ad: It's happening today on channel2Buffalo rocketed into the 1964 football season bullying Boston University, 35-0, in an impressive display of power and personnel. Offenhamer’s forces converted two pass interceptions and a blocked punt into scores and otherwise manhandled the Terriers.

The Buffalo-Boston University football game represented a “first” for the University at Buffalo as the September 19, 1964 game was televised from Boston by Buffalo’s NBC affiliate.

Earlier in March, Buffalo asked the NCAA for permission to televise six of its home football games during the 1964 season—via WNED-TV, Buffalo’s educational channel. But the request was denied.

In mid-October, an estimated 21,000 spectators watched in War Memorial Stadium as the Bulls struck for two 4th quarter scores to edge the Virginia Military Institute Keydets. Jim Duprey’s pass interception keyed Buffalo’s comeback as Buffalo defeated V.M.I., 14-10.

senior quarterback Don GilbertShortly after the victory, the Bulls’ head coach Dick Offenhamer expressed confidence in the programs direction. (see “Bulls are Close To ‘Big Time’” Buffalo Courier-Express, 19 October 1964)

In November, senior quarterback Don Gilbert lead Buffalo to victory over the University of Richmond, 28-13. Don Gilbert blossomed his senior year for the Bulls. He set a school record for total yardage (rushing and passing) in 1964, and was 19th in the nation in total offensive yards. These accomplishments earned him the 1964 Dom Grassi Award as UB’s Athlete of the Year.

After graduation, Gilbert played in the Canadian Football League, as a defensive back for the Ottawa Roughriders from 1965-67 and later was a highly successful coach at the University of Ottawa.  Gilbert is a member of the Bennett High School Hall of Fame, University at Buffalo Hall of Fame and the University of Ottawa Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.

The 1964 football season came to an abrupt and snowy conclusion two hours before the scheduled finale with Villanova when it was decided that snow-covered Rotary Field was unplayable.  An early season lake-effect snowstorm dumped heavy, wet snow throughout Western New York.  It was the second time in 11 years that a Bulls’ final football game has been snowed-out.

1964 Buffalo Bulls Football Season

Date Home Team Score Visiting Team W-L-T Location
Sat, 9/19/19641 Boston University 0 – 35 Buffalo W Boston, MA
Sat, 9/26/19642 Cornell University 9 – 9 Buffalo T Ithaca, NY
Sat, 10/3/19643 Buffalo 22 – 24 University of Massachusetts L Buffalo, NY
Sat, 10/10/19644 Marshall University 14 – 12 Buffalo L Huntington, WV
Sat, 10/17/19645 Buffalo 14 – 10 Virginia Military Institute W Buffalo, NY*
Sat, 10/24/19646 Buffalo 14 – 20 Holy Cross L Buffalo, NY
Sat, 10/31/19647 Buffalo 27 – 0 University of Delaware W Buffalo, NY
Sat, 11/7/19648 Buffalo 28 – 13 University of Richmond W Buffalo, NY
Sat, 11/14/19649 Buffalo 6 – 7 Colgate University L Buffalo, NY
Sat, 11/21/196410 Buffalo canceled Villanova University Buffalo, NY

Home: Rotary Field, Bailey and Winspear Avenues. *Game played at War Memorial Stadium, Jefferson Avenue and Best Street.
Coach: Dick Offenhamer

  1. UB Shows Power, Routs Boston, 35-0” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 20 September 1964.
  2. Cornell Rally Ties UB, 9-9” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 27 September 1964.
  3. Redmen Beat UB, 24-22; Buffalo Miscues Are Costly” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 4 October 1964.
  4. Marshall Jolts UB, 14-12” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 11 October 1964.
  5. Bulls Beat VMI, 14-10, Before 21,000” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 18 October 1964.
  6. Lenti, Cunnion Pace Crusaders Over Bulls, 20-14” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 25 October1964.
  7. Buffalo Bulls Shock Delaware, Win 37-0” Niagara Falls Gazette Niagara Falls, NY, 1 November 1964.
  8. Don Gilbert Paces UB’s 28-13 Victory” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 8 November 1964.
  9. Alert Colgate Defense Downs UB, 7-6” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 15 November 1964.
  10. UB Ends Season Idle; Snow Blocks Villanova Contest” Buffalo Courier-Express Buffalo, NY, 22 November 1964.

Newspaper clipping: Bulls are close to big timeCommon Foes Compared

Bulls are Close To ‘Big Time’

By Bob Powell

How far from that mystic strata of “big time” football is the University of Buffalo? The Bulls’ coach Dick Offenhamer is convinced that it isn’t too far, basing his thesis on the results of recent games.

The Buffalo eleven downed the Virginia Military Institute, 14-10, Saturday in War Memorial Stadium and John McKenna, coach of the Keydets, rated the Bulls on a par with another one of his team’s conquerors, the University of Virginia.

McKenna was speaking with the vivid authority of having just lost to Buffalo and having suffered a 20-19 setback the previous Saturday to the Cavaliers.

At the time UB was staging a rallying triumph before 21,000 spectators. Virginia was unpatriotically sabotaging the U.S. Military Academy football team, 35-14.

McKenna, whose team hasn’t outscored an opponent yet, also is an expert on the powers of Villanova. Predicting a Villanova victory in its meeting (Nov. 21 at Rotary Field) with UB. McKenna observed that the Wildcats probably have the best starting eleven in the east.

Competition Is Tough

“It just goes to show, that you don’t have to play Penn State or Syracuse to be in tough competition,” Offenhamer said Sunday as he prepared to review the UB-VMI game on film.

But, the question then presents itself: How long will it, be before the Bulls get into play against the likes of the East’s Big Five-Army, Navy,Syracuse, Penn State and Pittsburgh?

It certainly would be a foolishly ambitious move to do it on a basis of comparative scores, but history (cia football brochures) shows that Syracuse, for instances, played Villanova, Holy Cross, Colgate, Cornell, Boston University and other equally rated teams only a few years.

Future Buffalo football schedules, far from fully filled with teams, already includes the likes of Boston College and Iowa State. What’s to prevent a few additional name schools like Vanderbilt, Tulane, Rice and West Virginia from showing up?

On the Bulls’ victory Saturday, Offenhamer still expressed satisfaction with his team’s showing. If there was one disappointing feature, according to the coach, it was in the passing game.

Passing Was Off

“I’m not unhappy with the passing, but our receiving was below par. There were four passes that should have been caught. Don(Gilbert) hit on only four of 15 of his throws, but it wasn’t his fault at least four times.”

Buffalo Courier-Express, October 19, 1964