UB's win over Temple a special one

Bulls' victory carried significant meaning for two players

Jon Simon
September 11, 2018 - 8:36 pm

Photo: UBBulls.com


The BuffaloBulls' win last Saturday over Temple was, arguably, one of the biggest regular-season victory in program history. Not only did it give the Bulls their first 2-0 start in their 20 seasons in the FBS, but it was a win over a program with a lot of recent success, on the road and in an NFL stadium.

The game meant a bit more to a pair of UB seniors in wide receiver Anthony Johnson and cornerback Cam Lewis, both of whom had incredible performances and were key pieces in the win.

Johnson had found out on Friday night that his childhood best friend and high school teammate was killed in South Carolina. Despite not wanting to at first, Johnson decided to play and led the team with six catches and 76 yards, along with scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just under a minute left in the game.

“A lot of us, if we lost a brother or close friend, wouldn’t be able to play,” Cam Lewis said at UB’s press conference on Tuesday. “A.J. really cares about this team and this brotherhood that we have. He kind of put his emotions to the side but it was still weighing on him, but he still went out and played and made a big impact on this game. We got each other’s back, whatever he goes through, whatever somebody else goes through, we just try to pick them up as best we can.”

Lewis made a big impact on Saturday himself. The defensive back became the first player with two interceptions in a game for UB since 2015. Lewis also was the player chosen to wear the no. 41 jersey against Temple, as a tribute to Solomon Jackson, a former teammate who passed away in 2016.

“[Jackson] had a lot to do with it,” Lewis said. “I just tried to not disappoint him. I just tried to play my best game and make Solo proud.”

This season, the Bulls' plan to have a different player wear the No. 41 jersey each week. Head coach Lance Leipold thought Lewis was a perfect guy for the Temple game to have his turn. Unselfishness was the trait Leipold used to compare Lewis to the late Jackson.

“We’ve asked Cam in different times in his career to do different things and there’s never been a wavering look on his face about what we ask him to do,” Leipold said. “He’s a hard working, team guy and plays the game for the right reasons.”

It’s not hard for this Bulls team to find motivation and inspiration to play; but Leipold believes the jersey tribute has brought something extra to this group, it’s something that provides an extra push.

“There’s a lot of deserving guys to wear the jersey,” said Leipold. “In these first two weeks I’ve really enjoyed what we’ve been able to do with it. It’s a nice way to remember Solomon and I know the guys that are wearing it and even the teammates that don’t, when they see success happening with that number I know it makes everyone feel good.”

Leipold hasn’t announced who will wear the No. 41 this Saturday against Eastern Michigan in their Mid-American Conference opener. Kickoff at UB Stadium is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. You can hear the game along with pre-game and post-game coverage on ESPN 1520.

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