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Thursday, February 29, 2024
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Tajay Ahmed earns scholarship during UB Spring Game

NFL players look on as sophomores battle for starting quarterback job

Running back Al-Jay Henderson (22), wide receiver Quian Williams (3) and wide receiver Ali Fisher pose for a photo during the UB Spring Football Game.
Running back Al-Jay Henderson (22), wide receiver Quian Williams (3) and wide receiver Ali Fisher pose for a photo during the UB Spring Football Game.

Horns went sky-high this Saturday as the white team bested the blue team, 38-12, in the annual UB Spring Game. 

Former Bulls greats Jaret Patterson, K.J. Osborn and Cam Lewis were in attendance at UB Stadium to watch the highly-anticipated game, which featured senior running back Tajay Ahmed securing a scholarship. 

The game was an opportunity for Maurice Linguist’s record-setting recruiting class to show up and show out, with dozens of roster spots left by graduating seniors and transfers needing to be filled. Linguist was looking for successors at key positions, from quarterback to running back and the offensive line.

But the most touching moment of the day brought the two sides together for roars of cheers and high-fives, as Linguist announced that Ahmed, a Lockport native and Starpoint High School grad, had received a full scholarship during the first half.

Ahmed was swarmed by teammates and hoisted into the air during the feel-good moment.

“It’s more like a battle in your mind to [work] consistently, be disciplined and stick to your routine,” Ahmed said about the work he put in to earn his scholarship.

“Tajay did an outstanding job. I am so happy that we were able to reward him for the work he’s put in,” Linguist said.

Another bright spot of the event was senior kicker Alex McNulty. The Rochester native had an up-and-down 2021 campaign, but he was successful on all three of his field goal attempts — from 40, 49 and 50 yards out — playing for both sides.

The white side prevailed over the blue side thanks to its strong offensive attack — paving the way for a prepaid steak dinner, while the losing side commiserated with hot dogs. 

Redshirt freshman running back Al-Jay Henderson powered the white teams to victory with 87 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries. 

Defensively, senior defensive tackle Daymond Williams spearheaded the white team’s victory with seven tackles, three pass breakups and a sack. He also turned a fumble into a recovery and touchdown.

On the blue side, redshirt freshman cornerback Demarco Cuffey recorded seven tackles while redshirt defensive end Solomaine Bambara posted an interception and four tackles.

Sophomore quarterbacks Casey Case (white team) and Cole Snyder (blue team) went head-to-head as starting quarterbacks, a matchup that ended in a stalemate. Case went 10-for-22 for 116 yards while Snyder went 9-for-20 for 158 yards. 

“All the guys have had their moment all spring,” Linguist said about his quarterback room. “All the guys have ability. We’re not in a position right now to name a starter and put a hard line on it.”

Current NFL players watched the action unfold from the sidelines, looking for standouts and reminiscing on their UB days.

“You have to treat the summer as training camp,” current Bills cornerback and UB alum Cameron Lewis said about the job Linguist will have to do to get his larger-than-usual recruiting class up to speed. 

“I think all these guys could play in the NFL, so I just try to tell them [they can] and be the example,” Jaret Patterson, a 2021 UB grad and current Washington Commanders running back, said as he scoped the field for talent.

The Bulls will return to the field for preseason camp this August and kick off the 2022 season on Sept. 3 at Maryland.

Kayla Sterner contributed reporting to this story.

Sophie McNally is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at

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Sophie McNally is an assistant sports editor at The Spectrum. She is a history major studying abroad for a year from Newcastle University in the UK. In her spare time, she can be found blasting The 1975 or Taylor Swift and rowing on a random river at 5 a.m.  



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