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Friday, June 21, 2024
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Holy Cross defeats UB football 37-31 in heartbreaking fashion

Bulls lose on Hail Mary as time expires to fall to 0-2

<p>UB football lost its home opener, 31-37, to Holy Cross on Saturday.</p>

UB football lost its home opener, 31-37, to Holy Cross on Saturday.

UB (0-2) dropped its second game of the season courtesy of a Holy Cross Hail Mary touchdown as time expired Saturday night. Post-game fireworks sent the Bulls to the locker room while the Crusaders celebrated their 37-31 victory at UB Stadium.

Holy Cross junior quarterback Matthew Sluka launched a 46-yard prayer that was caught by junior wide receiver Jalen Coker, leaving UB players and fans alike in shock. 

Despite the loss, junior starting quarterback Cole Snyder and graduate wide receivers Justin Marshall and Quian Williams all shined. 

Snyder went 23-for-34 passing with 305 yards along with three touchdowns. The Rutgers transfer threw a career-long 69-yard strike to Marshall for a touchdown in the third quarter. 

Marshall had five receptions for 115 yards and two touchdowns while Williams secured eight receptions for 105 yards. 

Sluka went 13-for-21 with 238 yards passing and threw three touchdowns for Holy Cross. He also led the Crusaders on the ground with 25 rushing attempts for 146 yards, as the Bulls defense struggled to stifle the mobile quarterback’s rushing attack throughout the night.

“I felt that, truthfully, we missed this type of attack,” Bulls head coach Maurice Linguist said in regard to containing Sluka. “I think we split off a few times. There were a few times we hadn’t gotten right at the point of attack.” 

While Sluka hadn’t used his receiving corps as much as expected, Coker was a key element of Holy Cross’ victory. Coker secured four receptions for 147 yards and two touchdowns — one being the game-winning Hail Mary.

The game marks UB football's first loss to an FCS opponent since 2016, when UAlbany upset the Bulls, 22-16.

Buffalo had many self-inflicted barriers, such as formation mistakes and blown coverages. They also ran into injury trouble, as junior defensive end Kyler Laing suffered a knee injury and was carted off the field. 

UB had 10 penalties for a total of 91 yards. The majority of the penalties against the Bulls were holding calls, along with an illegal formation call. 

“This game did not come down to one play,” Linguist said. “At the end of the day, 10 flags for a loss of 91 yards… that’s just not our brand of football.”

As for the rushing attack, redshirt freshman running back Mike Washington rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown while senior running back Ron Cook Jr. gained 33 yards on six attempts. 

The Bulls will look to rebound next week as they travel to Conway, SC to take on the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers Saturday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Dylan Greco is an assistant sports editor and can be reached at



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