On October 9 UTM students visited Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills to watch as they took on the “can’t miss” NFC pick for the Super Bowl: the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles come into the game with a lot of hype and were favoured to win by 3 points. The team is filled with Pro Bowl players, led by Michael Vick, their elusive, cannon-armed, $100-million quarterback, and prized free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomogha.
Sunday was a unique experience as UTMAC bussed 53 UTM students from campus to the stadium and witnessed the Bills’ 31-24 victory. This was their fourth win in five contests in a surprisingly hot start to the season.
The afternoon’s weather was uncharacteristic for Buffalo for this time of the year: sunny with a welcome breeze. The good weather allowed many UTM students the opportunity to cheer comfortably. Said fourth-year student Amanda Cho, “It was awesome. When we bought the tickets for a game in Buffalo in early October, we certainly weren’t thinking we’d end up wearing t-shirts and being treated to summer weather.”
The Bills did not disappoint the UTM fans (among 69,803 total in attendance). The defence intercepted Vick 4 times (a career high), and the Buffalo offence was just as effective, capitalizing on many Eagles blunders and late-game penalties. Bills’ quarterback Ryan “Fitzmagic” Fitzpatrick was efficient, but it was the Bills’ running back Fred Jackson who left the biggest impression on the UTM audience, finishing with 111 yards rushing and 85 more yards of caught passes.
The coordination of the trip was not easy, but the demand was clear. All but three available tickets were sold. As a result, UTMAC is looking to make this an annual event, and in particular to keep the trip in early October to help reduce the stress of midterms.
“We want to make this an every-year thing. The students loved it and it was just good to get out and see Buffalo,” said Kassim Baluch, UTMAC’s VP Administration.
Having the chance to unwind, for even just an afternoon, was a welcome opportunity for the UTM crowd. Fourth-year student Jeff Legge commented, “It was good to forget about being stressed at school, and be in a new city with my friends from school. It was an added bonus that the game was so exciting and close until the very end.”
Baluch’s experience was eye-opening and helped create an appreciation for the Bills. “It was crazy,” he added. “I’m not even a Bills fan and it was so much fun. Random people giving you a high five—and the crowd was nuts.”