While it may not be the sexiest matchup, UConn and Buffalo have plenty of history. This week will mark the 15th time that UConn and Buffalo have squared off since 1995, and since moving up to Division I-A in 2000, UConn has played Buffalo more times than any other non-conference opponent.
Overall, UConn leads the all-time series against Buffalo 16-4, and the Huskies have won 12 of their last 13 meetings, including the last eight in a row. Here's how the two teams have fared against one another recently.
2012: UConn holds on to beat Buffalo 24-17
Last year's game against Buffalo was nearly a disaster for the Huskies, who took a commanding lead late into the second half before nearly allowing the Bulls to storm all the way back and tie the game.
Leading 24-7 with under five minutes to go in the third quarter, UConn allowed a 50-yard rushing touchdown to make it 24-14, and then gave up a 43-yard pass shortly afterwards to set up a 44-yard field goal with 2:23 left to play.
After UConn recovered the ensuing onside kick, you would have thought that with such little time left, UConn would have had no problem running out the clock to win the game. Nope. Three quick plays later, UConn was forced to punt, and Buffalo got the ball back at their own 20 with a chance to send it to overtime.
Fortunately, UConn's defense was able to put out the fire before things got out of control. The Bulls recorded one quick first down, but were then forced into a 4th and 4 situation, when Yawin Smallwood stuffed Bulls quarterback Alex Zordich behind the line for a turnover on downs. UConn improved to 3-2 with the win, and the Huskies have not had a winning record since.
2011: McEntee secures starting job after leading UConn to a 17-3 win
One of the dominant storylines early in the 2011 season was UConn's ongoing quarterback controversy, in which new head coach Paul Pasqualoni still hadn't settled on his team's starting quarterback nearly a month into the season. Johnny McEntee, a redshirt junior walk-on, had been competing with Scott McCummings and Michael Nebrich for months, and though he had seen the majority of the snaps in each of UConn's first three games, Coach P still wasn't ready to hitch his team to the McEntee wagon.
That changed after McEntee threw for 213 yards with two touchdowns in UConn's decisive 17-3 win at Buffalo, earning him the starting job for good. Though his performance would be inconsistent the rest of the way – to the point where fans started booing him at home games late in the season – it's worth mentioning that at this point in time, McEntee was still best known for his trick shot video, and after years of watching the Tyler Lorenzen and Zach Frazer horror show, there was real interest among UConn fans in seeing what McEntee was capable of.
2010: Cody Endres leads UConn to 45-21 victory
Coming off of a 1-2 start and a bad loss to Temple, UConn really needed to get a win against Buffalo to keep their season on track. After the Huskies went into the half tied 14-14, head coach Randy Edsall decided to make a change, benching ineffective starting quarterback Zach Frazer in favor to Cody Endres.
The move paid off in spades. Endres responded by leading the Huskies into field goal range on their opening drive, and then on their next possession, he connected with wide receiver Michael Smith for a 56-yard touchdown pass to give UConn a 24-14 lead that would continue to grow from there.
Immediately after the game, Edsall confirmed that Endres would be the starter going forward, and at the time it seemed that UConn had finally found its answer at quarterback. As it turned out, Endres' tenure as the starter would be brief, as multiple failed drug tests would later result in his suspension and eventual departure from the team. When backup Michael Box was concussed in a blowout loss at Louisville, Frazer got his job back, and promptly helped lead UConn to five straight wins and an appearance in the Fiesta Bowl.
2009: UConn tops Buffalo 38-20 in the International Bowl
After a couple-year hiatus, UConn and Buffalo renewed their "rivalry" north of the border in the 2009 International Bowl. This game basically summed up UConn vs. Buffalo football, as it was a hilariously sloppy game that featured half a dozen turnovers and a UConn offense that quite literally boiled down to "hand the ball off to Donald Brown every play."
That's no exaggeration either, quarterback Tyler Lorenzen only attempted six passes the entire game, including just one in the first half. UConn also lost five fumbles, including four in the second quarter that resulted in 17 points for the Bulls in just 3:41 minutes of play. The Bulls wound up taking a 20-10 lead into halftime, and I distinctly remember wanting to bury myself in the snow while watching the game on TV.
Thankfully, UConn enjoyed the services of an All-American tailback who Buffalo had no prayer of stopping. Brown compiled 261 yards rushing in the game, and backup Jordan Todman added 62 yards of his own to rout the Bulls in the second half and give UConn a 38-20 win and its second ever bowl victory. It also gave us this fantastic and overly optimistic recap from the Bulls athletic department that was probably just as funny then as it is now.
2001: Buffalo wins 37-20 at Memorial Stadium
The last time UConn was beaten by Buffalo was in 2001, when the Huskies lost 37-20 at Memorial Stadium in just their second season at the FBS level. In that game, UConn took a 13-3 lead into halftime before getting absolutely annihilated in the second half, giving up 34 points and 314 yards of total offense while only mustering 7 points and 40 yards of their own.
As it turned out, neither team was actually any good regardless. Buffalo went on to finish the season 3-8, while UConn finished 2-9 in what remains the program's worst season since moving up to the FBS level.
1999: UConn wins 23-0, earns first win over FBS opponent
This is ancient history at this point, but it bares mentioning that UConn's first ever win over an FBS program came against Buffalo. In his first season as head coach, Randy Edsall led the still Division I-AA Huskies to a 23-0 win over the Bulls at Memorial Stadium. Buffalo had just returned to the FBS themselves that year and was basically an FBS team in name only, but it was still a milestone for the program and the first of many steps in UConn's journey to national relevance.