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Penn State highlights UB football schedule

A road trip to Penn State and three home games against bowl teams from last season highlight the 2015 University at Buffalo football schedule, released today by the Mid-American Conference.

New head coach Lance Leipold will begin his UB career with a home game against lower-division Albany at UB Stadium on Sept. 5. Then the Bulls will make their second-ever trip to State College, Pa., to face Penn State on Sept. 12. Penn State went 7-6 last season and won the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

The bowl teams on UB’s home schedule are Nevada on Sept. 26, Bowling Green on Oct. 3 and Northern Illinois on Nov. 11.

Nevada is coached by St. Francis High School graduate Brian Polian, son of Pro Football Hall-of-Famer and former Buffalo Bills General Manager Bill Polian. Brian Polian is 11-14 in two seasons at Nevada and took the Wolfpack to the New Orleans Bowl last season. Former UB head coach Jim Hofher is Polian’s assistant head coach and receivers coach.

Leipold went 109-6 in eight seasons at Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater. He takes over a UB team that went 5-6 last year and will not be among the MAC favorites. However, UB returns most of the key pieces of an offense that scored a school-record 32.3 points a game last year. UB’s fortunes this season likely will depend on how quickly Leipold can make his defense competitive.

If UB can rebound on defense, it has a shot at a good season in the MAC’s East Division. The power in the MAC has rested with the West Division the past four years, and that figures to continue in 2015, at least according to preseason expectations.

UB plays both Mid-American Conference division winners at home. Bowling Green, two-time East champ, edged the Bulls, 36-35, last season. Northern Illinois, five-time West Division champion, has not faced UB the past two seasons and last visited UB in 2011.

UB’s other non-conference game is at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla., on Sept. 19. Florida Atlantic plays in Conference USA and went 3-9 last season.

lbany is UB’s lone game against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent.

The MAC will have 16 midweek, late-season games aired on one of the ESPN networks. UB’s midweek games are at Miami on a Thursday, at Kent State on a Thursday and Northern Illinois on a Wednesday.

Game times will be released in June.

The UB schedule:

Sept. 5: Albany

Sept. 12: at Penn State.

Sept. 19: at Florida Atlantic.

Sept. 26: Nevada.

Oct. 3: Bowling Green.

Oct. 17: at Central Michigan.

Oct. 24: Ohio.

Oct. 29: at Miami.

Nov. 5: at Kent State.

Nov. 11: Northern Illinois.

Nov. 21: at Akron.

Nov. 27: Massachusetts.