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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Television men

     September 19, 1948 -- The television age, football division, arrived in Western New York on this date.

     Canisius College hosted St. Francis at Civic Stadium (later War Memorial Stadium) in the season opener. It's a little difficult to know just how many sets were tuned to WBEN-TV for that game, but some of them probably were turned off by halftime. The host Golden Griffins handed St. Francis a 61-0 beatdown.

     The station had signed on in 1947, and came on the air with regular programming in 1948. In fact, WBEN-TV used to broadcast live wrestling matches from Memorial Auditorium. WBEN's call letters stood for Buffalo Evening News, the owner of the station at the time.

     Getting back to football, wins were common for Canisius in 1948. The Griffins lost to Youngstown the week after the St. Francis win, but ran off six wins in a row before beating then-undefeated St. Bonaventure, 14-6.

     Canisius finished the season 7-1-1. That was good for some bowl bids, and Canisius went off to lose to John Carroll in the Great Lakes Bowl in Cleveland.

     Of the 40 players on the roster, six are members of the college's athletic Hall of Fame. Coach Jim Wilson is also honored in that manner.

--- Budd Bailey

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