PITTSFORD, NY (Buffalo State Press Release)- Buffalo State (5-4/3-3) forced four turnovers and limited No. 25-ranked St. John Fisher (6-2/3-2) to just 227 yards of total offense to claim a 17-9 victory in is regular season finale Empire 8 game today at Growney Stadium.
Buffalo State allowed just 118 passing yards and had three fumble recoveries and an interception. Jordan Boser (Geneva, IL/Geneva) helped anchor the Bengals' defense with eight tackles and a sack and forced fumble. Sean Littlejohn (Cohoes/Cohoes) also had eight stops, including three for loss, and Pasquale Vacchio (Glen Head/North Shore) had eight tackles and a forced fumble.
Ryan Lehotsky (N. Royalton, OH/N. Royalton) started the game under center, going just 2 for 5 for 20 yards with two interceptions. Casey Kacz (Amherst/Sweet Home) came on in relief and was 9 of 18 for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns to lead the Bengals back from a 9-0 deficit. Rich Pete (Utica/Proctor) was a work horse, carrying the ball 31 times for 165 yards.
Fisher quarterback Ryan Kramer finished 14 of 27 for 118 yards with a pick. Cody Miller led the Cardinals on the ground with 28 carries for 113 yards, and Mason Judd had a game-high 11 tackles.
Fisher jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first half, before the Bengals cut the deficit to 9-7 going into the intermission. The Cardinals opened the scoring in the final minute of the first quarter with a 4-yard run by Alex Stacy, but missed the extra point.
After Lehotsky's second interception of the first half, the Cardinals got on the board again with a 36-yard field goal, but Buffalo State answered immediately with an 11-play, 72-yard drive, capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass from Kacz to Caesarae Lewis (Newbern, AL/Sunshine) with 2:43 remaining in the half to cut the deficit to just two.
The Bengals took their first lead on the opening drive of the second half, marching 63 yards on eight plays, ending with a 25-yard scoring reception by John Beers (Syosset/Syosset).
After Fisher's third lost fumble of the game, Buffalo State went to work again, driving deep into Cardinals' territory before backing up and settling for a 34-yard Nate Benoit (Grand Island/Grand Island) field goal, pushing the lead to 17-9 early in the fourth quarter.
Fisher drove into Buffalo State territory and had a first down at the Bengals' 13 with less than four minutes remaining. Buffalo State's defense stood tall yet again, forcing a fourth-and-12 that ended with a Mike Burton (Bay Shore/Bellport) interception in the end zone, and the Bengals were able to run out the clock.
The Bengals finish the regular season 6-4 overall, securing their first winning season since 2000, and have improved their record for the fourth-consecutive year. Buffalo State has an outside shot at getting an ECAC Bowl bid, but will have to wait until after next week's games for an official announcement.