From Buffalo State College Athletics
BUFFALO, N.Y.— Dale Stewart’s (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) fourth touchdown of the game with 34 seconds remaining lifted Buffalo State to a 29-26 victory over visiting Otterbein in today’s non-conference season-opener at Coyer Field.
FINAL SCORE: Buffalo State – 29, Otterbein - 26
LOCATION: Coyer Field, Buffalo, N.Y.
RECORDS: Buffalo State (1-0), Otterbein (0-1)
INSIDE THE BENGAL BOX SCORE
• Stewart finished with 235 all-purpose yards, including 132 yards on 22 carries and had touchdown runs of 6, 5, 2 and 2 yards.
• Kyle Hoppy (Orchard Park/Orchard Park) was 17 of 37 for 202 yards with one interception with his favorite target being Madison Wesolowski (Elma/Iroquois) who had 10 catches for 118 yards.
• Bart Mazzara (Lockport/Starpoint) paced the Bengals’ defense with nine tackles, including one for loss, while Billy Carroll (Holtsville/Sachem East) had six stops with three for loss and a sack.
• The Bengals finished with 370 total yards of offense, including 168 on the ground.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Despite scoring first, Buffalo State trailed for most of the afternoon, until the last-minute go-ahead touchdown.
• Stewart capped a 51-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run on Buffalo State’s first possession to open the scoring.
• Otterbein answered on the ensuing drive to even the score at 7-7 with a 1-yard quarterback keeper by Logan Stepp.
• A bad snap in the end zone on a punt attempt by Buffalo State led to a safety for the Cardinals early in the second quarter to give Otterbein a 9-7 lead.
• Otterbein then capitalized on a short field after the free kick and converted a 22-yard Joe Sanfilipo field goal into a 12-7 lead.
• Buffalo State looked to answer on the next possession and drove to the Otterbein 4-yard line, but failed to convert a fourth-and-1, keeping the five-point deficit in tact at the intermission.
• The Bengals fumbled away their first possession of the second half, but a blocked field goal by Khalil Sommerville (Buffalo/Bennett) kept the difference at five points.
• Melvin Medina picked off a Hoppy pass just three plays later, and Stepp hit Hunter Joseph for a 50-yard touchdown strike on the very next play to lift the Cardinals to a 19-7 advantage midway through the third quarter.
• After consecutive punts, the Bengals cut it back to a one-possession game with Stewart’s second score of the game from 5 yards out, set up by a 43-yard grab by Wesolowski
• The Bengals appeared to be in position to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, but again turned the ball over on downs on a fourth-and-2 from the Cardinals 8-yard line.
• Stepp turned in back-to-back runs of 64 and 11 yards with the second going for a touchdown to extend the Cardinals’ lead to 26-14 with 11:18 remaining.
• Buffalo State answered with a nine-play, 73-yard drive on the next possession, culminating with a 2-yard run by Stewart to close the deficit to 26-21 with 6:50 remaining.
• The Bengals’ defense forced a punt, setting up the offense at its own 18-yard line with 3:33 remaining.
• Hoppy hit Nick Jones (Buffalo/W. Seneca West) with a 6-yard strike on an early fourth-and-5 to keep the drive alive, and Stewart’s fourth score of the day from 2 yards capped the 13-play 82-yard drive. Stewart also scored on the 2-point conversion to complete the scoring at 29-26.
• Otterbein took over at its own 23 and after a sack by Cliff Brown (Buffalo/McKinley) and Tyler Collins (Syracuse/Corcoran) on the first play, the Cardinals only had time remaining for a couple of desperation heaves.
• The win marks the fifth-consecutive opening-day victory for Buffalo State.
FOR THE FOES
• Stepp finished 15 of 28 for 210 yards and a score and had 12 rushes for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
• Joseph reeled in seven catches for 145 yards and a touchdown.
• Steven Carpenter led the defense with nine tackles, and Kyle Blust had five stops and two sacks.
• Otterbein totaled 355 yards of offense for the game.
Buffalo State will enjoy its bye next week before opening Empire 8 play at home on Sept. 17 against Alfred University.