Brockport Defeats Buffalo State in I-90 Bowl

Brockport Defeats Buffalo State in I-90 Bowl
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Brockport snapped their two-game losing streak to Buffalo State with a 38-24 victory to win the I-90 Bowl.
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Caesarae Lewis had seven receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown to go with his 260 all-purpose yards.

The last time the Buffalo State Football team faced Brockport on the road, they snapped a 10-game losing streak to the Golden Eagles, but this time it was the Bengals turn to see their winning streak come to an end.

Brockport ended a two-game losing streak to Buffalo State in a 38-24 victory led by quarterback Joe Scibilia, who completed 21 of 33 passes for a career-high 374 yards and three touchdowns and an interception.

The Bengals had the ball first to start the game and it looked like Buffalo State was going to run away with the game following a 67-yard kick return on the opening kickoff by Caesarae Lewis, but the drive ended with a 22-yard field goal by Nate Benoit to give them a 3-0 lead.

“I just knew I had to come out and make a play early in order to have some momentum on the opening drive,” said Lewis. “It was something we went over the whole week in practice. Coach Lewis said it would be there and it happened. I felt as if we should’ve scored a touchdown, but hey it was three points.”

Buffalo State’s defense hurt themselves in the first quarter with penalties and Brockport responded with two touchdowns, a 1 yard run by Tyrone Nichols to take a 7-3 lead and then after Rich Pete was stopped on a fourth-and-1, the Golden Eagles scored once again with a 67-yard pass from Scibilia to Jordan Hogan to take a 14-3 lead.

The Bengals answered back with a quick five-play 77 yard drive capped off with a 35-yard touchdown pass from Casey Kacz to Lewis to close the gap to within four, but after stopping Brockport with a three-and-out, Buffalo State was once again stopped on fourth down and the Golden Eagles took advantage with a 33-yard field goal by E.J. Genzano to take a 17-10 lead.

Both teams traded punts on their following possession before the Bengals drove deep into Brockport territory, only to have their drive stalled on an interception by Kacz. Brockport had a chance to capitalize on the turnover, but Chris Hall intercepted Scibilia at the one yard line to keep the Golden Eagles lead at seven heading into halftime.

“Coach told me over and over that they were about to run the play action pass down low for us to bite on it, but I just stayed on it,” said Hall. “We watched film and we saw that was what they run near the end zone. I read it well.”

Buffalo State forced a Brockport punt on their first possession of the second half, but Kacz had his pass intercepted and returned for a score by Colby Morabito to give the Golden Eagles a 24-10 lead.

The Bengals responded with a 10-play 75 yard drive capped off by a one-yard touchdown run by Pete, but Brockport answered right back with a nine-play 75 yard drive of their own, scoring a touchdown on a 32-yard pass from Scibilia to Andrew Mrozek and the Golden Eagles led 31-17 heading into the fourth quarter.

“For the team at the time, it was big,” said Pete. “It was supposed to be our spark to turn things around, but things didn’t go the way we wished.”

Buffalo State’s next two possessions would result in punts and Brockport’s offense struck again, this time with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Scibilia to Mrozek, giving the Golden Eagles a 38-17 lead 10:52 left to play.

After exchanging punts yet again, Buffalo State caught a break on their next punt as Hall recovered the fumble on the Brockport return. Kacz would capitalize on the turnover with a one-yard quarterback keeper to make the game 38-24, but the Golden Eagles ran out the remaining 3:41 left on clock to secure the victory and the I-90 Bowl trophy.

Kacz followed up his record-breaking performance against Cortland, completing 26 of 47 passes for 295 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Pete had 14 carries for 26 yards and Lewis finished the game with seven receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown to go with his 260 all-purpose yards.

“We just struggled today, plain and simple,” Lewis said. “On the ground and in the air, we didn’t do a good job of executing the plays that we went over throughout the week.”

Defensively, Pasquale Vacchio led the team with 12 tackles with three of them for a loss while Matt Wesolowski had eight stops. Hall had an interception, fumble recovery and pass breakup to go with his three tackles.

“We knew it was coming at us,” Hall said. “We just bit on a lot of double moves. We just have to get better and work this week to look at the receiver’s hips and not look towards the quarterback and try to anticipate everything to get interceptions. We just have to keep our eyes on the receiver.”

The Bengals next game will be on the road against the No. 1 team in the nation and three-time defending national champion Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday at 1 p.m. CST.