Buffalo State Defeats Reigning National Champs

Buffalo State Defeats Reigning National Champs
See all 2 photos
Buffalo State defeated the reigning three-time Division III National Champion Wisconsin-Whitewater, snapping their 46 game winning streak which had been the longest active streak in college football
See all 2 photos
UW-Whitewater also saw their 30 game winning streak at home come to an end.

Coming off of a disappointing 48-28 loss to Brockport (3-0), not many people were expecting the Buffalo State football team to pull off an upset against the number one ranked team in the nation, but they shocked the world.

The Bengals defeated the reigning three-time national champion UW-Whitewater (1-1) with a 7-6 victory following a 10-yard touchdown pass from Casey Kacz to Ryan Carney with three seconds remaining. Buffalo State also snapped a 46 game winning streak for the Warhawks, the longest active streak in college football and ended a 30 game win streak at Perkins Stadium.

“This was the biggest win in Buffalo State Football history,” said head coach Jerry Boyes. “This shows us what we are capable of, and now we need to build on this.”

Buffalo State took the opening kickoff into UW-Whitewater territory following a 35-yard pass from Kacz to Carney, but Nate Benoit missed a 38 yard field goal. The Bengals’ defense then made a statement on UW-Whitewater’s first series with an interception by cornerback Chris Hall.

“It was big and it set the tone,” said Hall. “We were in man coverage and I just took a good look at the quarterback. I anticipated a little bit and then I picked it off.”

UW-Whitewater responded with an interception by cornerback Ryan Wenkman which eventually led to a 21 yard field goal by Eric Kindler to give the Warhawks a 3-0 lead.

Neither team could get anything going offensively for the rest of the first half as the Bengals punted the ball three times and the Warhawks punted once, missed a 41 yard field goal and ran the clock out to prevent anything from happening to their 3-0 lead heading into halftime.

“They were running coverages that they didn’t show much of on film,” said Kacz. “On film they showed a lot of quarters, Cover 4 and Cover 3, but they came out in the first half running a lot of Cover 2 which is something that we didn’t expect them to do and they kind of messed up our game plan.”

UW-Whitewater took the opening kickoff in the second half, but the Bengals’ defense forced a three-and-out. The Bengals’ offense drove down the field with a dink-and-dunk pass game mixed with a few runs, but it didn’t result in a score as Benoit missed another 38 yard field goal.

The Warhawks punted on their next possession but Kacz threw another interception to Wenkman. UW-Whitewater failed to capitalize yet again as Kindler missed a 45 yard field goal.

Buffalo State’s offense took advantage of the field position with a seven-play 60-yard drive to get them to the six yard line, but Ryan Cortez forced a fumble by Kacz and it was recovered UW-Whitewater’s Kyle Wismer.

Both teams exchanged punts on their next possession before UW-Whitewater’s offense took the field with 7:07 left in the fourth quarter. The Warhawks worked the clock with a 15-play 52-yard drive, resulting in a 29 yard field goal by Kindler and a 6-0 lead with 1:35 left in the game.

“I was a bit nervous, said Carney. “We had to go eighty yards with like a minute and a half, but I thought we were going to get it done. We work on it in practice all of the time, so we had to execute and that’s what we did.”

The Bengals started the drive with a 14 yard pass from Kacz to wide receiver Sherman Nelson, but then Kacz had two incompletions and was sacked.

Buffalo State had a 4th-and-19 on their 30 yard line with 48 seconds left, but managed to convert it with a hook-and-ladder pass. Carney caught the pass and pitched it to running back Rich Pete, who then pitched it to running back Brooks Estarfaa for a 39 yard gain. John Beers had a personal foul penalty called after the play resulting in a 20 yard loss, but the Bengals were still given the first down.

“We practiced that play almost every week,” Kacz said. “We had a feeling it was the perfect time for it, so we mind as well try it. Not many plays in our playbook can get us 19 yards on a fourth down and that was one that worked perfectly just as we practiced.”

An eight yard run and incomplete pass by Kacz set up a 3rd-and-2 at the Warhawks’ 43 yard line and Kacz converted it with a 33 yard screen pass to Ismail Brooks. He was pushed out of bounds at the 10 yard line with 15 seconds left.

“I think they had an idea that we were going to throw the ball out to the flats, which we do a lot of times in short yardage situations,” Kacz said. “I think the linebackers flew out to the flats and we dumped it to Manny Brooks, who did a great job once he got the ball.”

Two incomplete passes later set up a 3rd-and-goal where Kacz found Carney in the end zone with a back shoulder pass to take the lead 7-6 with three seconds left.

“The original play called at the sideline was for me to run a slant and we figured that there wasn’t enough time if I didn’t get in the end zone,” Carney said. “Casey suggested a slant-and-go and it worked perfectly. As soon as I got in the end zone, he threw it back shoulder. I turned and caught the pass with nothing, but smiles.”

On the following kickoff, UW-Whitewater downed the squib kick at their 33 yard line, giving their offense one play to left to try to win the game. Quarterback Lee Brekke threw a Hail Mary pass, but it was picked off by Hall, securing the victory for Buffalo State.

“I just looked up and I saw the ball right away,” Hall said. So, I just jumped as high as I could and it fell into my hands.”

The Bengals’ defense held UW-Whitewater to 311 yards of total offense. Pasquale Vacchio led with 19 tackles and Hall finished with six tackles and two interceptions, bringing his total to six in three games.

Kacz completed 18 of 33 for 274 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. Carney had four receptions for 79 yards and a touchdown and Ismail Brooks had 3 receptions for 56 yards.

“It was better than winning the state championship,” Kacz said. “I can’t compare this to anything. Just kind of the way we won today. We were very prepared for them. I can’t even describe this adrenaline rush compared to anything else.”

Buffalo State (2-1) will look to build off of this win when they make their Empire 8 Conference debut this Saturday at home against Alfred (1-1) at 12.30 p.m. The Saxons are coming off a 28-7 victory over St. Lawrence.