Category Archives: College Football

Buff State Ends Season on a High Note

Buff State Ends Season on a High Note
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Freshman Running Back Rich Pete is a big reason why the Bengals had an undefeated record at home this season. He rushed for 435 yards and 4 touchdowns on just 46 carries in Buffalo State’s four home games.
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Senior Safety Kevin Healy helped improve the Bengals run defense in 2011.

The last time the Buffalo State Bengals’ Football team finished with a record of .500 or better was in 2000 when the team held a 7-4 record as the ECAC Northwest Champs.

The Bengals (5-5) won’t be champions this season, but they’ll take their .500 record as a sign of improvement following a decade of losing seasons.

“Coming here when I was a sophomore, we went 2-8,” senior offensive lineman Aaron Roy said. “I never would’ve imagined going 5-5 my senior year. It’s a huge improvement and I’m glad that the juniors have a great stepping stone for next year.”

The Bengals started their season with a 1-3 record, but they focused more on the fundamentals and ended up winning four of their last six games.

“In the beginning, we were hurting ourselves with penalties,” said junior linebacker Pasquale Vacchio. “Now, we’ve cut down on the penalties. On defense, we’ve stopped the run [well]. We’re getting better with the pass game, but overall, we’ve just played better fundamental football.”

The Bengals’ season started off slow for the offense with Ryan Lehotsky as their starting quarterback, but they broke their record for most points scored by a team in a game with an 82-17 victory over Western Connecticut State. Casey Kacz took over for Lehotsky as the Bengals’ starting quarterback, though, following their 53-24 blowout loss to Montclair State.

Kacz finished the season with a 4-2 record as the starter. He ended the season completing 59.5 percent of his passes for 1,532 yards, eleven touchdowns and five interceptions. With Kacz as their quarterback, the Bengals’ spread offense was able to grow and the team was able to establish their identity better.

“[Our offense has] grown because we’ve had guys step into roles that they really didn’t have at the beginning of the year,” said Kacz. “The freshman Rich Pete has really stepped up for us big. Every game someone different has stepped up which is big. From the first few games, I feel like we were just finding out who we were as a team.”

Pete finished the season with a team-high 753 yards and nine touchdowns and was a big reason for his team going undefeated at home with a 4-0 record for the first time since 1999. In the Bengals’ four home games, Pete rushed for 435 yards and four touchdowns on just 46 carries.

“It feels great to be undefeated at home,” Pete said. “It gives me an outlook for next season that we really can be a winning team. We will definitely build and go to the playoffs next year, I believe.”

The Bengals might have a chance to contend next year because not only has their offense improved, but their defense also did a good job of fixing one of their biggest weaknesses over the last few years. Opponents averaged 191.4 rushing yards per game in 2009 and 196.5 yards per game in 2010. This year, the Bengals did a much better job, allowing an average of just 132.1 yards per game.

“The key for our defense has been stopping the run,” senior defensive back Kevin Healy said. “I haven’t really seen a team be able to run on us all year. We definitely improved from last year. Last year, we had some trouble stopping the run, but overall we’ve definitely [become] a lot better in the run game.”

The Bengals appeared to put forth more effort in practice as the season wore on and it showed during games when they were able to bounce back from their mistakes.

The Bengals did lose some close games though, but they were able hang around with the good teams in the fourth quarter.

“We lost a couple close ones, but our confidence has gone up a ton,” senior fullback Ben Mauer said. “We know that we can stick with the good teams. We should’ve beaten the good teams, but we let them slip away in the end.”

The Bengals will be without starting seniors Kevin Healy, Phil Graziadei, Ben Mauer, Aaron Roy, Kimani George, and Dan Mizro next year due to graduation, but the team is still very young and things look promising for the Bengals going forward.

Bengals Prepare to Join the Empire Eight

Bengals Prepare to Join the Empire Eight
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Casey Kacz will try to hold onto the starting quarterback job over Ryan Lehotsky as the Bengals switch from the NJAC to the Empire Eight.
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Josh Mims will be taking over the safety position with Kevin Healey leaving due to graduation.

The Buffalo State Football team will be joining the Empire Eight Conference this season in an effort to cut down on travel time after spending the past six seasons in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

The Bengals will be joining a conference which features five New York teams in Alfed, Hartwick, Ithaca, St. John Fisher and Utica and two Maryland teams in Frostburg State and Salisbury.

Buffalo State will also be maintaining their rivalries with Cortland and Brockport as they’ll square against each team within the first two games of the season. The Bengals signed a two-year contract with the defending Division III National Champions Wisconsin-Whitewater and will face the nonconference opponent on the road in Week 3.

Heading into the 2012 season, the Bengals will bring the NJAC’s top offense and look to have similar success. The Bengals averaged 36.6 points per game offensively and boasted the top rushing offense, averaging 208.9 yards per game and 29 rushing touchdowns. They also had the third best passing offense, averaging 223.3 yards per game.

Casey Kacz appears to be the frontrunner for the starting quarterback job over last season’s opening day starter Ryan Lehotsky. Kacz lead the Bengals to a 4-2 record over the final six games of the season and Lehotsky began the season with a 1-3 record, helping break four Buffalo State records in their 82-17 victory over Western Connecticut State.

“He has motivation because he wants to start and its motivation for me because I know that I can have my spot taken from me at any time like he had his spot taken last year,” Kacz said. “I know the same thing could happen to me. If he plays better in camp and just outperforms me, I know they won’t hesitate to put him back in because he knows the offense just as well as I do and he’s a good competitor and a great quarterback. I know with him right there, I have to constantly be pushing myself.”

The Bengals also have an interesting competition at the running back position since Richard Pete showed he could handle the load when opening day starter Ismail Brooks became hampered by an injury. Pete rushed for 753 yards and nine touchdowns on 100 carries while Brooks rushed for 478 yards and 8 touchdowns on 100 carries.

“I think Ismail Brooks and Richard Pete made a lot of strides,” offensive coordinator Greg Forest said. “Those guys understand their roles a little bit better than last year. They understand that not only are they going to be in the backfield toting the rock, but they’re going to be out there catching passes as well which will put more pressure on the defense and make our offense more diversified.”

At the wide receiver position, Mike Doherty figures to start after leading the team with 46 receptions for 659 yards and four touchdowns. Caesarae Lewis finished second on the team with 31 receptions for 387 yards and three touchdowns and will look to compete for the other starting job with Justin Medley, David Jacobs, John Beers and Joe Ferraro. Zachary Best will start at tight end.

The offensive line will feature three returning starters in center Kyle Shreve, left guard Josh Jesonowski and right tackle Brendan Barthel. Adam Hurd, John Knudsen and Mike Feirabend will compete for the left tackle and right guard jobs.

Defensively, the Bengals will still operate in a 4-2-5 defensive scheme and will look to improve the NJAC’s third best run defense which allowed just 132.1 rushing yards per game.

“We just continue to get better,” linebacker Brandon Hodgins said. “Kids keep getting older. We got more kids coming in that can play ball. We’re looking to have a really solid defense this year.”

The defensive line has yet to be determined but Sean Littlejohn, Ben Denn, Steve Murphy, Jahi Owens, Craig Klemick, Will Doerr and Gorden Schubert all figure to be a part of the rotation.

At the linebacker position, last season’s leading tackler Pasquale Vacchio will have to battle Jordan Boser and Eddie Weiser for one of two inside linebacker jobs. Brandon Hodgins and Matt Wesolowski appear to be the favorites to occupy the Bengal and Tiger positions which are similar to a hybrid safety/linebacker role.

In the secondary, Josh Mims will switch from cornerback to safety as the team looks to improve the NJAC’s second worst pass defense after allowing 220.9 yards per game. Cortland-transfer Joe Manasani will look to battle Jeff Moore, Sean Mapp and Isaac Clark for the two starting cornerback positions.

“My expectations for the team this year are high,” Mims said. “Coming from last season with all of the close games we were in and just how we couldn’t finish at the end. We were in all of those games and we should’ve won them. We just had a couple of mental errors that broke us down, but I believe those errors and mental blocks are not going to prevent us from winning games this year.”

The Bengals will begin training camp August 10 with the regular season beginning at home against Cortland on September 1 at 12pm on Coyer Field.

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.

Bengals Finish Spring Practices

Bengals Finish Spring Practices
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According to the coaches, there will be a wide open competition at every position, including wide receiver. Mike Doherty led the wide receivers last season with 46 receptions for 659 yards and 4 touchdowns
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Brandon Hodgins played in just one game last season due to injury, but he appears to have recovered and is ready to help the Bengals contend for a Conference Championship

The Buffalo State football team successfully concluded spring practices this past Friday showing signs of improvement as the team prepares to split up for summer break.

“I’m pleased with what we saw during the course of our spring practices,” head coach Jerry Boyes said. “Is it a true judge? Not really because we don’t practice with helmets and shoulder pads. What I saw from the team which is crucial to success besides having talent was the working together aspect of the players. They’re building great trust and faith in each other with everybody living up to their responsibilities that they have. A lot of questions remain as we go into our fall preseason, but I think we accomplished the things we wanted to accomplish during our spring practices.”

From the looks of the practices so far, it appears that the returning starters from last year are the front runners for the starting job heading into training camp. As of right now, it appears that Casey Kacz will be the starting quarterback, along with Zachary Best at tight end, Kyle Shreve at center, Josh Jesonowski at left guard and Brendan Barthel at right tackle.

The running back competition currently looks to be a three-player competition between Rich Pete, Ismail Brooks and Brooks Estarfaa. Last year, Pete led the team with 753 rushing yards and nine touchdowns while the starter Brooks rushed for 478 yards and eight touchdowns. Estarfaa finished the season with 311 rushing yards and four touchdowns.

At the wide receiver position it looks like it’s going to be a battle between Mike Doherty, Caesarae Lewis, Justin Medley, David Jacobs, John Beers and Joe Ferraro. Doherty and Ferraro started the majority of the games last year, but the Bengals like to rotate their receivers around a lot and each player should receive a fair chance at significant playing time.

“I believe with the receiving corps we have, the catches will be spread out more,” Doherty said. “We have three receivers that will be getting the ball a lot, so it’ll be a lot different. The more receivers we have, the harder it’s going to be to cover all of us. I think it’s much better that way.”

Along the offensive line, the Bengals have two starting positions up for grabs in left tackle and right guard and the three leading candidates as of now appear to be Adam Hurd, John Knudsen and Mike Feirabend.

On the defensive side of the ball, every position will be a wide open competition according to defensive coordinator Terry Bitka.

“I would be hard pressed to name starters right now until the pads go on,” Bitka said. “My philosophy as far as defense goes is that we want runners and hitters out there and it starts up front. We’ve got to be able to stop the run better. We did a good job and improved in that area. Now we’ve got to be able to get after the quarterback and offset his timing.”

The linebacker competition should be interesting since Eddie Weiser has returned to Buffalo State after pursuing a MMA career. He’s a former NJAC rookie of the year that will challenge Jordan Boser and Pasquale Vacchio, the Bengals leading tackler last season.

At the Tiger and Bengal positions which equate to a hybrid safety/linebacker role, the early favorites to start appear to be Matt Wosolowski and Brandon Hodgins, who played in just one game last year before an injury sidelined him for the rest of the season.

The defensive line will have only one returning starter in Jahi Owens and since coach Bitka likes to rotate his defensive linemen around, it’s safe to say that every player will be given a fair chance to win a starting spot.

“Over the past few years, I’ve received a decent amount of playing time, not as much as I would’ve liked, but I’ve received a fair chance,” junior defensive lineman Gorden Schubert said. “Everybody’s been given a fair chance to get a starting spot. We are all athletic in the way we play on the d-line and anybody can take anybody’s position on any given day.

In the secondary, Josh Mims has moved from cornerback to safety, leaving Buffalo State with two cornerback spots to fill. Jeff Moore, Sean Mapp and Cortland-transfer Joe Montesanti look to be the leading candidates to fill them.

The Bengals will head home following exams for summer break before returning to Buffalo State for training camp sometime in August.

“I can’t wait until August,” said Bitka. “I’m excited about the direction we’re going in. I expect us to be working toward becoming a dominant defense. We put a lot of pride into what we do on our side of the ball and we want to be able to play with high effort and intense attitudes. I want to become a defense that people will respect and fear.”

Its Recruiting Time

It's Recruiting Time
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Senior defensive lineman Kimani George is a good example of how a recruit can change positions and still be effective
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Caesarae Lewis wasn’t used much at ECC, but at Buffalo State he has found a home and has been effective

While the Bengals finished their season on a high note, they are about to lose some seniors to graduation, and now they need to fill in their roster.

The coaches will begin their recruiting process the Monday after Thanksgiving and split up into different high school regions all across New York State. The coaches will spend three weeks meeting with their potential high school recruits.

“Now is just getting out there and introducing ourselves, making them aware that Buffalo State is an option,” assistant coach Christian Ozolins said. “We shoot for kids that are Division I possible and Division II. Those are the kids we feel we’ve been able to luck out on. Some of those kids don’t want to talk to us yet. They still think that they’re going to get a scholarship. They don’t realize right now at this point, if they haven’t been offered, they’re not getting one.”

When all of the coaches get back from their road trip, they’ll sit down and run all of their possible recruits through a recruiting system before getting a little break for the holidays.

Once January begins, the coaches will spend about eight hours per day watching highlight tapes of their recruits in their film room, next to Head Coach Jerry Boyes’ office. For three weeks the coaches will spend their time trying to figure out which athletes they want to pursue.

From there, the coaches will start calling those athletes and try to convince them that Buffalo State is the right choice for them despite the fact that Buffalo State can’t offer scholarships.

“We offer nothing,” Ozolins said. “All we offer is what we can get through financial aid. What we offer is the opportunity to come in and get a great education for a great price and an opportunity towards working our way back to one of the best college football programs in the East.”

Freshman running back Richard Pete came from TR Proctor High School in Utica and contributed right away for the team this year. Pete led the team with 753 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns, but he shined in the Bengals’ last four games, scoring eight touchdowns, six rushing and two receiving.

A lot of teams overlooked Pete because of his size. When it became clear to him that he wasn’t going to get a scholarship, he decided to look at Division III schools. That’s where the Bengals’ coaching staff capitalized.

“I got a call from coach Ozolins telling me that he wanted me to come visit,” Pete said. “He told me about Buffalo State and how they were trying to rebuild this program. I came from a program where we were rebuilding ourselves, so I figured it would be a good place for me. When I came on my visit, I liked the environment and I like the players. I thought Coach Boyes was a good coach and I thought that I could come in and participate in the program, so that’s why I chose Buffalo State.”

Recruiting doesn’t just take place in high school though. It also takes place in community colleges.

Sophomore wide receiver Caesarae Lewis is a prime example of how community college athletes can transfer over and have an immediate impact. He finished second on the team with 1,032 all-purpose yards.

“I ran into a few problems at [ECC] and things didn’t work out over there,” Lewis said. “The only thing they had me playing was kick return really, and I know that I am a great receiver. I was searching around and a few of my coaches were telling me to go over to Buff State and I decided to come.”

Recruits don’t always turn out as expected though as was the case with senior defensive lineman Kimani George. George came to Buffalo State hoping to play tight end, but he immediately switched over to defensive end and ended up finishing his career with 10.5 sacks over his final two seasons.

“When I came here, I sent [the coaches] my highlight tape on everything as a tight end, but when I showed up here at orientation, they told me I’m playing defensive end,” George said. “I felt kind of sad at one point, but I knew they thought I was good enough to play the position and obviously they saw something in me that qualified me to play the position.”

Kacz Hopes High School Success will Transfer to Buff State

Kacz Hopes High School Success will Transfer to Buff State
Casey Kacz helped lead the Sweet Home Panthers to a perfect 13-0 record and a state championship while completing 68-percent of his passes for 1,647 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions in his senior year.
In the Kensington All-Star High School Game, Casey Kacz was named the North team’s offensive MVP. Fellow Buff State teammate Mike Doherty received the Spirit award in the same game.

After former high school state champion quarterback Casey Kacz decided to commit to Division II Chowan University instead of Buffalo State two years ago, the Bengals thought that they would never hear from him again.

However, Kacz was redshirted in his first season with the Hawks and after making unsuccessful transfer to Division II Edinboro University, this time as a backup; he decided to call head coach Jerry Boyes to talk about the possibility of returning home to play for Buffalo State in front of his friends and family for the first time since high school.

“He called and quite frankly, I didn’t even know he was at Edinboro,” Boyes said. “Once someone makes their decision and moves on, they’ve made a decision. When he told me he was at Edinboro, it was a little bit of a surprise to me because I didn’t know that. He called one day and I said great, we have a meeting coming up, I’ll see you there.”

The last time Kacz had played in Western New York was back in 2008 with state champion Sweet Home High School where he completed 68-percent of his passes for 1,647 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions that year. He also helped lead the Panthers to a perfect 13-0 record to go along with his 23-1 record as a varsity starter.

With those high school glory days far behind him, Kacz came to Buffalo State in hope of finally landing an opportunity to start at the college level, but when he first joined the Bengals, Ryan Lehotsky was already the starting quarterback.

Once again, Kacz had to begin another season as a backup and learn his fourth different playbook in as many years.

This time though, he had a friend in wide receiver Mike Doherty who could help him learn the playbook and become more comfortable with the team. They used to play little league football together for TTFA and played in the Kensington High School All-Star game where Kacz was named offensive MVP on the North team.

“It established a comfort level because I knew a couple of guys’ names coming in, but I wasn’t really that close with anyone,” Kacz said. “Coming in and seeing a face that I knew made me more relaxed and comfortable in the offense because I could ask him questions and know that he was going to be on the same page as me right away. I still knew what kind of receiver he was and where he liked the ball and stuff so we clicked right away.”

After Buffalo State opened their season 1-3, the Bengals decided to make the quarterback change from Lehotsky to Kacz. They finished the season winning four of their last six games to reach a .500 record for the first time since 2000.

Kacz finished the season completing 122 of his 205 passes for 1,532 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He also ran for 359 yards and six touchdowns on 71 attempts.

Since the end of last season, Kacz has been determined to take the Bengals to the next level and has often been seen after practices working with his receivers. His dedication to winning has certainly rubbed off on some of his teammates.

“Having him staying after practice like this every day to work on his stuff with his wide receivers is the difference maker right now,” three-year left guard Josh Jesonowski said. “Last year we weren’t staying out afterwards, but now we have the drive to win the conference championship and then the national championship.”

With spring practices coming to an end this week, it’s clear that Kacz has emerged as Buffalo State’s opening day starting quarterback heading into the 2012 season. He’s become more comfortable as a result too, now that he knows that he’s earned the respect of his teammates.

“Going into next season will be my second year with the program which is something new in college, said Kacz. “It’s definitely going to make the fall a lot easier, having this past season to look back on to look at mistakes and what we did well. I think it’s a lot easier now that I have more respect from guys on the team because when you transfer in at first, you’re kind of like the new guy. Now that I have a year under the belt, guys know what they expect of me and it’s a lot easier to lead.”

Buffalo State Ends Season Without an ECAC Bowl Game

Buffalo State Ends Season Without an ECAC Bowl Game
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The Buffalo State football team didn’t receive an ECAC Bowl Bid, but they did finish with their first winning season since 2000
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The Bengals had the seventh hardest strength of schedule in the nation. Their opponents had a combined 59-39 record and a .602 winning percentage.

Following the Buffalo State football team’s season-closing victory over St. John Fisher on Nov. 3, the Bengals had an outside shot at an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) bowl bid.

However, Buffalo State (6-4, 4-3 Empire 8) was denied the opportunity to continue its season on Monday. The team’s first winning season since 2000 wasn’t enough to earn a bid from the ECAC selection committee.

The committee chose Endicott (8-2, 6-1), St. John Fisher (7-3, 4-3), Castleton (7-3, 6-1), Springfield (7-3, 5-2), Norwich (7-2, 4-2) and Alfred (6-3, 5-2) to play in the North Division’s three Bowl games.

The Bengals ended their season with the seventh-hardest strength of schedule in the nation. Their opponents finished with a combined 59-39 record and a .602 winning percentage, including a 21-8 record and a .734 winning percentage by non- conference opponents..

“It’s another step,” head coach Jerry Boyes said. “In some regards I think that the guys are probably disappointed. Personally, I looked at this team to get at least seven wins because my unwritten goal this year was to make the playoffs and whether that was a NCAA or an ECAC, it would’ve shown the real growth of where we are.”

The Bengals’ season-opening 49-31 victory over Cortland brought along high expectations for the rest of the season. They racked up a school-record 706 offensive yards. Quarterback Casey Kacz threw for a school-record 579 passing yards and tied a school-record with five touchdown passes.

Two weeks later, in what was perhaps the program’s biggest victory, the Bengals defeated three-time reigning national champion UW-Whitewater 7-6, snapping the Warhawks’ 46-game winning streak in the process.

“The Wisconsin-Whitewater game stands out to me,” Kacz said. “It’s the most exciting victory I’ve been a part of and it was the most exciting atmosphere I’ve played in. It’s one of those memories that you’ll remember for years to come.”

With the win, the Bengals earned some time in the Division III football national spotlight. They answered that publicity by dropping three straight games, all at home, to conference foes in the following weeks.

Backed by a stout defensive game, the Bengals bounced back the rest of the season and won their last four games, allowing an average of just 13.5 points per game.

Buffalo State began its four-game winning streak with a 21-14 victory at Ithaca, in which its allowed just 253 yards of total offense and forcing three turnovers. The Bengals’ defense followed up with another strong performance at Frostburg in a 22- 7 victory in which they allowed just 97 passing yards.

During Buffalo State’s Homecoming Weekend and Senior Day, Hartwick led 24-13 in the fourth quarter, but the Bengals scored two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes to secure a 27-24 victory.

In its final game of the season, Buffalo State fell behind 9-0 at St. John Fisher early in the second quarter, but the Bengals defense pitched a shutout in the second half en route to a 17-9 victory.

“The game that stands out to me is probably beating St. John Fisher because they beat us 55-7 my freshman year,” senior linebacker Jordan Boser said. “It felt good to beat them at their place.

“It was a little disappointing, but being 6-4 is still a lot to take home. We’ve come a long way from being 2-8 my freshman year. It feels good.”

Kacz finished the season 148 of 265 for 2,168 yards with 11 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Rich Pete led the ground game with 703 yards on 129 carries. Ryan Carney led receivers with 47 receptions for 786 yards and four touchdowns.

Linebacker Pasquale Vacchio had a team-high 118 tackles and two forced fumbles. Cornerback Chris Hall recorded six interceptions to lead the Bengals. Defensive linemen Dez Howard and Brian Greene tied for the team lead with three sacks.

Heading into next season, the Bengals will lose 11 senior starters. Vacchio, Boser, Brandon Hodgins, Matt Wesolowski, Sean Littlejohn, Shiem Graham, John Jesonowski, Brendan Barthel, Zachary Best, Ryan Lehotsky and John Beers will be graduating.

“It’s kind of disappointing because as far as the team went, we all had hopes to make the playoffs,” Carney said. “We went on a four-game winning streak at the end of the season and we lost a couple of games that we shouldn’t have.

“It’s kind of disappointing, but it’s still a great feeling. At the end of the day we didn’t accomplish the goal that we set out for.”

Kacz noted that the team needs to build on its season-closing four-game winning streak.

“We just have continue to do what we did these last four games, which was continue to play good defense, not turnover the ball a lot and just keep the team chemistry that we have,” Kacz said.

Denard Robinson- you are Ridiculous!!!

Denard Robinson- you are Ridiculous!!!
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*As a lifelong University of Michigan fan, I’m not kidding myself with visions of a perfect season or a BCS Bowl game. Not with this 2010 sieve of a Defense. And while last season Michigan was 4-0 before collapsing- this seems different. Exciting- definately! Magical- possibly(?) But before you tell me how crazy and presumptuous I’m being, please oblige me the chance to bask in the excitement and optimism that one very unique and unbelievably  talented athlete offers all Maize and Blue fans…….

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 In the world of College Football, there are so many unknowns at the beginning of each season. Which teams will exceed expectations and which will disappoint? Which players will step up and surprise by their play? Which player will captivate American sports fans with his dazzling performance? And….who will be the starting QB for the University of Michigan Wolverines in 2010?

Denard “Shoelace”  Robinson has provided these answers for us already in the first 5 weeks of the season. As the fastest athlete to ever play the QB position full time, Denard has exploded onto the national scene in the same exhilarating way that he overwhelms all 11 men on opposing defenses. But what makes him truly unstoppable is his drastic improvement as a passer of the football. “Shoelace” is pumping out Madden-like statistics, while leading his mediocre Wolverine team to a 5-0 record. But the numbers can’t capture his dominance. In this case, you really must see to believe……………


The University of Michigan has the most victories, highest winning percentage and multitudes of outstanding players in their 130 year history. Now consider……. Denard Robinson has put up the  1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 11th biggest single game, total yardage performances in Wolverine history…… in his first 5 starts!!! He has personally accounted for yardage totals of 383, 502, 345, 189, 494! Through the first five games, Robinson has already totaled 1,913 yards of total offense- 905 rushing yards and 1,008 passing yards. Shoelace is the nation’s leading rusher, as a QB, with 181 yds/gm. And these totals were reached despite Robinson playing only half of the 1st quarter vs. Bowling Green- a game in which he amazingly had 189 total yards and 2 TDs in the 9 minutes that he did play.  

Yes, he is small. Yes, he is slightly built. But as it may be, “Shoelace” is a boy among men- an unbelievably explosive, agile boy with a strong arm and keen intellect. A boy running circles around a group of gumpy, lead-footed, middle aged men who still can’t move past the days when they came so close to making the team…. the high school team….. 3 decades ago. But, with his frame and caution-to-the-wind running style, can he handle the abuse he will certainly receive from a full season of big-boy football (Big 10)? This is the only question that remains in regards to Denard. What is out of the question, is whether or not Denard Robinson is the most unstoppable player in College Football in the year 2010. Health maintained, the elite talent of “Shoelace” will prevail!  

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The Heisman Trophy is awarded to “the most OUTSTANDING college football player in America.” I understand that we’re only 5 games into the season, but can a case be made that any player, on any team, in the year 2010, is a more Outstanding football player  than Denard Robinson has already proven to be?! If so, what is the criteria used to make this determination? Best final statistics? I hope not, although Denard should hold his own. A dominant team? A national championship? Compelling, but no player has recruited or coached up the talent on the rest of his team. No, I would think that “Outstanding” refers to the most dominant, unstoppable, game-changing  NCAA football player. One who exudes greatness and drives his team to exceeding results. If we’re in agreement, these are exactly the qualities which Denard is displaying, even against a Big Ten team and the 2nd winningest program in the history of college football (while leading winning, last second drives in each game).  Says Indiana coach Bill Lynch: “He’s one of those guys that’s just different. He’s got speed. He’s got awareness. He’s got instincts, and he’s a very, very good passer as well. You can see it on film getting ready for him, but on the field you sense the same thing. Some athletes are just different. They have not only talent, but competitiveness and a sense of how to play the game.”

There it is: Denard Robinson is “JUST DIFFERENT”!

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Kacz Sets Passing Yards Record in Statement Victory

Kacz Sets Passing Yards Record in Statement Victory
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Buffalo State Quarterback Casey Kacz completed 30 of 42 passes for a record 579 passing yards and a record tying five touchdown passes.
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Freshman Ryan Carney impressed in his first collegiate start with 12 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

After finishing 5-5 last season, the Buffalo State football team was ranked fifth on the Empire 8 Football Preseason Poll, but after the opening game against Cortland, the Bengals will likely get more respect.

The Bengals put up a record of 706 total offensive yards in a 49-31 statement win over the Cortland Red Dragons, who were the favorites to win the NJAC according to the preseason polls. The former record was 702 yards, which Buffalo State achieved last season in an 82-17 win over Western Connecticut State.

Buffalo State quarterback Casey Kacz completed 30 of 42 passes, setting a record with 579 passing yards and tying a record with five touchdown passes. His longest pass of the day came on the Bengals’ first possession as a 68-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Caesarae Lewis to give the Bengals an early 7-0 lead just 57 seconds into the game.

“We decided before the game, if they wanted to go one-on-one with Caesarae, Medley, Carney or any one of our players one-on-one with no safety over the top we were going to take it,” said Kacz. “Anytime they came to the ball and I saw they were going to go man-to-man with one of our outside receivers, we decided we were going to run a go passed them or some sort of double move to go deep, but scoring on the first drive gave the whole team confidence including the defense.”

Cortland responded on their first drive of the game as quarterback Chris Rose threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Mike Humphrey to create a 7-7 tie with 11:25 left in the first quarter.

Both teams turned the ball over on their second possession as running back Rich Pete lost a fumble and cornerback Chris Hall forced the first of five Rose interceptions.

“We’re brand new back there,” said head coach Jerry Boyes. “They’re feeling their way a little bit. I think we had some errors in the first half. I think the coaches did a great job of correcting those errors and all of that and we had some kids make some big plays like Chris Hall.”

The Bengals next possession resulted in a 32-yard touchdown run by Pete to give Buffalo State a 14-7 lead with 4:18 left in the first quarter before the Red Dragons marched down the field and tied the game at 14-14 on a three-yard touchdown pass from Rose to Humphrey with just 15 seconds left in the first quarter.

Buffalo State went three-and-out on their next possession, but another interception by Hall helped set up a four-yard touchdown pass from Kacz to wide receiver Ryan Carney to give the Bengals a 21-14 lead with 11:12 left in the second quarter. However, a 42-yard kick return by Justin Autera gave Cortland great field position and they capitalized with a 23-yard touchdown pass from Rose to Kordel McInnis to make the score 21-21 with 10:35 left in the second quarter.

Kacz answered back with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Lewis to give Buffalo State a 28-21 lead with 8:23 left in the second quarter.

“It was a spark for the team,” Lewis said. “It’s something me and the quarterback worked on the whole week of practice. We stayed after practice throwing deep balls all day and that’s what happens.”

Buffalo State had another chance to add to their lead after forcing Cortland to punt, but an interception by Kacz in the red zone kept the score 28-21 at halftime.

Cortland kicker Mike DeBole kicked a 32-yard field goal on their opening possession to make it 28-24, but Kacz found Lewis again for a 25-yard touchdown pass to widen their lead 35-24.

Both teams traded punts, before Hall grabbed his record-tying third interception setting up another Bengals’ punt.

Cortland ended the third quarter with a controversial 79-yard touchdown pass from Rose to Humphrey to get to within 35-31.

“There’s a little bit of adversity there on that long pass play where people thought it was down and it was ruled not,” Boyes said. “A lot of our people said that he rolled over the top of him, but his legs never went down. There was a little bit of adversity and we stared it in the face and overcame that.”

On the Bengals’ next possession, Pete caught a 46-yard pass from Kacz to put Buffalo State in Cortland territory, but it was a fourth-and-eight conversion with a 21-yard pass from Kacz to Carney that kept the momentum on the Bengals’ side before Pete finished the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, making the score 42-31 with 10:41 left.

Buffalo State’s defense stepped up in the fourth quarter forcing a three-and-out on Cortland’s next possession before Kacz threw a 49-yard touchdown pass to Carney to put the Bengals ahead 49-31 with 8:04 left in the game. The next two Cortland possessions would result in interceptions by Matt Wesoloski and Eddie Weiser.

Carney who earned his first collegiate start after Mike Doherty suffered a season-ending injury, finished the game with 12 receptions for 242 yards and two touchdowns while Lewis had seven receptions 156 yards and a record-tying three touchdowns. Pete led the ground attack with 12 carries for 103 yards and two touchdowns.

“Coming in, I hadn’t played football in two years and my last game I had 200 yards, so I just wanted to pick up from there,” said Carney. “I didn’t think I was going to pick up that much, but I just wanted to come out here and make plays and get a victory.”

“It just kind of happened,” Carney added. “Once Mike went down, we stayed after practice and we talked a lot. We didn’t really run too many routes together, but we went over all of the signals and we were on the same page.”

Buffalo State will face Brockport on the road next Saturday at 1pm in the I-90 Bowl. The Bengals won the trophy last year in a 51-30 blowout victory.

Bengals Fall to Defending Conference Champs

Bengals Fall to Defending Conference Champs
Sean Littlejohn had a career-high 13 tackles, but it wasn’t enough to stop Salisbury, who attempted just three passes and ran the ball 68 times.
Replacing the 2011 Empire 8 Conference Offensive Player of the Year Dan Griffin, Freshman quartrback John Dunbar threw a 59 yard play action touchdown pass to secure the victory

After dropping their Empire 8 Conference debut against Alfred University, the Buffalo State football team followed up with another loss, this time to the defending conference champion Salisbury.

The Sea Gulls, who came into the game ranked seventh in the poll and 11th in the American Football Coaches Association, held the Bengals to just 158 yards of total offense en route to a 20-7 victory. Salisbury had 319 yards of total offense with just three passes attempted and 250 rushing yards on 68 carries as they won the time of possession battle 40:16-19:44.

“It’s a triple option offense and you know that they’re going to grind the ball,” head coach Jerry Boyes said. “Defensively, what you have to do is try to set them off par. If they stay on par, it’s going to be for a long day and we did at times. First of all, I credit our defense. They played extremely hard today and gave us a chance, but offensively we just didn’t answer”

Buffalo State took the opening kickoff and drove down the field after two completed passes from quarterback Casey Kacz to wide receiver Caesarae Lewis of 34 and 16 yards, but failed to convert on a 4th-and-9 at the Salisbury 24 yard line, turning the ball over on downs. The Sea Gulls responded with 13-play 75-yard scoring drive, capped off by a four yard touchdown by quarterback Dan Griffin to take an early 7-0 lead.

“It was something different,” said defensive end Sean Littlejohn, who had a career-high 13 tackles. “They run the double wing which we’ve never seen in any of our prior games. They had four backs that could run the ball, two wings, a fullback and a quarterback. You had to watch all four to see where the ball was going. That’s how they keep everybody’s legs fresh. You have four ball carriers that can do explosive things with the ball.”

Neither team could get much going offensively for the rest of the first half as Griffin had to leave the game early in the second quarter after sustaining an injury and was replaced by backup quarterback John Dunbar.

However, the Sea Gulls were able to extend their lead late in the second half after a blocked punt by Joey Buckley, who then picked it up and ran three yards for a touchdown. The extra point attempt was missed by kicker Jack Molloy and Salisbury led 13-0 with 3:58 left in the second quarter.

“It’s disappointing we get another punt blocked for a touchdown,” said Boyes. “You take that away, it’s a six point game and we’re right there, but we just didn’t.”

The Bengals started to find a rhythm in their passing game on the ensuing possession, but saw their drive end at the Salisbury 40 yard line after failing to convert on 4th-and-3 as running back Ismail Brooks was stopped for an eight yard loss by cornerback Paul Moore. The Sea Gulls ran three plays to end the half with a 13-0 lead.

Salisbury went the entire first half without attempting a pass, racking up 117 yards on 30 carries. Buffalo State struggled to run the ball with -7 yards on 12 carries and just 104 yards of total offense.

The Sea Gulls opened the third quarter with nine straight running plays before attempting their first pass of the game to set up a 4th-and-4 at the Buffalo State 32 yard line. Dunbar tried a quarterback keeper, but Littlejohn stop him two yards short of the first down.

“I read my read and came through,” said Littlejohn. “The tackle came down and I was coming down. I got a free release. Somebody was supposed to come and kick on me and I got a free hit on the back. Maybe it was there mistake. Maybe I got lucky, but all in all, it worked out great and got them off the field.”

Buffalo State tried to capitalize off of the turnover on downs with a 16 yard run by running back Rich Pete, but a 15-yard personal foul call on guard Josh Jesonowski killed the momentum swing and the Bengals went three-and-out.

Salisbury continued their ground attack on their next possession, but on the third play of the drive, they fooled the Bengals with a 59-yard play action touchdown pass from Dunbar to running back Michael Copenhaver to take a 20-0 lead with 5:53 left in the third quarter.

“I saw the safety just sit there and I saw [Matt Copenhaver] just go right by him,” said Dunbar. “He’s one of the fastest kids on the team, so I knew that I just had to get it out there to him.”

Buffalo State followed up with another three-and out, but were setup in better field position after cornerback Jeff Moore blocked a 42-yard Molloy field goal attempt and linebacker/safety Jordan Boser returned it 40 yards to the Salisbury 10 yard line. Kacz scored on the next play with a ten yard quarterback keeper to cut the deficit to 20-7 with 11:16 left in the fourth quarter.

Neither team could do much on offense for the rest of the game as the Sea Gulls worked the clock with their ground attack and Kacz threw an interception by linebacker Kevin Costello with 3:02 left in the game.

“The middle linebacker made a great play and he jumped up and tipped it,” said Kacz. “When the ball floats in the air like that, it’s always dangerous and it was bound to happen eventually. That was the second pass they tipped that drive.”

Kacz finished the game completing 13 of 30 passes for 143 yards with an interception and a rushing touchdown. Linebacker Pasquale Vacchio led the defense with 15 tackles, Littlejohn had a career-high 13 and Tyler Krempa had 12.

“We need to come out next week and score on our first drive because that sets the tone for the game, said Kacz. “If we go behind, offensively we feel like we’re battling back and that starts with us. We got the ball the first two times the last two games and we didn’t capitalize by scoring first. Our defense played a great game today only allowing 14 points. Offensively, 7 points isn’t going to get it done. We need a lot more points than that.”

The Bengals will try to avoid a three-game losing streak when they play their third-consecutive home game against Utica this Saturday at 12:05 p.m.