CANTON, N.Y.—Buffalo State pitched a second-half shutout and Kyle Hoppy (Orchard Park/Orchard Park) scored on a 20-yard quarterback keeper with just over a minute remaining to allow the Bengals to erase a 14-point deficit and defeat host St. Lawrence, 24-21, today at Leckonby Stadium.
FINAL SCORE: Buffalo State – 24, St. Lawrence - 21
LOCATION: Leckonby Stadium - Canton, N.Y.
RECORDS: Buffalo State (4-2), St. Lawrence (1-5)
INSIDE THE BENGAL BOX SCORE
- After missing last week due to injury, Hoppy was 20 of 39 for 243 yards and two scores and added 30 yards rushing and the score on the ground.
- Stephen Johnson (Buffalo/McKinley) had four catches for 95 yards, while Ricky Bailey (Niagara Falls/Niagara Falls) caught eight passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.
- Justin Pender (Brooklyn/Erasmus Hall) had a team-best eight tackles including a sack on the Saints' final drive.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Buffalo State spotted St. Lawrence a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a pair of rushing touchdowns by Rodrick Payne, covering 41 and 10 yards.
- A pair of first-quarter interceptions by Bart Mazzara (Lockport/Starpoint) and Dametrius Brown (Syracuse/Christian Bros.) kept the Bengals in the contest.
- Buffalo State finally got on the scoreboard with a 1-yard touchdown pass on fourth down from Hoppy to Antoine Holloman (Brooklyn/Abraham Lincoln), capping a 12-play, 68-yard drive with just under six minutes remaining in the second quarter.
- St. Lawrence responded on the final play of the half with a 22-yard strike from Aaron Ruthman to Travis Marnell in the back of the end zone, restoring the 14-point lead going into the intermission.
- Buffalo State cut into the deficit on its first possession of the second half, closing the gap to 21-10 with a 30-yard field goal by Justin Simoncelli (W. Seneca/W. Seneca East).
- After a second Saints' punt of the half, the Bengals drove into St. Lawrence territory, but could not convert on fourth-and-15 from the 28.
- St. Lawrence quickly punted again, and Hoppy struck quickly connecting for 35 yards to Johnson and then finding Bailey for a 32-yard touchdown on the next play. A successful two-point pass to Holloman made the score 21-18 eight seconds into the fourth quarter.
- Buffalo State drove it into Saints territory again on its next try, but again turned it over on downs with an incompletion on fourth-and-18 from the 21.
- The Bengals' defense quickly forced a fourth punt of the half with five minutes remaining, and Buffalo State worked into Saints' territory once again and faced another fourth down. This time, the Bengals converted on the fourth-and-1 with Hoppy's 20-yard keeper to the house with just 1:15 remaining in regulation. A missed extra point kept the advantage at just three points at 24-21.
- The Saints only managed one first down on the final drive and ultimately turned it over on downs, allowing the Bengals to run out the clock.
FOR THE FOES
- Ruthman finished 14 of 23 for 192 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
- Payne totaled 99 yards and two scores on 21 carries, while Marnell had seven catches for 87 yards and a touchdown.
- Skyler Williamson led the Saints on defense with 15 tackles, including four for loss.
- In a tale of two halves, Buffalo State outgained St. Lawrence 196 yards to 52 in the second half, while the Saints had a 283-130 edge in the opening 30 minutes.
- This was the first meeting between these two programs since 1985. Beginning in 2019, Buffalo State will join St. Lawrence in the Liberty League.
Buffalo State will return to Empire 8 play next Saturday when it visits Utica at 1 p.m.