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Football Season Comes to a Close for Fisher With Road Loss at Buffalo State

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BUFFALO, N.Y. – The St. John Fisher College football team concluded its 2017 season on Saturday afternoon as the Cardinals fell to Buffalo State, 35-14, on the road at Coyer Field in an Empire 8 pairing.  With the defeat, Fisher finished the year with a 2-8 overall mark and a 2-5 record against conference opponents.  The Bengals improved to 6-4 and 3-4, respectively.

Senior running back James Chambers closed out his Fisher career with a strong performance after picking up a game-high 127 yards on the ground to go along with his 13th touchdown of the season.  It marked the fourth time this season the Lockport native rushed for 100 yards or more as Chambers finished his career with 2,458 career yards – good for sixth on Fisher's all-time rushing list. 

At the receiving position, Will Blake hauled in two catches for 42 yards while freshman Pat Galer had two catches for 28 yards.  Chambers, Alexander Ransom, Dylan Harrington and Wyatt Stehle each made one grab.

After forcing the Cardinals into a three-and-out on their opening drive, the Bengals took an early lead and never looked back after a seven-play, 72-yard drive resulted in a 7-0 lead for the home team.

Buffalo State struck again in the second quarter with a 10-play 41-yard effort capped off with a four-yard touchdown toss to stake the Bengals to a 14-0 lead with 13:31 still showing in the second quarter.

The Cardinals' defense would cut the deficit in half late in the opening half after Brennen Thompson scooped up a Bengals' fumble and scampered into the end zone to make it 14-7 with just over three minutes still to play before intermission.  It was the second consecutive week that Thompson found pay dirt after the junior jumped a route last weekend at Morrisville before taking the interception 80 yards for the pick-six. 

Trailing by one score with time ticking down, Fisher was unable to keep the home team off the board after a six-play 68-yard drive ate up over three minutes of time and produced a 19-yard touchdown to make it 21-7 heading into halftime.

In the third period, offense came at a premium as both teams were forced to punt after defensive stands.  After holding Buffalo on a third and short, Fisher took over at its own 17 with 7:15 showing on the game clock.  From there, the Cardinals converted a third-and-long as Joshua Michels hit Blake down field for a 26-yard gain and a fresh set of downs.  Fisher found itself in another third-and-long situation, but was able to climb out of the hole with Michels connecting with Galer down the sideline for a 30-yard pickup to set up first-and-10 at the Bengals' 28.  Michels moved the sticks again with a 16-yard passing play to Blake before Chambers burst through the line and into the end zone to make it 21-14 late in the third.

As the game progressed, Fisher was within striking distance after holding the Bengals at bay in the fourth quarter and sent its offense back out onto the field with a chance to tie the game.  Pinned deep inside its own territory, Fisher went to work as Chambers reeled off a 12-yard run to move the ball close to midfield, but the drive stalled at that point as the Cardinals were forced to give the ball back with 10:28 still to play.

Buffalo State made the most of the added opportunity as the Bengals orchestrated another quick scoring drive ending with a 22-yard run to hold a two-score lead, 28-14.  The home team tacked onto its lead late in the game with a 94-yard drive to earn the 35-14 decision.

Joseph Zickl led Fisher defensively with 10 tackles including seven solo stops.  Nelson Burke had nine stops in all while Michael Chase and Thompson each came away with eight tackles in the loss.  Evan Majewski had seven tackles and forced two fumbles on the day while senior David Carroll closed out his career in a Fisher uniform with seven tackles to his credit.

On special teams, Michael Burton averaged nearly 35 yards per punt and pinned the Bengals inside their own 20 twice.  Cam Cleveland had 57 kick return yards while Devin Dzikowicz made both of his point after attempts.

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