Utica Pulls Away in Second Half to Defeat Buffalo State

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BUFFALO, NY – The Utica College football team held host Buffalo State scoreless in the second half on its way to a 26-13 victory in Empire 8 Conference play Saturday at Coyer Field. Utica senior running back Ryan Burnett (Mount Vernon, NY/Arch Bishop Stepinac) carried the ball 32 times for 153 yards and scored the game sealing touchdown (39 yard TD) with 1:30 left on the game clock to hand the Pioneers a 13 point conference victory.  Burnett also moved into third place on the College's all-time list w/ 1,595 career rushing yards.

The Pioneers have now started the season 6-2 overall for just the second time in program-history, matching a program-best 6-2 mark to start a season that they set back in 2012.  UC also improved to 4-2 in Empire 8 Conference play.  Alfred (7-0, 5-0 E8) remained undefeated with a big win over Hartwick Saturday and sits atop the Empire 8 standings, while St. John Fisher and Brockport remain in a tie for second place with matching 4-1 conference records. Buffalo State's record fell to 4-3 overall and 2-3 in E8 play.

The UC defense has now held its opponents to less than 300 yards of total offense in each of the last two games. Utica has combined to hold its opponents to an average of 9.5 points in the last two weeks, allowing 13 points against Buffalo State Saturday and just six points against St. John Fisher in week seven. The Pioneer defense has allowed just six second half points over the course of the last two weeks.

Utica jumped out to a 6-3 lead at the 6:53 mark of the first quarter after senior wide receiver Jerred Beniquez (Port Ewen, NY/Kingston) caught a 63 yard touchdown pass from classmate and quarterback Teddy VanGalen (Clifton Park, NY/Shenendehowa). Beniquez finished the day with a game-high three catches for 74 yards and two touchdowns.  He has now moved into fourth on the College's all-time list with 1,863 career receiving yards. VanGalen completed 15 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns to go along with one interception. He is now tied for second all-time at UC with 27 career touchdown passes.

The Pioneers took a 13-3 lead with :46 to go in the first quarter when freshman Lindell Reed (Rome, NY/Rome Free Academy) capped a 10-play, 66 yard scoring drive with a one yard touchdown plunge. Reed has been a monster in goal line situations this season, as he leads the team with nine touchdowns on just 56 carries. 

Buffalo State responded with ten points in the final 5:03 of the second quarter to knot the score at 13-13 at the half.  Bengal kicker Marc Montana was on target Saturday as he drilled field goals of 37 and 39 yards in the first half.  Nick Jones caught the lone touchdown of the day for the Bengals, a four yard catch with just 20 seconds left in the first half to tie the score at 13-13.

The Pioneers dominated play in the second half, beginning with the go-ahead touchdown as Jerred Beniquez (Port Ewen, NY/Kingston) caught a nine yard score with 6:01 to go in the third quarter to give the Pioneers a 20-13 advantage.  UC then sealed the victory when Burnett found pay dirt from 39 yards out to cap an eight-play, 77 yard drive with 1:30 remaining in the contest.

Two key interceptions by Anthony Beaubrun (West Hempstead, NY/West Hempstead) and Chancellor Harris (West Henrietta, NY/Rush Henrietta) in the fourth quarter helped the Pioneers keep the Bengals at bay.

Juwan Wilson (South Ozone Park, NY/Holy Cross) led the Pioneer defense with 10 tackles and one sack.  Wilson now has a team-best 77 tackles and 3.5 sacks this season and he has recorded double-digit tackles in five of eight starts. Isaiah Washington (Ozone Park, NY/Fort Hamilton) added six tackles, while freshman Nick Pizzarelli (Rockville Centre, NY/Oceanside) and sophomore Xyier Woodard (Albany, NY/LaSalle) each came up with one sack. 

Buffalo State's Bart Mazzara totaled a game-high 18 tackles for the Bengals, while Tiquan Simkins chipped in with 11 tackles. Ish Height added an interception for the Buffalo State defense.

Tre Jones led the Buffalo State offense with 17 carries for 147 yards.  Quarterback Kyle Hoppy was held to just five completions for 58 yards to go along with two interceptions. 

Utica is on a bye week next Saturday and will return at action at home against E8 leader Alfred on Nov. 5th at 1 p.m.

Dec. 14: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 24, Mount Union 16
@ Woodforest Bank Stadium; Shenandoah, Texas
Box Score Recap Photos
Dec. 8: All times Eastern
at Mary Hardin-Baylor 31, UW-Whitewater 14
Box Score Recap Photos
at Mount Union 28, Johns Hopkins 20
Video Box Score Recap Photos
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