Casey Kacz connected with Ryan Carney for a 10-yard touchdown with just three seconds remaining to lift visiting Buffalo State (2-1) to a stunning 7-6 victory over the No. 1 team in the nation UW-Whitewater (1-1) today at Perkins Stadium. The loss by the Warhawks snapped the three-time defending national champions' 46-game winning streak.
UW-Whitewater extended its lead to 6-0 with a 29-yard field goal by Eric Kindler with just 1:35 remaining, before the Bengals' drove the length of the field for the score.
After a touchback, the Bengals started on their own 25, and used 11 plays to march down the field. After picking up a quick first down, Buffalo State saw a false start penalty and a sack push them into a fourth-and-19 with 48 seconds remaining. The Bengals coverted on a miracle hook and double-lateral play to Carney, continued by Rich Pete and then Brooks Estarfaa for a 34-yard gain. Although a personal foul penalty at the end of the play negated 15 yards, it kept the fresh set of downs intact.
"That's a play we practice every week," said coach Jerry Boyes, "because it's our last play-type of a play. The kids executed it to perfection."
"We had two receivers who never ran it before, but they've been watching in practice and he called (the play) and we executed it better than in practice ever," Kacz said.
The Bengals then converted a third-and-2 play on a 33-yard pass from Kacz to Manny Brooks to the UW-Whitewater 10, stopping the clock with just 15 ticks remaining. After a pair of incomplete passes, Kacz hit Carney for the score, and the Nate Benoit extra point gave the Bengals the lead.
After the ensuing kickoff was downed at the Warhawks' 33, UW-Whitewater' desperation heave was intercepted by Buffalo State's Chris Hall to end the game.
"Although we played fairly well in all phases, this win goes to the defense for standing tall all day and giving the offense a chance to deliver at the end," said Boyes. "This was the biggest win in Buffalo State Football history. This shows us what we are capable of, and now we need to build on this."
Kacz finished 18 of 33 for 269 yards with two interceptions and the clutch touchdown strike. Carney had five grabs for a total of 84 yards. Pasquale Vacchio led a stifling effort on defense with 19 tackles, limiting the Warhawks to just 311 total yards of offense. Hall finished with six tackles and two interceptions, bringing his total to five in three games.
Lee Brekke was 14 of 22 for just 188 yards and a pair of interceptions for UW-Whitewater. Tyler Huber had five catches for 84 yards, and Ryan Givens had 14 carries for 71 yards. Ryan Wenkman had six tackles and a pair of interceptions for the Warhawks' defense.
The Bengals took the opening kickoff and drove into UW-Whitewater territory, but failed to convert on a 38-yard field goal. Then after both teams traded interceptions, the Warhawks opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal by Kindler with 2:58 remaining in the first quarter.
After three-consecutive drives ending in punts, the Warhawks missed a 41-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to keep the lead at just 3-0 heading into halftime.
Buffalo State missed another 38-yard field goal try on its first possession of the second half, before the Warhawks missed again from 45 yards later in the third quarter.
The Bengals drove deep into UW-Whitewater territory early in the fourth period and set up a first-and-goal from the six. Kacz was stripped of the ball in the backfield, however, and Kyle Wismer came up with loose ball for the Warhawks to silence the scoring threat.
Kindler booted his second field goal of the game two possessions later, before Buffalo State assembled the scoring drive and stunned the home crowd.
Buffalo State will look to carry the momentum of this historic win when it plays its first-ever Empire 8 conference game next Saturday at home against Alfred at 12:30 p.m.