ONEONTA, NY— Rich Pete (Utica/TR Proctor) had 132 yards on 16 carries and scored four touchdowns to lead Buffalo State (5-4/3-3) to its third-consecutive victory, soundly defeating host Hartwick (4-4/1-4) 59-41 in an Empire 8 game today at Wright Stadium.
Buffalo State quarterback Casey Kacz (Amherst/Sweet Home) finished 20 of 25 for 347 yards and three touchdowns with an interception in just over three quarters of play. Kacz added 19 rushing yards and set the school record for career rushing yards by a quarterback with 781, breaking Dan Sansanese's mark of 762 set in 1983. Mike Doherty (Tonawanda/Kenmore East) led the Bengals' receiving corps with 158 yards on four catches with a pair of touchdowns. Sherman Nelson (Buffalo/O'Hara) had five catches for 123 yards and a score. Jeff McDuffie (Syracuse/E. Syracuse-Minoa) tied a school record with three interceptions to lead the Bengals' defensive efforts.
John Garcia was 24 of 39 for 324 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Frankie Molina had eight catches for 149 yards and two scores, and Tanner Williams had 12 receptions for 146 yards.
The two teams combined for just shy of 1,000 yards of total offense with the Bengals piling up 533, compared to 432 by the Hawks.
Buffalo State used a quick-strike offense to open the game, scoring a pair of touchdowns on its first three offensive plays from scrimmage. After Kacz and Doherty connected with a 75-yard catch and run on the Bengals second offense play, the same duo hooked up on the first play their next possession, this time covering 68-yards on the scoring play. Hartwick sandwiched a 28-yard touchdown pass from Garcia to Frankie Molina between the Bengals two scores and the first quarter ended with Buffalo State holding a 14-7 lead.
The Hawks evened the score early in the second quarter with Garcia and Molina's second touchdown hookup of the day from 20 yards out. Buffalo State reclaimed the lead two possessions later on a drive that featured runs by Pete that covered 20, 37 and then 12 yards to find the end zone. Hartwick had the answer again, evening the score at 21-21 with a 22-yard scoring pass from Garcia to Shaun Eichner, but Buffalo State would end the first half with a 35-21 lead. First Nelson fought off a defender and came up with a 26-yard touchdown catch in the front left corner of the end zone. Then after a McDuffie interception, Pete capped off a 74-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run with just 37 seconds remaining before intermission.
Doherty returned the second half kickoff 73 yards and on the second play from scrimmage Pete scored his third touchdown of the day on a 6-yard run. The Bengals broke the game wide opened just three plays later, when McDuffie stepped in front of a Gacia pass for the second time of the day and returned it 70 yards for the score to extend the lead to 49-21.
A defensive touchdown just minutes later gave Hartwick a glimmer of hope, as Bryan Schweitzer returned a Pete fumble 9 yards for the score, but Buffalo State extended the lead to 56-28 on its next possession, as Pete punched in his fourth score of the day from 5 yards out.
Buffalo State added a fourth-quarter field goal, before Hartwick closed the scoring with a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs. After a score by Keegan Corbett, the Hawks recovered an on-side kick and complete the scoring with a Nick Knauser touchdown in the game's final minute.
Buffalo State will conclude its regular season next Saturday at home against St. John Fisher at noon.